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by Tim Beissmann

CarAdvice’s Anthony Crawford is at the launch of the 2010 Volkswagen Golf R and Golf GTD and will post full reviews of both cars by the weekend.

Hot on the heels of the new diesel-powered Golf GTD, Volkswagen Australia has today launched the 2010 Volkswagen Golf R – the king of the Wolfsburg hot hatches.

No longer packing the 3.2-litres and six-cylinders of its R32 predecessor, the Golf R is powered by the same-sized 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine as found in the GTI, yet puts out an extra 33kW and 50Nm.

Maximum torque of the R is 330Nm available from 2400rpm (compared with 320Nm @ 2500rpm for the R32) while power is also up marginally from 184kW to 188kW.

The power gains have led to sharper sprint times, with the six-speed manual reaching 100km/h in 5.9 seconds and the six-speed DSG shaving off a further two-tenths, stopping the clock at 5.7secs. The Mk5 R32 took 6.5secs and 6.2secs respectively.

The smaller engine has also led to efficiency gains, with combined fuel consumption dropping from 10.9 litres/100km to 8.7 litres/100km for both the manual and the DSG. CO2 emissions average out to 201g/km and 197g/km respectively.

From the outside, the new Golf R looks considerably meaner and more aggressive than past models and even the current GTI/GTD. Bulked up plastic intakes housing strips of LED daytime running lights, as well as bi-Xenon headlamps and L-shaped LED rear lights behind smokey lenses give the whole car a darker feel.

Underneath, the latest generation of Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system is at work and has undergone significant redevelopment compared with the old model. Ride-height is down 25mm thanks to completely retuned springs, dampers and stabilisers.

The standard 18in alloys (also available in 19in) house 345mm discs at the front and 310mm at the rear. The callipers are finished in a high-gloss black and feature R badging. The larger spoiler at the rear is also easily recognisable.

Inside, black and grey fabric replaces the more in-your-face tartan of the car’s GTI/GTD siblings while R badging is used liberally. Blue instrument needles surround a speedometer that circles all the way to 300km/h, while stainless steel sport pedals glisten in the foot well.

The centre console features a 6.5in touch screen controlling satellite navigation and DVD playback, as well as the eight-speaker premium audio system with six-CD changer, MP3-compatible SD card slot and USB connection cable. Electric sunroof with slide and tilt adjustable sunblind is $1900 option.

Safety is regulation Volkswagen with seven airbags, ESP and front safety optimised head restraints all standard.

Pricing, as revealed earlier this week in an unofficial leak, starts at $48,490* for the 2010 Volkswagen Golf R three-door manual ($50,990* DSG), and $49,990* for the five-door manual ($52,490* DSG).

*Prices are manufacturer’s list prices only, contact your Volkswagen dealer for drive away prices.




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