The next-generation Volkswagen Golf R will be lighter and more powerful when it goes on sale in early 2014.
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VW is yet to reveal the flagship version of its new Volkswagen Golf Mark 7 range that has just gone on sale in Australia, but one of Volkswagen’s most senior board members confirmed the new R would benefit from the new modular platform underpinning the new hatchback

“The Golf [Mark] 7 will also have an R version which will come next year… and the benefit of the low weight of the Golf 7 will also be there with the [Mark] 7 R,” said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg at last week’s Australian launch of the seventh-generation Golf.

“The [new] R will be all-wheel drive, so 4Motion, and will have enough power.”

VW Golf R spy 1

Asked if the new Golf R could get close to the 300 horsepower (224kW) mark, Dr Hackenberg would only reply: “300hp sounds good.”

Strong industry speculation pegs the R’s new power output at about 215kW – still a 16kW improvement on the outgoing model sold in Europe (local versions are limited to 188kW as Australia is designated a hot climate) and well ahead of the most powerful version (169kW) of the new VW Golf GTI.

The VW Golf R is again set to borrow a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, in detuned form, from the Audi S3. Torque will lift to about 380Nm – up 60Nm.

VW Golf R spy 2

Combined with a lighter body and underpinnings, the new R will be both quicker and more economical.

The DSG auto-equipped version could cover 0-100km/h as quickly as five seconds according to rumours – a significant improvement over the 5.7 seconds of the current model.

As you can see from our pictures, CarAdvice’s spies have spotted the VW Golf R testing at the Nurburgring – no doubt utilising the next-generation Haldex all-wheel-drive system that is faster at shuffling torque between the front and rear axles.

VW Golf R spy 4

The R photographed is a five-door model and it’s not clear yet whether there will be a three-door version again. The hottest Golf is expected to debut at September’s Frankfurt motor show,

Volkswagen Australia axed the three-door Golf R when it introduced the Golf-based Scirocco coupe to the market in 2011.

The current VW Golf R five-door is priced from $49,990.

VW unveiled a cabriolet version of the current Golf R earlier this year.