The car credited with launching the “hot hatch” category of automobiles, Volkswagen’s GTI occupies a prime parcel of mountaintop real estate in the minds of automotive enthusiasts. After all, the GTI proved a practical and economical car could deliver driving enjoyment too.
Still though, for some, the “standard” GTI doesn’t offer enough performance.
To appease this small, but influential group, Volkswagen brought back the “R” version of the Golf (the car upon which the GTI is based) for the 2012 model year. The previous “R” car offered for sale in the States, the Volkswagen Golf R32, was sold from 2004 through 2008. As its name implied, that car ran a 3.2-liter version of Volkswagen’s VR6 engine, along with all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.
Given the contemporary version of the car is running a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four cylinder engine, and given the alphanumeric “R32” sounds so much more powerful than “R20”, the numeric part of the suffix was omitted for the current “R” Golf.
However, the “R20” makes more power than the R32, even though it runs a lower displacement engine. This enables the 2013 Volkswagen Golf R to enjoy both a horsepower and weight advantage over its 2004 predecessor, while also besting it in fuel economy.