Volkswagen is adding a much-anticipated new performance car to its line-up, a version of its new compact model to be known as the Golf R.
The addition is designed to underscore VW’s traditional appeal to those who want affordable, sporty European alternatives to popular Japanese “rice burners,” such as the Subaru WRX STi. The Golf R will be significantly more powerful than the German maker’s current performance model, the GTI, Volkswagen revealed.
“The European Golf R is simply the most powerful Volkswagen sports performance vehicle ever built,” the maker said in confirming the plans, which call for a launch in the U.S. market early in 2012.
The Volkswagen Golf R will turn out 256 horsepower in U.S. trim, down from 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque with the European model. That’s still a significant upgrade from the last compact performance model the maker offered, the R32. The new R32, meanwhile, will be powered by a version of the current turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, rather than the older compact hatch’s V32 powertrain.