2012 Volkswagen Golf R

We’ve been waiting with baited breath for the Golf R’s arrival ever since we heard about it back in December 2010. Now, Volkswagen fans with an eye for performance have something to get excited about, as the automaker announced pricing on the upcoming 2012 Golf R Tuesday. Available in both two- and four-door body styles, Volkswagen says in a press release that the base Golf R will start at $33,900.

Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control and an eight-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. Golf R models equipped with a sunroof and navigation will start at $35,490 and $36,090 for two- and four-door models, respectively.

But the big news on the Golf R is largely under the hood. Unlike its predecessor, the R32, the Golf R uses a hot-rodded version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. “Thanks to a larger turbo and some stronger internal components, the engineers managed to crank output up to a stout 256 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque – roughly 56 ponies over the current GTI and 6 hp more than its successor, the 2008 R32,” writes Automobile Magazine. “Thanks to a smaller engine, the Golf R bests the R32 when it comes to fuel economy: the new model is rated at 19/27 mpg (city/highway), which trumps the R32 by one and four miles per gallon, respectively.”

In addition to being more powerful than the Volkswagen GTI, the Golf R also benefits from improved grip, thanks to standard all-wheel drive. A six-speed manual transmission is the only gearbox offered. Volkswagen says the 2012 Golf R will go on sale early next year.

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