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Where’s the new VW Golf R – and why is the local arrival taking so long?

  • The Volkswagen Golf 8 R has been launched, but is not yet on sale in South Africa.
  • We asked the German automaker why that was the case. 
  • An EA888 engine, with outputs of 235kW and 400Nm, powers it. Official pricing is yet to be confirmed.  

That old saying ‘better late than never’ is somewhat befitting of Volkswagen’s eighth-generation Golf R.

While local petrolheads are still waiting patiently for the latest (and fastest) edition of vrr-phaa to arrive, the model is already more than two years old in other markets, and some have already been subject to aftermarket tuning. 

There was a time in South Africa when there was no R model to look forward to. Enthusiasts got their first taste of the model via the fifth-generation Golf R32, originally released in 2007. The German automaker imported only 200 units. Since then, almost every R-badged model has made its way to local shores.

The new VW Golf R being put through its passes in

The new VW Golf R being put through its paces in one of the Cape’s mountain passes.

READ | Rrr you ready? We drive the most potent Golf in SA, but here’s why VW can’t sell it just yet 

Other popular VW models, like the Polo, Caddy, Polo sedan, Amarok and Tiguan, have either welcomed a brand-new or facelifted edition since the Golf 8 R was first officially launched in SA.

A Cape Town VW dealership says customers constantly ask about the 8 R’s arrival, and many have already put their names down for ‘first dibs’ on purchase. 

Just a little bit longer 

It’s been so long since the Golf 8 R launched in the country you might’ve forgotten what it packs under the bonnet. Like the GTI, the R is powered by the brand’s popular 2.0-litre four-cylinder EA888 engine, but has been fettled with to give outputs of 235kW and 400Nm. Acceleration from 0-100km/h is done in 4.8 seconds and runs to a top speed of 250km/h. Power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. 

Everyone is interested to know how much it will cost.

VW Golf R

VW Golf R

Using 2019 as a bookmark, VW launched the facelifted seventh-generation Golf R that retailed for R676 000. The Golf 8 GTI currently retails with a starting price of R727 500, and it’s widely expected that the Golf 8 R will be at least R100 000 more – on par with the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC, that’s priced from R875 348. Also consider, the brand’s Tiguan R – boasting the same engine and power figures – sells for R1 million. 

ALSO WATCH | Volkswagen’s Golf 8 R ‘unofficially’ touches down in SA before its local launch 

It was wholly anticipated that the model would be on dealership floors before the end of 2022, but that wasn’t the case, despite News24 Motoring reporting on the vehicle being spotted locally in 2021. Even though it’s not available to the public to buy yet, local motoring media have been sampling the hot hatch

If it weren’t for the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the impact of Covid-19, the R would’ve been on our roads much earlier. 

The new special-edition model Golf R 20 Years edit

The new special-edition model Golf R 20 Years edition with one of its predecessors, the Golf IV R32, from 2002.

We asked Volkswagen South Africa when the Golf 8 R will officially be sold in the country.

The automaker told News24 Motoring: “The Golf 8 R will go on sale in South Africa in April. The Golf R’s introduction has been delayed due to production stops, which have resulted from parts shortages.” 

In 2021, registered South African worldwide importer and exporter of collectables and sports cars – Rospa Imports – brought the very first Golf 8 R model to local shores, albeit unofficially, for a UK client that was coming to the country. 

Upon showroom arrival, customers can choose optional extras, like an Akrapovic exhaust, a Black Performance Package, with drift mode, and an increased top speed of 270km/h.



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