We don't know why Volkswagen is placing so much focus on the Golf R Variant. However, the facelift model is now at the Nurburgring track, after completing testing in the Alps.
According to our information, the Golf facelift may be revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show. However, that doesn't have to include the GTI and R versions. Those could be saved for a later occasion, especially if they receive power increases.
We already have a pretty good idea what the entire family will look like, thanks to some leaked models of all the Golfs. However, we don't have any firm knowledge about the Golf R and what makes the Variant model so valuable.
At the bottom end of the speculative spectrum, we have a simple update of the powertrain. This should include a bump for the 2.0 TSI from 300 PS and 380 Nm of torque to 310 PS and 400 Nm of torque. At the same time, the 6-speed DSG gearbox will be replaced by a 7-speed unit that makes cruising more efficient and quiet.
However, we could also speculate that this is an entirely new powertrain. Volkswagen did build a concept R Variant with the bi-turbo 2.0 TDI from the Passat, after all. That would explain the extensive testing cycle and the fact that left side of the exhaust system is covered in black soot.
Who would even buy that? For many people involved in the GTI community, an R-TDI Variant would be the ultimate statement. However, we think it's unwise for Volkswagen to make another oil burners that fall under the spotlight.
Lastly, there's a chance the R Variant is going after the Nurburgring wagon record, which was so rudely stolen by the Leon Cupra 290 ST last year. But I can't help feeling that it would need some Clubsport-style aero to do that.
The only thing we can show you with absolute certainty is the interior, which will feature a digital dash and a larger center touchscreen with gesture controls. If you're wondering what that's like, check out the e-Golf Touch concept from Paris.
The cool thing about the 2017 Golf R Variant is that there's a chance it won't be forbidden fruit in the US. Company officials talked about offering all-wheel drive on the basic model, which could make all-weather traction part of Vdub's arsenal. Hey, it's not as they can sell any more TDIs, and the GTI+R represent about half of all Golf sales. So the SportWagen might finally get what they want.