Volkswagen Golf R Estate – Your new favourite wagon

Been wanting a performance estate car based on a mid-sized family hatchback? Not quite taken with the Ford Focus ST? Good news; Volkswagen has the answer in the shape of a 300 PS 4WD Golf R Estate, announced at the LA Auto Show this week. 

Der neue Volkswagen Golf R VariantThis one has certainly come out of the left field. Prototypes had been spotted testing around the world, but the idea of true fast Golf Estate just seemed a little… unbelievable? In the past there’s been the European-spec Mk3 VR6 Variant with 190 bhp, and 1.8T / 2.3 V5 versions of the Mk4 estate – both of which had 150 bhp – but there’s no real dedicated lineage for a quick Golf wagon.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Estate 002

Mechanically it’s identical to the normal hatchback, with the 2.0 litre petrol TSI engine making 296 bhp (300 PS) with a corresponding 280 lb-ft of torque. The 4Motion 4WD system is also borrowed from the regular R, although at present the 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission appears to be the only option available for shifting cogs. We’re not sure why – Volkswagen has given no reason – but we can only speculate that most people are picking the DSG ‘box to make a manual option redundant.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Estate 003

The estate body shell naturally adds extra weight to the Golf R, blunting performance in comparison with the hatch’ ever so slightly; 0-62 mph happens in 5.1 seconds for the estate, compared to 4.9 for the non-wardrobe transporting version. Fractions of a second, and unlikely to matter in the real world. Fuel economy comes out at an official average of 40.4 mpg, with C02 emissions at 163 g/km.

20 mm lower suspension, standard 18″ ‘Cadiz’ alloy wheels and a sport mode for the Electronic Stability Control are just some of the technical highlights borrowed from the hatchback. Externally, the Estate shares the same front bumper, bi-xenon headlights and ‘R’ badged grille as its shorter brother. Things change at the back-end though, with a new rear bumper incorporating a more prominent gloss-black diffuser and ‘aero-flaps’ attached to the D-pillar. We’re not sure what they are; we’re guessing the bits attached to the rear hatch spoiler perhaps? The ‘R’ signature quad-exhaust tailpipes remain, and still seem unnecessary, although they look slightly better integrated on the Estate. Aluminium look roof rails are also a new addition for the ‘R’ wagon.

On the inside there are familiar hefty sports seats in leather or Alcantara, with additional ‘R’ badges on the headrest matched with one on the steering wheel. More importantly, there’s 1,620 litres of loadspace in the back with the seats down. That’s some 387 more litres than you get in the hatchback, and just enough to fulfil all those estate car stereotypes, probably. It’s also nearly 200 litres more than the Audi RS4. Fact.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Estate 004

Orders can be placed from spring next year, with deliveries of the first cars set to arrive in the summer. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but the normal Golf Estate retails for £695 more than the five-door hatchback version. That would mean a starting amount of around £32,900 considering the extra cost of the DSG gearbox. Not cheap; for comparison you could pick up a revised Focus ST Estate, and fit the Mountune kit, for less than £25,000, although it wouldn’t be as quick as this R. Perhaps we’ll see a Honda Civic Tourer Type R by the end of next year too?

Speculation aside, there’s something quite likeable about the Golf R Estate. We can’t ever see it selling in huge numbers, meaning it’ll become something of a cult classic in a few years time. We’d also imagine that low sales will cause Volkswagen to swear they’ll never build another, so the Mk7 R Estate really might be a one-off.

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