Updated: The 2023 VW Golf 8 R -the most advanced Golf ever

The 2023 VW Golf 8 R is not just another Golf 8 GTI. It’s the ultimate Golf. The most powerful, the most advanced, the most fun to drive Golf became available in South Africa last month.

The Golf 8 R, the Golf 8 GTI and the Tiguan R are some of the top performers in the South African market.

Starting at R912,800, the heart of the Golf 8 R is the same as the previous model. (Price correct at time of publication.) The turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine yields an impressive 235 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque, making it the most potent production series Golf to date, exceeding the previous Golf R by 7 kW and 20 Nm. The engine pairs with a refined 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that allows for quicker and smoother gear changes. It’s easy to see when it comes to power, the VW Golf 8 R outperforms the Golf 8 GTI.

This powertrain enables the hatchback to zoom to 100 km/h from a standstill position in a mere 4.8 seconds (claimed) and achieve a top speed of 250 km/h. Opting for the R-Performance Package can boost the maximum speed to 270 km/h. The reported fuel efficiency rating for the South African market is 7.8 l/100km.

The 2023 Golf 8 R also features a new 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with R-Performance Torque Vectoring, which can distribute power variably between the front and rear axles as well as between the rear wheels. It gives the Golf 8 R more agility and stability on corners and slippery surfaces. The power can also go to either the left or right rear wheel, activating the new elective Drift Mode.

Four driving modes (Comfort, Sport, Race, and Individual) allow you to adjust the suspension, steering, throttle, and exhaust settings to suit your driving style and preferences. The 4Motion system combines with the Vehicle Dynamics Manager as well for the first time, which incorporates the aforesaid torque vectoring along with the XDS electronic diff lock and adaptive chassis control system.

The Golf 8 R boasts a sporty and aggressive exterior with a brand-new front bumper having large air intakes and a distinctive R logo, while the LED headlights have a sleek and dynamic design. The side profile features exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels and black mirror caps, while the rear has a large spoiler, a diffuser, and four chrome-plated tailpipes that emit a throaty sound.

The three colour choices include Pure White, Lapiz Blue Metallic, and Deep Black Pearl Effect. A panoramic sunroof, a carbon-fibre roof, and a black styling package adding more contrast and flair to the exterior are optional pieces of equipment.


The modern and sophisticated interior welcomes you with sports seats with integrated headrests, upholstered in premium leather with blue stitching and R logos. The leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel features paddle shifters and a heated function, while the pedals and footrest are made of stainless steel. The digital cockpit boasts a 10.25-inch display, while the touchscreen infotainment system has a 10-inch display that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless charging, and voice and gesture control. A Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers and a subwoofer, as well as a head-up display, ambient lighting, keyless entry and start, and a massage function for the driver’s seat, is optional.

Provided you are willing to part ways with the hefty sum of R912,800, the 2023 VW Golf 8 R can be yours to relish, complete with a comprehensive five-year or 100,000km EasyDrive maintenance plan, as well as a three-year or 120,000km warranty.

Time to upgrade your ride?

If you’re looking to upgrade your ride, it’s important to conduct research before committing. Chat to friends and family for their views, as a professional, and look for reviews online. The MotorHappy blog is a good place to start – every month we review some of the latest cars to hit SA’s roads.

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