Volkswagen Golf R 20 Year celebrates two decades of R

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There's another letter of the alphabet celebrating a big anniversary in Germany this year. In Munich, BMW M is throwing a year-long 50th birthday party. In Wolfsburg, Volkswagen R is punctuating two decades of history with a Golf R 20 Years. In 2002, the first Golf R32 made it to market with a 3.2-liter VR6 engine producing 241 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Four generations later, the new Golf R 20 Years runs with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 329 horsepower, a 14-horse bump over the standard Golf R. Further tweaks to the engine include preloading the turbo on part throttle for faster response, and leaving the throttle valve open on the overrun. The dash to 62 mph is said to drop by a tenth of a second, to 4.6 seconds.

Revised mapping on the seven-speed DSG adds a more vigorous shift action in the sporty driving modes. The R Performance Package is thrown in, giving this special edition the torque vectoring rear differential, as well as Special and Drift drive modes. For thrills beyond speed, engineers added "Emotion Start," which cranks revs to 2,500 on startup.

Exterior cosmetic identifiers run from the "20 R" puddle lights to the "20" badge on the B-pillar; "R" in the fender vent; a revised spoiler; and black and blue 19-inch wheels that can be swapped for an all-black wheel. Also, when buyers opt for blue paint, the mirror caps come in black; in the other colors, the mirror caps are blue. Inside, carbon fiber accents come to the R for the first time, found on the instrument panel and door cards. Those flourishes join R badging on the steering wheel and seats.

It goes on sale in June in overseas markets. There will be a version for the U.S. market coming in a few months, said to be slightly different than the European version released now. The Golf R 20 Years will be on sale for the 2022 model year, until the middle of 2023 or thereabouts.

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