With the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the Golf R can accelerate from rest to 100km/h (62 mph) in 5.7 seconds while with the DSG dual clutch transmission, this figure drops to 5.5 seconds (Golf GTI 210HP: 7.2 seconds). Either way, top speed is limited to 250km/h or 155 mph.
VW says that the new engine that is derived from the Mk V Golf GTI and not the newer unit used on the VI Golf GTI, is not only 35 kg (77 lbs) lighter and 20HP more powerful than the 3.2-litre V6 found in the outgoing Golf R32, but also more fuel efficient as economy rises from a combined 22.0mpg US (10.7lt per 100km / 26.4mpg UK) to 27.7mpg US (8.5lt per 100km / 33.2mpg UK) while CO2 emissions fall from 257 g/km to 199 g/km.
To further improve handling, VW's engineers added new 345 mm diameter front brake discs (rear: 310 mm) and callipers while the uprated suspension that has been lowered by 25 mm gets revised spring and damper rates and new anti-roll bars.
The Golf R features a revised Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) with two stages that has been designed for track use while the electro-mechanical power steering system has also been tweaked to sharpen responses.
The cosmetic upgrades are less spectacular that the ones under the hood with the Golf R receiving a similar treatment to the Scirocco R. Up front there's a new bumper with larger air intakes and LED running lights, and a new black grille flanked by Xenon headlights while at the back there's a newly styled bumper with a black diffuser housing a pair of central exit exhausts and darkened tail lamps.
Step inside the Golf R and you'll be greeted by a pair of front bucket seats finished in grey Alcantara contrasted against high-grip black mesh cloth, a set of aluminium 'R' kick plates while the gloss black accents throughout the interior are complemented by electric blue needles in the tweaked instrument panel.
The new Golf R is set to arrive in European dealerships in December with prices and detailed specifications due to be announced closer to the launch date. VW has yet to make an announcement for the North American market, but from what we've heard, the Golf R will most likely make its way across the Atlantic sometime in 2010.