Car Launches

It’ s an R Thing – Golf R and Tiguan R have touched down

The new Golf R and Tiguan R have touched down in New Zealand and the AA were there on the day to get a first glimpse and drive of these new performance cars.

Volkswagen have expanded their R range to include three new R models: the iconic Golf R, the all-new Tiguan R and joining the R range in late 2022 – the T‑Roc R.

Resplendent in Lapiz blue

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What is the R thing all about you may ask? According to Volkswagen the R is so much more than a badge. It’s a symbol that promises an intricate blend of sport, sophistication, and indescribable thrills.

Obviously the ‘thrills’ bit is what we were keen to learn more about.

And what a thrill it was! After the presentations and a chance to drool over the three new R models, the Volkswagen team led a convoy of media out to Pukekohe Park to sample the Golf R and Tiguan R models.

The adrenalin packed day at Pukekohe Park - see video here -incorporated a mix of driving experiences to sample the extensive new ride and handling upgrades - like the new party trick “Drift” mode exclusive to the Golf R.

R for Racing – here’s the line up

Golf R

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PRICE: $77,990 to $82,990 (1st Edition) + ORC
ENGINE: 2.0-litre petrol inline four-cylinder turbo
POWER: 235kW/400Nm
FUEL EFFICIENCY/CO2: 8.6L/100km, 195g/km (3P-WLTP converted)
TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed dual clutch, AWD
BODY STYLE: Five-door hatch
STATUS: On sale now

The R badge has been proudly worn by the iconic Volkswagen Golf R for 20 years and now in its fifth generation. To Volkswagen the R is much more than a badge. General Manager of Volkswagen Passenger Vehicles, Greg Leet shared what’s special about the new hot hatch.

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“Golf R represents new technology - ignited by driving passion,” says Mr Leet. “The new Golf R is Volkswagen’s most powerful iteration yet, and it will be the most powerful model on our passenger fleet. It represents the absolute gold standard of technology within its class.”

The Golf R delivers extensive ride and handling upgrades alongside its powerful 2.0L TSI petrol engine. Boasting 235kW of power, 400Nm of torque and a 7-speed DSG with a launch control drivetrain – all contributing to a 0-100km/h acceleration in less than five seconds.

What really sets the R range apart is its all-new drive system - 4MOTION with R-Performance Torque Vectoring. This technology ensures power is brought to the road as effectively as possible. It delivers an extensive ride and handling upgrade, distributing drive not just between the front and rear axles, but also variably between the two rear wheels. This enables a new dimension of agility and sportiness with maximum grip and stability, particularly when cornering.

On the design front, the fifth generation R is even more imposing on the road than its predecessors. A lowered stance, super-sized front intake, R exclusive brake calipers, and body-coloured side sills gives it a powerfully stylish presence. The trademark Lapiz blue colour option adds the sizzle.

Racy interior

The stylish interior features further R exclusives like a leather-wrapped, multifunction sports steering wheel providing responsive feedback and precision control, and Nappa leather front sport-seats (power-adjustable with memory function) with both heating and ventilation.

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The Golf R infotainment suite is just as generous as the design suite with an 'R' exclusive REV counter display, a 10" Discover Media Infotainment System, induction wireless charging, App-Connect and full colour Heads Up Display.

Twenty years of the Golf R also deserves its exclusive features and Volkswagen’s delivered this courtesy of the 1st Edition.

Golf R 1st Edition

The Golf R 1st Edition features two, additional special driving modes: ‘Drift’ and ‘Special - Nürburgring’.

The ‘Drift’ profile distributes 100% of the rear torque to one wheel for optimal cornering away from public roads. This feature opens a new level of driving dynamics and further exploits the potential of Torque Vectoring by provoking oversteer instead of neutral vehicle handling.

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The ‘Special - Nürburgring’ mode (note the famous racetrack map) is optimised for track duty, featuring softer suspension settings to help keep the tyres in contact with the tarmac. The 1st Edition also includes a panoramic sunroof and Harman Kardon premium sound system.

Additional Golf R features:

Active & Passive Safety

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Pedestrian and Cyclist monitoring
  • Lane Keeping Assist & Blind Spot Monitor
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Travel Assist and Emergency Assist
  • Automatic High Beam Assist
  • Reversing Camera with dynamic guideline
  • Front & Rear parking sensor


  • LED light strip across the front grille
  • LED taillights with dynamic indicator
  • Smart Key and Push-button start
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • 30-Colour Ambient Lighting
  • 3-zone Climatronic Air-Conditioning
  • Rear Privacy glasses
  • Standard 19" Estoril Alloy Wheel

Tiguan R

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PRICE: $80,990 to $85,990 (1st Edition) + ORC
ENGINE: 2.0-litre petrol inline four-cylinder turbo
POWER: 235kW/400Nm
FUEL EFFICIENCY/CO2: 9.7L/100km, 220g/km (3P-WLTP converted)
TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed DSG (with launch control)
STATUS: On sale now

Until now the Golf R has been the sole preserve of the Volkswagen’s R offering - but that’s all changed. The introduction of Tiguan R combines the dynamic performance of a sports car with the convenience of a Sport Utility Vehicle – perfect for drivers wanting the practicality of a medium SUV with a bit grunt.

“Now R customers can experience the same level of performance and driving dynamics, without compromising on space, versatility and practicality,” says Mr Leet.

Having the opportunity to take the wheel of the new Tiguan R out on the Pukekohe racetrack, we soon discovered in more ways than one, how the Volkswagen ‘R’ DNA has been absorbed into this next level of fun to drive SUV.

Like the Golf R it gets the all-new drive system - 4MOTION with R-Performance Torque Vectoring - and the Tiguan R (alongside the Golf R) is one of the first vehicles to feature it. With this system, the Tiguan R really does set a new benchmark for SUV driving dynamics.

The extended technical R equipment includes:

  • 18-inch brake system including blue brake calipers (with R logo at the front)
  • Adaptive Dampers
  • A driving profile selection enhanced for the Tiguan R with an additional R profile. This particularly sporty mode can be activated directly by means of a blue R button on the new multifunction sports steering wheel.
  • Separate paddles for manual control of the 7-speed DSG
  • Dual-clutch gearbox.

The sporty R DNA is not just to be found in the turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive system, but also its extensively customised equipment.

The exterior: the standard equipment here includes bumpers in R design with aerodynamic elements, exterior mirror covers in matte chrome, and a body-coloured rear spoiler.

The interior: the Tiguan R sets itself apart from the other models in the product line with features such as the 'Nappa' leather* appointed sport seats with the R logo, a customised 10.25" Active Info Display with integrated lap timer, as well as R-specific decorative trim (Carbon Grey). The decorative trim elements are illuminated via the 30-colour ambient lighting.

T-Roc R - coming soon

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For those wanting an SUV, but more on the compact side, the 2.0-litre turbo will soon join the new R line up. With 221kW of power this stylish yet sporty SUV is a worthy addition. Customers can register their interest now here.

Both the Golf R and Tiguan R had received over 100 orders for each model before they were launched in New Zealand, so if the popularity of the T-Roc R’s siblings is anything to go by we expect orders to be filled fast. 

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