20 years of Volkswagen R – A success story since 2002.
In 2002, the Volkswagen Golf IV R32 set new standards in the compact class. A top speed of 247 km/h. 177 kW (241 PS) from a capacity of just under 3.2 litres. A six-cylinder engine, 4MOTION all-wheel drive and optionally with the new DSG dual clutch gearbox. At that time, these features were a technical sensation for the Golf class. and marked the birth of Volkswagen’s premium performance brand.
To begin with, the plan was to build 5,000 Golf IV R32s based on the Golf IV. In the end, 12,000 vehicles were produced – 7,000 of them stayed in Europe and 5,000 went to the United States, where the sporty Golf had gained cult status. The resounding success marked the starting point for the development of a sporty sub-brand. In 2010, Volkswagen Individual GmbH, which was founded in 2003, became Volkswagen R GmbH. Since 2020, Volkswagen R has been its own independent business unit in the company and has held complete responsibility for the R product brand. It is the Group’s own centre of expertise for developing and marketing R models. Responsibility for the popular sporty R-Line packages remains with the respective product lines.
A global community of fans
The Volkswagen R models with increased power have their roots in motorsport and stand for the transfer of innovative high-performance technology to series production. Paired with their unique, distinctive designs, this has resulted in more than 300,000 customers ordering a Volkswagen R model to date. The Volkswagen brand’s sportiest and most emotion-invoking models inspire a community of fans around the world. With its technological expertise and incredible capacity for innovation, Volkswagen R ensures the highest standards of performance, safety and quality, enabling the brand to always remain at the cutting-edge of the industry.
20 years of Volkswagen R – Selected heritage models.
Launched with a compact sensation – The Golf IV R32 (2002–2004, 12,000 units)
The fastest, most powerful Golf ever produced by Volkswagen to that point was presented in 2002. The Golf R32’s V6 engine generated a maximum torque of 320 Nm from 2,800 revs per minute – setting a new benchmark for compact cars at the start of the new millennium. The all-wheel drive R32 with a 6-speed manual gearbox accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds, and managed this feat 0.2 seconds quicker when equipped with the optional DSG. The sporty hatchback’s top speed was just below the magic mark of 250 km/h.
A class of its own – The Passat R36 (2008–2010, 6,792 units)
The year 2008 saw the début of the Passat R36, a limited edition sports model with 220 kW (299 PS), 360 Nm and a 3.6-litre FSI. The most powerful Passat ever to go into series production impressed both during routine journeys and on the racetrack as the R36 Estate. The electronically controlled top speed of 250 km/h brought together Volkswagen customers from different walks of life with inspiring experiences in their vehicle.
From a cult coupé to a genuine racer – The Scirocco R (2009, 15,837 units)
When it launched in 2009, the compact sports car with its power-enhanced 2.0-litre TSI engine was just as hot as the Sahara wind it was named after. The product line’s flagship model offered an even more active ride thanks to a number of refinements to intricate details. It was available with a manual 6-speed gearbox or a 6-speed DSG. The TSI had an output of 195 kW (265 PS) and 350 Nm from 2,500 rpm. The Scirocco R accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.0 seconds or in 5.8 seconds with the DSG gearbox.
A pioneer in motorsport – The Scirocco GT24-CNG (2009 – 2014)
The year 2008 saw Volkswagen Motorsport enter the rallying world with the Scirocco GT24. The bio-natural gas version with an output of 207 kW (282 PS) and 330 Nm made its début in 2009. At the 24-hour race at Nürburgring, the gas-powered racing car achieved victory in its class on its first appearance.In the Scirocco R Cup racing series, which was held as part of the DTM, the GT24-CNG proved to be the ideal introduction to motorsport between 2010 and 2014, acting as a springboard to higher racing series for a large number of racing drivers. Volkswagen’s CNG-based racing car emitted 80 percent less CO2 than comparable competitors and was long regarded as the “world’s most environmentally friendly racing car”.
On the hunt for records – The Polo R WRC (2013–2016, 2,500 units)
With the Polo R WRC, Volkswagen took home four constructors’ titles in the World Rally Championships. The team behind the all-wheel drive vehicle also managed to secure the Drivers’, Co-drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship titles in the highest rally class when the Polo made its début appearance in the 2013 season. The Polo R WRC’s drivers included Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala as well as French driver Sébastien Ogier, who was the drivers’ World Champion four seasons in a row. Between 2013 and 2016, Volkswagen Motorsport and the Polo R WRC set various records that remain unbeaten to this day, including 43 victories from 52 races – a legendary win rate of 82.7 percent – along with twelve successive wins. A road-approved version was launched in 2013: the Polo R WRC Street, which was limited to 2,500 units.
The start of a new era in motorsport – The ID.R (2018–2020)
The year 2018 saw Volkswagen enter a new era of motorsport with the ID.R. The ID.R was the brand’s first ever all-electric racing car. It was created in just 250 days with a clear objective: to compete in the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race in the US state of Colorado. Starting at a height of 2,862 metres and finishing at 4,302 metres, the race to the summit – which was first held in 1916 – is regarded as the world’s most challenging mountain race. In the demanding Race To The Clouds, the ID.R zoomed across the finish line after 19.99 kilometres, a climb of 1,440 metres and 156 corners in 7:57.148 minutes – a new overall record for the track. With its focus on saving as much weight as possible and ensuring optimum aerodynamics, the ID.R became a technological pioneer, setting a new benchmark for electric mobility and writing motorsports history on three continents by setting a new record for electric prototypes on the Nürburgring and a new record on the famous Tian Men mountain in China.