Volkswagen unveiled the latest generation of the brand’s performance halo, the new Golf R. In addition to improved power, torque and fuel economy, the new Golf R features a newly developed torque vectoring 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and a Vehicle Dynamics Manager. The new performance-oriented all-wheel-drive system is exclusive in North American Volkswagen models to the new Golf R.
The new 4Motion setup features selective wheel torque control on the rear axle—the new rear differential distributes the power between the front and rear axles, and also between the two rear wheels. This makes it possible to significantly increase the agility of the Golf R, particularly when cornering.
As a world first, the all-wheel drive is also networked via a Vehicle Dynamics Manager (VDM) with other running gear systems such the electronic differential locks (XDS) and the DCC adaptive damping system.
The differential from the 4Motion drive system normally transfers the power in a 50:50 ratio via a multi-plate clutch to the left and the right-hand rear wheels, even when the differential lets them rotate at different speeds when cornering.
The new 4Motion all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring, however, can also distribute the torque variably between both rear wheels, with up to 100% able to be directed to the wheel on the outside of the bend. This reduces the cornering radius and helps to eliminate understeer. This leads to noticeably more agile handling than its predecessor.
Improved agility is complemented by the standard variable-ratio steering in the new Golf R. The intensity of the power distribution is determined by the current steering angle, accelerator pedal position, lateral acceleration, yaw rate and speed. The driver can also influence the way in which the all-wheel drive system and the stability systems interact via the standard driving profile selection (Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual). The R button on the steering wheel takes the Golf R driver straight to the driving profile selection.
Volkswagen introduced a new driving dynamics control system for the Golf Mk 8: the Vehicle Dynamics Manager. In the Golf R, the intelligent system not only closely integrates the electronic differential locks (XDS) and cornering performance of the DCC system, but also—for the first time—the 4Motion all-wheel drive system during every driving maneuver. In this process, adapting the individual wheel damping (200 times a second) can help with particularly agile and accurate handling.
The Vehicle Dynamics Manager also enables exact calculation of optimal clutch control for the selective wheel torque control function to further optimize the agility and stability of the Golf R. In parallel to this, targeted braking intervention on the vehicle side on the inside of a bend further reduces understeer in the transition and limit ranges. Traction is improved by increased locking in the selective wheel torque control, and vehicle handling is slightly more biased towards the rear.
The program can also help optimize yaw and load change damping at high speeds. Since the Vehicle Dynamics Manager now monitors the car’s handling on every corner, it is able to specifically correct any understeer or oversteer.
For example: If early application of the throttle in a corner causes the Golf R to understeer too heavily in a corner, the Vehicle Dynamics Manager closes the selective wheel torque control clutch on the wheel located on the outside of the bend. The result: a yaw moment is generated on the rear axle, which turns the Golf R neutrally into the bend and reduces the understeer.
The new Golf R underwent its final tuning on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife race track, and includes new “Special” and “Drift” driving profiles in addition to the traditional Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual profiles in Driving Mode Selection. The Sport profile is the dynamic and ideal basic mode for the Golf R. The Comfort profile is tailored more for a high level of comfort, while still offering a high degree of steering precision. In the Race profile, the coasting function (freewheeling without drive power) is deactivated, the engine sound is increased, and the DSG, DCC, steering and the all-wheel-drive system are adjusted to a sportier setup.
In the Special driving profile, all of the main drive system parameters were configured for the Nordschleife—including the new 4Motion all-wheel drive system. The result is that the DSG dual-clutch automatic version of the Golf R is up to 17 seconds quicker in internal tests on the Nürburgring Nordschleife than its predecessor. Compared to Race mode, the Special profile has softer damping settings, to make sure the Golf R can maintain maximum contact with the road on the undulating Nordschleife. The lateral behavior and all-wheel-drive controls are optimized to handle the corners of the Nürburgring. Furthermore, downshifts in automatic DSG mode, depending on the brake pressure, complement the braking ahead of corners.
In Drift profile (meant for track use only), the parameters for the ESC stability control (change to ESC Sport) and the distribution of power via the all-wheel drive system enable the Golf R to drift. To help ensure that the profile is only selected on private roads, the infotainment system always displays a confirmation prompt before it is activated.
In the Individual profile, the driver can precisely adjust and save their own driving profile using a digital slider. In profiles below Comfort, this results in even greater comfort. In profiles above Race, the tuning becomes even more dynamic and very direct; minimum roll is then combined with maximum agility. Using the ESC button, the driver is also able to deactivate ESC separately while on the race track.
When the Golf R is started, ESC is always active as a full system. However, drivers of the most powerful Golf can adapt ESC in two stages. In ESC Sport mode, the ESC and traction control (ASR) slip thresholds are increased to reduce the intensity of interventions. In ESC Off mode, experienced drivers can additionally deactivate ESC altogether for all driving situations. However, Front Assist reactivates the full ESC system in emergencies.