Further proof that Europe exists in an entirely different automotive dimension than America: You can get a 316-horsepower all-wheel-drive station wagon that can tow nearly 4,200 pounds and it has a drift mode. This is the VW Golf R Estate and I’m obsessed.
The alternate reality, rather is that Volkswagen is the dominant automaker. It’s like the Enterprise visiting a planet where there are non-carbon-based life forms, or people with copper instead of iron in their blood. It’s a subtle distinction in comparison to the U.S. where pickup trucks from Ford and GM reign supreme and crossovers from Toyota hound in against them.
In America, we do have a 300-odd HP almost-wagon, but it’s the Honda Civic Type R. If you want that much performance in something relatively normal-shaped, you’re either getting it with wings and spoilers or you’re paying a premium for a luxury brand. We can get a 45-level AMG here, too, but it’s the GLA mini-SUV and it starts at $54,500.
VW hasn’t announced pricing for this Estate version of the Golf R, but Autocar expects it only to be a few grand over the hatchback’s MSRP. That would be in the low- to mid-40s over here, though that’s rather academic. VW hasn’t said anything about bringing this Golf R Estate Stateside. Please enjoy these stats, then, from Autocar, as an exercise in jealousy:
Customers can also opt for the R performance package, which ups the top speed to 167mph, and adds 19in wheels and two additional driving modes: Special (which is tuned specifically for quick laps of the Nürburgring) and self-explanatory Drift.
Boot space matches the standard Golf Estate at 611 litres, or 1642 litres with the rear seats folded, just edging the new, rakish-roofed Arteon R Shooting Brake for carrying capacity. New for the second-generation car is an optional tow bar which can be used to pull a maximum braked trailer load of 1900kg.
I do not by any means think that this is the car America necessarily wants to buy, but I think there is a perverse side of our market that wants something not unlike a Subaru Outback (we bought 150,000 of them in 2020), only with more power than ever possibly needed.