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Volkswagen’s updated Golf R gets a power boost and subtle styling tweaks

Last month, Volkswagen unveiled an updated version of its bestselling Golf hatchback, and now the range-topping Golf R performance model is getting the same tweaks, plus more power.

The Golf R continues to use an uprated version of the EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine fitted to the less-extreme GTI. But it now produces 305 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, up from 292 hp and 280 lb-ft in the previous version. Power is sent to all four wheels through six-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch automated transmissions.

With the extra power, Volkswagen says the reinvigorated Golf R will do 0 to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds with the DSG transmission, an improvement of about 0.3 second over the previous version. Expect the acceleration time for the manual-transmission to drop from the current 5.3 seconds as well.

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Like other versions of the venerable hatchback, the updated Golf R also gets some styling changes. However, only true Golf experts will be able to spot the differences. Volkswagen says the grille and front fenders on all Golf models are new, and LED taillights are now standard across the board. The Golf wasn’t exactly a bad-looking car to begin with, so major styling changes weren’t really necessary.

The Golf R will probably get at least some of the new tech features previously announced for other Golf models. These include the Active Info Display that replaces the analog gauge cluster with a 12.3-inch digital display, and Discover Pro infotainment system, featuring a 9.2-inch touchscreen and gesture controls.

The rest of the updated Golf lineup will go on sale next year, with the Golf R likely following the more mainstream models. The Golf comes in many flavors, including the basic hatchback, the electric e-Golf, the Golf R and GTI performance models, and the Golf SportWagen and Alltrack wagons.