VW’s 296-hp Golf R Variant is half business, half party … and the wagon of your dreams

Volkswagen has traveled to the annual Los Angeles Auto Show to introduce the Golf R Variant.

The Variant shares its drivetrain with the standard Golf R hatchback, meaning it is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 296 horsepower and 280 lb-ft. of torque. Linked to a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission and a performance-tuned version of Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, the turbo four sends the Golf R Variant from zero to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. Gas mileage checks in at 34 mpg in a mixed European cycle.

Beefier brakes on all four corners, a progressive power steering system and a suspension setup that has been lowered by 0.8 inches help the driver make the most of the four-banger’s grunt. Additionally, buyers who order the optional Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive damping system can pick from five different driving profiles including a “race” mode.

The Golf R Variant wears a sporty front fascia characterized by large air dams in the bumper and a R-specific radiator grille with a thin strip of chrome trim. Past the B-pillar the R Variant is all business, offering 21.4 cubic feet of trunk space with five adults on board and over 57 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. 18-inch alloy wheels and an air diffuser that incorporates four oval exhaust pipes hint at the power that lurks under the hood.

The cockpit is standard Golf R fare. The hot-rodded Variant is fitted with a meaty three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, sport seats upholstered in a combination of cloth and Alcantara, an upgraded instrument cluster and a large screen that runs the car’s infotainment system.

Following its debut in the City of Angels, the Volkswagen Golf R Variant will go on sale across the United States next spring. It will be joined in showrooms by a more tame model that will replace the Jetta Sportwagen. Pricing information will be published in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.