The VW Golf R Sportwagen: 296 Horsepower and Space for the Toys

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What if you found yourself merging onto the scariest highway in your family vehicle on summer vacation? If you were driving the new Golf R Sportwagen, you would blast to 60 miles per hour in about 5 seconds. So much for the worries. In fact, there is plenty to celebrate in this attractive family ride packing 296 horsepower and a top speed of 155 miles per hour (seriously). We just don’t know if U.S. consumers will ever get the chance to own one after Volkswagen teased the nation in the Sportwagen’s Los Angeles Auto Show debut.

Fans of Volkswagen performance already had a nice treat arrive in the form of the Golf R hot hatch, a turbocharged version of the VW staple that will start at $37,415. Add a lot more space plus 6 more horses and the standard 280 pounds-feet of torque and you have the R Sportwagen that is peacocking its way through LA Auto Show displays.

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Sport suspension, a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive seal the deal for most people who were interested in a wagon but remained uncertain about the R Sportwagen’s road cred. Volkswagen officials were exuberant about the wagon’s capabilities in the press reveal in LA, but no one would commit to a date or time for U.S. release. For now, the only news out of VW camp is its confirmed release in Europe in spring of 2015. So why get everyone all excited on this side of the Atlantic? According to Michael Horn, president of Volkswagen of America, there’s a maybe stashed in there somewhere.

“We show the car, we look at the response, we first introduce the Golf R, and then we have the option to play with it later,” Horn said to Automobile Magazine in LA. Notice how he said “play” in that quote? It’s a mind game, people.

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For those who were wondering which model under the VW Group banner the R Sportwagen’s engine came from, look no further than the Audi S3, which is only a half-second faster to 60 miles per hour but has a lot less room. It may not be the Audi RS6 Avant that produces 550 horsepower (also not available in the U.S.), but there appears to be a conspiracy here with juiced-up German wagons Americans can’t buy. There is a chance, though.

“There’s the option,” VW’s Michael Horn told Automobile Magazine. “This R SportWagen will help us with the image and getting a little bit of spice in the Golf family when we need it.” We would say there is a lot of spice in that rack.

Between the thunderous Audi R8, the breathtaking Audi Prologue concept, and the wicked VW XL Sport that runs on a Ducati engine, Volkswagen Group is certainly flexing its muscles at world auto shows of late. Just because you can’t get one doesn’t mean you can’t dream a little. At the end of the day, there’s plenty of fun in that.

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