There seems to be a trend these days of automakers underrating performance vehicles. We’ve seen it on the Mustang Shelby GT500, and McLaren could be hilariously underrating its cars, notably the 765LT. This is our first look at a new Volkswagen Golf R on a chassis dyno, and if the numbers are accurate, the trend seems to continue – albeit in a considerably less dramatic fashion than the aforementioned supercar.
This clip comes to us from Archie Hamilton Racing on YouTube, and it features a new VW Golf R. In this case, new doesn’t just refer to the model year. According to the clip, this car only has 150 miles on it so the boosted 2.0-liter engine isn’t even broken in yet. Consider that a warning for those who cringe at seeing brand new cars getting hammered during the break-in period. This video may not be for you.
Much of the video is banter from the car owner, as well as discussion about tuning from techs at the dyno shop. We have the clip at the top of the article set to start with the actual dyno pulls, of which just a handful are done in both normal and race modes. As a refresher, VW rates the new Golf R at 315 horsepower, which translates to 235 kilowatts and 320 metric horsepower. That last figure is the important one to remember for this dyno session, because it takes place across the pond in the UK. 320 is the target to match, or in this case, beat.
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And beat it does. The series of pulls returns a maximum of 340 hp, 20 more ponies than VW claims. Note that this figure is not the rating at the wheels, as we’re used to seeing from chassis dyno runs in the US. This particular setup plugs in all the calculations to offer an estimated power rating at the crankshaft. As such, there’s certainly room for error if the numbers behind those calculations aren’t correct. We aren’t saying this readout is wrong, but we’ve certainly seen errors before.
There are a couple of other factors that bear attention. As previously mentioned, this Golf R isn’t even through its break-in period yet. It’s not uncommon to see engines gain a bit more power once all the moving parts are properly seated, so if the stats are indeed correct, seeing another 10 or 20 hp isn’t out of the question. Underrated by 20 hp is neat, but not necessarily worthy of a double-take. If future dyno runs show a 40 hp difference, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
The other wildcard comes from Volkswagen directly. Back in 2020, a leaked internal document from VW listed the new Golf R as having 245 kW, which equals 333 metric horsepower. That’s almost spot-on to this dyno session, which supports the underrated-engine theory. There’s also been recent speculation about a VW Golf R Plus that would feature the extra power increase. But perhaps all new Golf Rs have the higher output, and VW is just being a bit coy about it.
In any case, we’re keen to see more Golf R dyno runs to gain a broader perspective of the hot hatch’s power potential.