Volkswagen showcased face-lifted Golf R at Ice Race, Austria

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Volkswagen showcased face-lifted Golf R at Ice Race, Austria

Volkswagen's recent event at the Ice Race in Zell am See, Austria, was a remarkable blend of celebration and innovation, marking the 50th anniversary of the iconic Golf. This event wasn't just an opportunity to showcase the facelifted Golf 8.5 series, including the GTI; it also served as a grand stage for the sneak peek of the eagerly anticipated 2024 Golf R.

The event honoured the storied legacy of Golf, showcasing its journey from the pioneering Golf I GTI, introduced in 1975, to the Golf IV R32 from 2002, and leading up to the latest iterations: the Golf R, GTI, Golf eHybrid, and Golf GTE. Each model highlighted at the event represented a significant milestone in the Golf's evolution, reflecting Volkswagen's commitment to innovation and performance.

Set against the rich historical backdrop of the Ice Race, dating back to 1937, the event was a fitting tribute to the Golf's heritage. The icy track in Zell am See perfectly blended tradition and modernity, where racing legends Hans-Joachim Stuck and Johan Kristoffersson showcased their skills. They drove various Volkswagen vehicles, including historical models like the Golf I GTI and two rally versions of the Golf II, demonstrating the enduring performance and appeal of these vehicles.

The event's highlight was the preview of the 2024 Golf R. Slated for a world premiere in mid-2024, the Golf R, still under camouflage, sparked excitement among attendees and enthusiasts worldwide. Reinhold Ivenz, Head of Volkswagen R, emphasised the brand's enduring commitment to sportiness and dynamic performance. His excitement about the upcoming Golf R hinted at the exceptional capabilities and design that lie beneath its camouflaged exterior.

The Ice Race itself is a testament to the evolution of motorsport. Originating with skijoring, where horses pulled skiers across the ice, it has evolved to feature motorbikes and cars, becoming a prominent spectacle in motorsport. The 2024 edition of the race marked its fourth contemporary iteration, blending traditional skijoring with exciting races featuring production vehicles, symbolising the fusion of history and modern technology.

Volkswagen R, the company's performance-oriented brand, showcased its commitment to sportiness and dynamic performance at the event. In 2023, the brand achieved a significant milestone, producing over 35,000 R models, contributing to more than 300,000 R models delivered since 2002. This achievement underscores Volkswagen's dedication to delivering high-performance vehicles that resonate with enthusiasts.

Looking towards the future, Volkswagen R focuses on four key pillars: performance, design, innovation, and quality. The brand aims to transition to an all-electric R model lineup by 2030, showcasing its commitment to sustainable performance and cutting-edge technology.

The Ice Race event was more than a showcase of Volkswagen's latest innovations; it was a tribute to the Golf's rich history and a tantalising glimpse into its future. The event reaffirmed Volkswagen's commitment to automotive excellence, performance, and innovation, as evidenced by the upcoming Golf R.

The 2024 Golf R, along with the rest of the Golf 8.5 family, is set to feature significant updates in both style and technology. The exterior will see a new bumper, Matrix LED headlights, and an illuminated grille strip with a VW badge. Inside, the improvements include a more intuitive infotainment system with updated software and graphics, a redesigned menu, and the debut of onboard ChatGPT. Additionally, the car will feature separate climate controls and a multi-function steering wheel with conventional buttons, replacing touch sliders.

As Volkswagen prepares to unveil the 2024 Golf R entirely, there is high anticipation for a vehicle that encapsulates 50 years of automotive excellence. Enthusiasts are eager to see how Volkswagen will enhance its premier performance hatch, as this might be the final Golf series with an internal combustion engine. Expectations are high for the Golf R to offer significant performance and dynamic enhancements, creating a fitting tribute to the Golf's enduring legacy and Volkswagen's ongoing commitment to innovation.

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