May 24, 2002 – VW Golf R32 debuts

Volkswagen launched the Golf R32 in Europe on this day in 2002 as a 2003 model. The performance variant become hugely popular, leading VW to launch the car in the Australian and US markets as the 2004 Volkswagen R32. Each R32 featured every performance, safety, and luxury option Volkswagen offered. Under the hood one would find an all new 3,189 cc (3.2 L; 194.6 cu in) DOHC 4 valves per cylinder VR6 engine, which made 238 bhp at 6,250 rpm.

The R32 also had a Haldex Traction-based 4motion on-demand four-wheel drive system and a new six-speed manual transmission. Other upgrades included independent rear suspension, Climatronic automatic climate control, sport seats from König with R32 badging, 18″ OZ Aristo alloy wheels 13.1 in disc brakes with gloss blue painted calipers, sunroof (for the US) and model-specific bodywork changes.

r32 vw
Euro spec R32 by M93.

With only 5,000 produced for the US, the car is now considered a modern collector vehicle. The success of the R32 spawned a whole series of R badged vehicles from Volkswagen. Each has featured the best performance specs from VW. For example, one could purchase a 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan R powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that delivers 316 horsepower.

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