LONDON, England - VW dealers in the UK are now taking orders for the most powerful production Golf yet, the 225kW Golf R, ahead of the first deliveries in March 2014.That's about the same time as its expected in South Africa.Prices for the range-topping R start at £29 900 for the two-door hatch with a six-speed manual gearbox and £31 315 with a six-speed direct-shift gearbox. Four-door hatches cost £30 555 and £31 970 respectively. (Prices are UK-only and do not take into account SA import duties, ad valorem and other taxes.)At the heart of the R is a new version of the two-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged EA888 TSI petrol engine used in the latest Golf GTI but in this application producing 225kW from 5500-6200rpm and 380Nm from 1800-5500rpm.Most powerful Golf R yet? Er, sigh, not for us. Sadly, Volkswagen South Africa says we'll be getting a less powerful 206kW version. 18% MORE FUEL-EFFICIENTCompared with the GTI’s engine, R’s engine has a modified cylinder head, exhaust valves, valve seats and springs, pistons, injection valves and turbocharger to reach 100kmh in 5.3sec (5.7 for previous Golf R) or 4.9sec with the DSG. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.Despite the superior performance, VW says, a combined fuel-consumption figure of 7.13 litres/100km (6.94 DSG) and CO2 emissions of 165g/km (159 with DSG) make the Golf R as much as 18% more efficient than its predecessor.The R uses fifth-generation Haldex 4MOTION all-wheel drive. Under low loads, or when coasting, the rear axle is decoupled, helping to reduce fuel consumption. Drive to the rear axle can be engaged in a fraction of a second via the Haldex coupling, which is actuated by an electro-hydraulic pump.Almost all power can be transferred to the rear wheels.PROFILE SELECTORThe ride height is 20mm lower than the standard Golf’s (5mm lower than the GTI) and adaptive chassis control is an option. For the first time this offers ‘race’ mode, which increases damping to reduce body roll.In conjunction with the driver profile selector (standard on all Golfs from SE), race mode also attenuates throttle response and alters the shift pattern of the DSG (where fitted).On top of ESC Sport mode, as found on the Golf GTI, which delays intervention of the electronic stability control system, the R offers the option fully to disengage the ESC for track driving.Like the Golf GTI, the Golf R is equipped with progressive steering, which reduces the number of turns lock-to-lock to 2.1, from 2.75.The R can be identified by its new front bumper design, with large air inlets, modified radiator grille with ‘R’ logo, and daytime running lights in the standard bi-xenon headlights. The sills are body-colour matched and there are matte chrome-capped external mirrors.OPTIONAL 'PRETORIA' ALLOYSStandard wheels are 18" Cadiz alloys with 225/40 tyres; 19" Pretoria (Pretoria!!) alloys are optional. The brakes use ventilated discs all round, 30mm by 340mm at the front, 22mm by 310mm at the rear.As with all Golf Mk 7 units, the R is lighter than its predecessor with a kerb weight of 1476kg (1495kg with DSG), 45/46kg less than the Mk VI.The interior features cloth sports seats with Alcantara bolsters, with leather upholstery an option. The instrument dials are special for the R with typical touches such as blue needles.