This one is kind of hard to take.
Remember the Volkswagen Golf R400? Two years ago the German automaker showed off the ultra-hot hatchback concept at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. It was said to be greenlit for production and even after Dieselgate broke it appeared as if the Golf R400 was still going to be built, this according to a January report from Autobild. But now Automotive News, citing anonymous company insiders, says that the Golf R400 is dead. As you’d expect, Dieselgate is to blame.
Heinz-Jakob Neusser, former head of research and development at Volkswagen, was the man who confirmed that the R400 was steaming towards production. But he was forced to resign last year and after he left the company the project was killed. Unfortunately that means the world will never know the simple joys of an all-wheel-drive two-door hatchback with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 395 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Gone forever is the possibility of running the R400 from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds and onto a limited top speed of 174 mph. Unfortunately this decision makes perfect sense. Dieselgate is going to be pricey and the last thing VW needs is to spend cash on vanity projects.
The good news is that Audi is still tinkering with the tuned EA888 engine that was supposed to sit in the R400. Audi may end up using it in a future model, so the hot hatch has the chance to live on, at least in spirit. Automotive News says that regarding the next Golf R, due out after 2020, there are two schools of thought. The first is a business-as-usual approach with an added power bump while the other is a radical redesign that could knock off 300 pounds or more. Either way the outlet says the Golf R’s engine will make a power figure close to the current model’s 292 horses.