It all boils down to stricter emissions control.
A report coming from UK publication Autocar likely won't sit well with Volkswagen Golf R fans, certainly for those in Europe and, possibly, even in North America. Because of the new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) that's replacing the outgoing New European Driving Cycle, the automaker is being forced to downgrade the Golf R's output from 306 hp to 296 hp. Obviously 10 hp doesn't make a huge difference, but we imagine this won't sit well with everyone.
The reason for the rated horsepower downgrade is because WLTP regulations are stricter and therefore VW was forced to replace the exhaust system with one that's more environmentally friendly. Specifically, the new system further cuts nitrogen oxide on the test cycle. "In the context of new homologations, there are adaptions for the exhaust gas treatment and for the power output. From now on, all Golf R models will feature a 300PS (296 hp) engine," a VW spokesperson told Autocar. It should be noted that VW is not offering technical details that explain why the output has slightly dropped. Customers who have already placed an order for a new Golf R will be affected by this change.
But what about customers in the US? We've reached out to Volkswagen seeking comment and we'll update this space once we hear back, but we figure the new exhaust system will also be installed on US-bound models. How come? Because why would VW want to have two different exhaust systems for the same car? Makes little to no financial sense.