This is the hot hatch we’ve been begging Volkswagen build.
As much as we love the current Volkswagen Golf R, competition in the hot hatch segment has heated up significantly in recent years. Alongside the likes of the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, and Hyundai Veloster N, the Golf R simply lacks soul. This will change with the next-generation Golf R however, as Auto Express reports it will arrive in 2019 with 400 horsepower on tap. This would give it the same output as the Golf R 400 concept VW unveiled four years ago, which never went into production due to high costs.
While the Golf R 400 was powered by the same 2.5-liter five-cylinder as the Audi RS3 and TT RS, Auto Express suggests the new Golf R will keep the same setup as the current model. Specifications haven't been confirmed, but this means we can expect a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo under the hood. It should also inherit VW's 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed DSG gearbox. With more power than its competitors, a 400-hp Golf R would certainly cement VW's position in the hot hatch segment. It will also have a huge advantage in the US, as the Focus RS is being killed off within the next few years and the almighty Mercedes-AMG A45 won't be sold in North America either.
"The R brand is going extreme," VW's sales and marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann told Auto Express. "The role of R is that it can go beyond the rational; nobody needs a compact car with 400 hp, but is there a place [for it?]. Certainly, and that's the turf of R." Mild-hybrid 48v technology could also be utilized in the next Golf R, as VW has already confirmed the setup will be rolled out across the Mk8 Golf range, which would give the hot hatch an electrical boost when pushed to its limit and improve fuel economy in city driving. To complement its performance boost, the Golf R will also have more aggressive styling to distinguish it as Volkswagen's new performance flagship.
Expect extensive use of carbon fiber, more aggressive bumpers and quad tailpipes. "With a little more expressive design, R can go beyond the rational side of things. It [the R brand] can find its place in a different league of pure performance and there's a space where customers are willing to pay a significant amount of money," Stackmann added.