This will be the most powerful production VW Golf yet.
Back in 2015, Volkswagen debuted the radical R400 Concept, a hardcore, 400-hp version of the Golf R. Five years later, sadly, the R400 still hasn't entered production. However, rumors have suggested Volkswagen is cooking up a new high-performance "Plus" version of the next-generation Golf R to fill the void, but Australia's WhichCar reports that it hasn't been given the green light for production yet.
Since it's not part of VW's mid-term plans, the Golf R Plus may not arrive until 2023 at the earliest. Potentially, VW could launch it in 2024 to coincide with the Golf GTI's 50th anniversary. Initially, Volkswagen executives wanted the Golf R Plus to use Audi's potent five-cylinder turbo, but Audi declined the request.
This means VW will continue to use its familiar 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, which could be boosted up to 400 horsepower in the hardcore Golf Plus R, making it the most powerful production Golf ever. That would be a considerable power increase over the regular Golf R, which will have 328 horsepower on tap according to leaked documents. How Volkswagen will extract this much power from its four-pot engine remains to be seen, however.
Volkswagen could increase the size of the turbocharger or use electric assistance. Adding an electric motor could add around 50 hp to the total output. This wouldn't be the first time a high-performance VW R model has been given the hybrid treatment either, as the recently unveiled Touareg R combines a 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine with an electric motor to produce a combined 456 hp.
If VW goes down the electrification route for the Golf R Plus, the main challenge will be offsetting the extra weight added by the electric motor and batteries. One solution could be adopting the same setup as the 2017 GTI Worthersee concept, which has a gasoline engine powering the front axle and electric motors for the rear axle, meaning it could be driven in front or all-wheel drive depending on the driving scenario.
This would rectify the weight issue by eliminating the need for differential and driveshaft, but we'll have to wait and see which direction VW takes. In the meantime, the new Volkswagen Golf R is expected to debut this summer, but it could be delayed due to the coronavirus.