Could it be? Has Volkswagen really greenlit the Golf R 400 for production. According to the company’s research and development guru chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser (and Car&Driver), yes.[Not a valid template]
It’s the news VW fanboys the world over have been crying out for since images of the 400PS/395hp bombshell were released last week. Rather than trotting out another ‘special edition’ model complete with new exotic stitching and über flash headlights, the Volkswagen Group – never one to shirk from a challenge as the ballistic $1.6 million 1000-plus horsepower Bugatti Veyron proved nearly a decade ago – has gone straight in at the deep end with the Golf R 400, a concept designed to show just how much potential lies currently dormant in the standard Golf R. And for those of us who’ve driven it, that’s saying quite a lot.
Officially unveiled at this month’s Beijing Auto Show, the R’s standard 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has received only the minutiae of tweaks (including a new turbocharger, reinforced crankcase and a nifty water-cooled exhaust gas feed) to ramp up power from 290hp to 395hp, and torque up to 332lb ft. This renewed vigour means the current king of the hot hatches hits 0-100kph in just 3.9 seconds. Not only can this ‘humble’ hatchback outsprint a KTM X-Bow GT, it beats the current R to the ton by a full second. We’re talking serious power here, though we’ll have to wait to see what changes – if any – Volkswagen has made to the suspension and chassis to keep the four-wheel drive R 400 on its tracks.
All too often we see manufacturers extending the life of their current models with a limited edition model honouring one fashion label or another (which, in fairness, do sell and help pay the bills). It’s nice to see some brands seemingly hold no fear of producing a clanger, though we’re not for a second assuming the Golf R 400 will be anything other than excellent. It’s a challenge, one VW has taken on in the past with V6-powered Golfs and the legendary 1988 Rallye Golf G60 (from which the R 4900 draws inspiration, including the extra wide wheel arches) and continues to do so today. Diehard Golf-ists we’re sure are already pawning the family silver and flogging the flatscreen to stump up their deposit cheques.