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A 400-hp Golf R Still Possible From Volkswagen

In late March, the head of the R division at Volkswagen, Jost Capito, was stating publicly that the long-rumoured 400-hp variant of the Golf R would never see the light of day. Those disappointed by that news will be cheered to hear that the idea of creating such a version is not dead at VW HQ.

A report by website Autocar website indicates that a 400-hp Golf R Plus could well go ahead, once the next-gen Golf launches. The simple reason is that Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess is a believer in the project. And if there’s one vote that can override that of the R division head, it’s the company’s big boss.

From within company walls, sources have confided that the Golf R Plus would become the company’s halo model, sitting above the Golf R in the lineup hierarchy. You’ll recall that in 2014, the automaker did present a concept car called the Golf R 400, and had even started testing it. But the diesel scandal erupted not long afterward, in September 2015, and the project was quietly shelved.

Volkswagen Golf R 400 concept
Photo: Volkswagen
Volkswagen Golf R 400 concept

Things have evolved since then, of course, and it appears that Volkswagen has even moved forward on the development of the R Plus. A sketch of the model is said to exist, again according to internal sources, and it reveals an aggressive design signature, oversized wheel arches and a wider body.

A 400-hp Golf R Plus would be a natural competitor to the Audi RS3 and to the Mercedes-AMg A45. As Jost Capito mentioned last month, the way the company sees it is that Golf R buyers are not typical VW shoppers. For starters, they have more money to spend, and they’re looking for something out of the ordinary.

The next-generation golf is expected next year; the R variant should follow soon afterward. We expect that it would be only then that we’ll see if the latest rumours regarding a beefier Golf R turn out to be well-founded or just more wishful thinking.