Four-wheel-drive mega-hatch has the backing of VW boss as Mercedes-AMG A45 rival
5 April 2019

Volkswagen’s R performance division has reignited a development programme on a “close to 400bhp” Golf R Plus model as a range-topping rival to the Mercedes-AMG A45 and Audi RS3

The four-wheel-drive machine would sit above the planned Golf R version in the line-up of the eighth-generation model. Under its skin, it would rely on hardware and technology from the seventh-generation Golf R400 concept shown in 2014 and the Golf TCR race car developed by Volkswagen Motorsport. 

The secret model is being developed alongside the standard version of the new Golf R at VW’s R&D headquarters in Braunschweig, Germany. 

VW insiders have claimed it will be the “most extreme and powerful Golf yet”. As an indicator of its potential performance, they pointed to the supercar-like acceleration and top speed of the R400, which was claimed to have a 0-62mph time of just 3.9sec and a 174mph top speed. 

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A source added: “We’re looking at introducing a new ‘halo’ performance model that would offer a level of performance beyond that of the next Golf R.” 

The new Golf R Plus has not yet been approved for production, but Autocar has been told that it has the support of VW boss Herbert Diess. If it gets the go-ahead, it is likely to join the VW line-up after the new Golf R goes on sale in 2020, at a price similar to that of the £45,250 RS3. 

Highlighting the advanced state of the Golf R Plus development programme, VW officials confirmed that a styling proposal for the variant has already been completed. It features a considerably more aggressive appearance than the standard version of the next Golf R, with broader front wings that, insiders say, have been adopted in combination with a widened front track. 

The next-generation Golf will be produced as a five-door only, so both the Golf R and R Plus will be offered in that bodystyle alone. 

At the heart of the secret new range-topping Golf is a highly tuned version of the Volkswagen Group’s EA888 petrol engine. In the new Golf R, the Audi-developed turbocharged 2.0-litre unit is planned to deliver around 320bhp. But with a range of power-enhancing measures, the engine could ultimately provide the Golf R Plus with between 380bhp and 400bhp. 

Originally a project of Volkswagen’s former head of petrol engine development, Friedrich Eichler, the powered-up four-cylinder was first showcased in the R400 concept with 395bhp and 332lb ft at the 2014 Beijing motor show. That model was closely considered for production. 

An even more powerful version of the EA888 with added turbocharger boost pressure and other changes was featured in the Audi Quattro Sport concept, which made its debut at the Geneva motor show in 2014. In that car, it offered 414bhp and 332lb ft of torque. 

Both projects were placed on hold due to the Dieselgate emission scandal until VW’s head of development, Frank Welsch, decided to revisit the ideas behind the R400 in 2018. 

New developments brought to the engine of the Golf R Plus include a particulate filter. Like the next Golf GTI, though, it is thought to eschew mild-hybrid electric motor boosting. 

As with the standard version of the new Golf R, drive is set to be channelled through a standard-fit seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a sixth-generation version of VW’s 4Motion four-wheel-drive system. That set-up will now feature fully variable control that constantly alters the amount of drive being sent to the front and rear axles. 

The new four-wheel-drive system is likely to operate in combination with VW’s EDS and XDS+ electronic differential locks and a multi-stage ESP stability control system incorporating a drift mode similar to that set to appear on the new A45. 

News of the new Golf R Plus comes as VW is preparing to extend the number of R models it offers, starting with the T-Roc R, which made its public debut at the recent Geneva motor show

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Comments
18

5 April 2019

Oh dear! What a bonkers little motor. Wish I were 17 again when that motor hits the 1-year depreciation mark... a young petrolheads' wet dream come true times 4

5 April 2019

Love Golf's, learn't to drive in a 70's mark 1 diesel (1.6ltr zero hp from memory) owned GTI mark I, II, II 16V, Mark 7 'R' so a Golf fanboy. But how many times has VW showcased high output GTI/R in the last 5yrs only for it to amount to nothing? Is this more of the same?

5 April 2019

Local drug dealers are ecstatic

5 April 2019

ZZZZZ.  Wake me when the Polo has 600bhp. 

5 April 2019
No estate!

5 April 2019

 Gti and the like to kill off supercars?, we’ll, look at the BHP being squeezed out of 2litre four cylinder engines 300, 400, 500bhp most will seat four, have four doors, be a Family Car when needed and return decent mpg too!, and for most they’ll handle well also all for under £50K, ok, how a car looks is important and in the end it’s your choice, but with the advent of small capacity big BHP not to mention EV powered cars the days of V8’s V10, V12’s are numbered, they’ll become classics,anyway I’ll say that this Gti in a dark colour will look great.

5 April 2019

Anyone who wants a penis extension needs help, obviously.

So I support this measure that should be of some assistance to those who want one but at the same time want to look as though they don't. 

 

5 April 2019
Pierre wrote:

Anyone who wants a penis extension needs help, obviously.

So I support this measure that should be of some assistance to those who want one but at the same time want to look as though they don't. 

Which kind of defeats the purpose. Golf R drivers tend to be very sensible and void of this mindset for the most part. It's such an understated car that it only tends to be spotted by motoring enthusiasts. It doesn't impress anyone else... it's just looks like any other Golf to most. A GTI has more appeal in the other context. The vast majority of those looking for a manhood extension car are going to be looking elsewhere, as they will be largely disappointed with a Golf, even this newly rumoured 400bhp model... in respect to the external reaction to it anyway. That is unless they slap on crazy alloys and get Ken Block to design the body kit. I suspect it will be another wolf in sheep's clothing though.

5 April 2019

With compulsory speed limiters to be introduced in the not-too-distant future, just wondering what role mega-hot-hatches like this one will have? Maybe this is a last swan song before naive politicians kill the joy of cars and motoring forever.

5 April 2019

Whilst 400bhp is definitely possible, and I hope they do make it, I can't help thinking that if it's labelled and a "Golf R Plus" then it'll probably be more like 350bhp.

Hope I'm wrong.

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