Currently reading: Volkswagen Golf R400 - first spy pictures
Super-hot hatchback with 395bhp will come to market - no launch date set, but prototypes have been spotted at the Nürburgring

The production version of the Volkswagen Golf R400 concept has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring for the first time.

This test car features a widened front and rear track, as well as large wheels reminiscent of the original Golf R400 concept car. The photographing of this early prototype comes only weeks after VW technical chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser confirmed the model was entering development.

Interestingly, our spy photographers report hearing the what sounded like a five-cylinder engine on this test mule. While the car's powertrain hasn't been confirmed, it's expected to run the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the Golf R, which in the concept produced 395bhp and 332lb ft. 

However, it's worth remembering that one of the R400's chief rivals, the Audi RS3, features a 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine producing 362bhp.

The R400 is all-wheel drive and uses a six-speed manual gearbox. It can hit 62mph from rest in just 3.9sec and reach a top speed of 174mph. 

Neusser gave no indication of a launch date for the most potent Golf model yet. 

One of the main challenges in bringing the R400 to production is understood to come from finding a gearbox suitable to handle the R400’s 332lb ft torque output. VW also wants an automatic option to give the model greater global appeal. The Golf R’s six-speed DSG ’box is only rated for torque loads of up to 280lb ft. 

The Golf R400 concept car was originally shown to display the firm's engineering prowess, as well as the range of customisation options open to its customers. If given the green light for production, the new model would do battle with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and the BMW M235i.

Neusser also confirmed that, despite rumours, the VW Beetle would survive for a third generation. It will be based on the new MQB platform and is likely to be built alongside the Golf and new Tiguan in Mexico.

Despite plans to drop the low-selling three-door layout for the next Polo, Neusser confirmed that the Golf-size MQB-A platform would retain a three-door layout.

When asked if the current Scirocco would be replaced, Neusser said cars such as the small coupé were “emotional cars” and that there had to be “an evolutionary step for these type of cars” in the next generation, which suggests 
a much more stylistically radical replacement.

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bowsersheepdog 21 May 2015

Separate category

The Golf has been the standard setting hatchback for 40 years and the terms Golf GTi and hot hatch have been synonymous. But the way things have been going over the last few years we need to differentiate between classes of hot hatch. Just as sports cars spawned the new category of supercars, it's time for a new category of superhatches, so that hot hatches can again refer to the kind of sporty versions of a small to medium family car that a majority of people can consider owning, whether new or used. Even when these superhatches age they will be no more affordable to most than Ferraris, Lamborghinis or Zondas. You can see cars such as Mercedes that cost £60,000 or more new advertised at a couple of thousand quid or less, but most buyers in that sector wouldn't be able to put on a set of decent new tyres, never mind pay for a major fault to be fixed. More and more cars are going to fall into this bracket in the future. Expenses are getting way, way out of hand and we will end up with a huge amount of costly scrap metal because those who would buy them when they are old couldn't afford to run them. Run of the mill family saloons on 20 inch wheels is another symptom of this problem. Tyres and parts are not going to get any cheaper. Would-be final owners will not be able to afford them. It is unsustainable. I love cars. I think the Golf R400 is great. I think Zondas are fantastic. But Zondas aren't a problem, they don't reach that end of the market. Mercedes S class do, so superhatches definitely will. Too many of today's mass manufacturer cars will be redundant before they reach the end of their useful life. Somebody, somewhere, needs to start thinking about that.
Peter Cavellini 21 May 2015

Ho hum........

If Porsche were to do a Golf sized car,what would it use as a mule?hmmm?
Peter Cavellini 30 April 2015

Ho hum........

So much negative vibes here,BMW,Ford,just to name two, are the target for VW,even Mercedes are at it too,these are the new relatively priced super cars,think back 20 yrs,this kind of performance was unheard of on mainstream cars,Ferrari's,Porsche's,Lamborghini's was where that kind of speeds were then,now,we are getting the chance at a not over the top price.