Volkswagen Golf R 400

UPDATE: Since our initial story last week Volkswagen has released official pictures of the Golf R 400, including 'live' photos from the unveiling at the Beijing show and more detailed computer renderings of the exterior and interior.

DSG or manual? Even VW seems unsure
DSG or manual? Even VW seems unsure
What more do we know? Well, for a 400hp Golf it actually looks pretty restrained, flared (not box) arches apparently referencing the G60 Rallye Golfs of old, twin exhausts the V6 R32s and additional carbon flourishes and vents on the bumpers setting it apart from other hot Golfs. That and the new yellow trim elements.

Inside are some tidy looking seats and a slightly confusing gear lever. Confusing? Well all the VW material says the R 400 has a DSG gearbox but the one in the photos has a clear H-pattern manual design. We'd bet on the DSG being the reality, assuming the car makes production. Which we rather hope it does...

Still feeling the need for a stupidly powerful four-wheel drive car with daily practicality but not taken with the reborn Subaru WRX STI or Mercedes A45 AMG? Looks like VW of all people is kicking off a power war among the emergent 'mega hatch' crowd with news of a Golf R 400. There's a clue to the most significant number on the spec sheet in that name - yes, it really is a 400hp, four-wheel drive Golf for those whose pulse can't be sufficiently raised by the 300hp Golf R.

400hp in a Golf? They're saying it's just a concept...
400hp in a Golf? They're saying it's just a concept...
VW doesn't do mad very often so when someone does slip something into the water cooler at Wolfsburg the results can be rather shocking. OK, so this is officially a concept but it's more plausible than the 650hp W12-engined special of 2007. And the box-arched Golf Rallye referenced in the press release as inspiration was actually built and sold. And driven by our very own Riggers not so long ago.

You don't need to be a mathematical genius to figure out that 400hp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is both impressive and equates to a fairly mighty 200hp per litre. Torque is 332lb ft, up from 280lb ft in the R. And we thought AMG's 180hp per litre in the A45 was impressive... Suitably engorged it'll hit 62mph in a claimed 3.9 seconds, a whole second faster than the R, and go on to 175mph. Which is quite a lot for a Golf.

200hp per litre in a family hatch? Yikes.
200hp per litre in a family hatch? Yikes.
Like the Golf R (we've got it booked in and will report back on it shortly...) the R 400 runs Haldex-5 four-wheel drive and is, to all intents and purposes, an evolution of that car. Ah yes, the 'evo' word - is this the much promised but thus far unseen 'Golf Evo' talked about earlier in the year? Looks that way, VW choosing the Beijing show rather than the anticipated Geneva to unveil the car.

Though it runs the same suspension and tyres as the Golf R there are more dramatic visual flourishes to set it apart, including box arches flared by 20mm to accommodate different wheel offsets, twin centre-mounted pipes a la Golf R32, carbon (fake) outside and (real) inside and a new 'Lemon Yellow' trim line in the grille. This helps colour code the various hot Golfs, red being GTI, blue for GTD and chrome for the R.

For now VW is saying the R 400 is just a show car, that statement delivered with a wink suggesting there might be something more production ready in the pipeline. Fingers crossed and the ball's in your court AMG...

VW anorak? Geek out on the full Golf R 400 press release in its unedited glory here!

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Comments (528) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Kenny Powers 17 Apr 2014

    Could be a very special car. I hope they do produce a few production units. Limited run of course.

    Cue half a dozen pages of people moaning that it's boring and the Haldex will understeer you into a hedge. Oh and of course the standard "£??k for a Golf?!"

  • goron59 17 Apr 2014

    Everyone knows what a Golf looks like, so why the silly pictures that make it look like an elephant sat on it?

    Anyways, kudos for the 200bhp/litre. Should be good for top trumps and might spur on some more madness from the others.

  • rtz62 17 Apr 2014

    I'm amazed that in this day and age that manufacturers still churn out ridiculous drawings of proposed cars, that look like a 16 year old with an automotive hard-on drew them.
    I find that (on my iPad) if I turn the screen on a horizontal axis about 45+ degrees from my viewing point (in other words, hold the iPad in front of me, then push the left hand edge away from me until it is approx 45 degrees back) the car looks, well, more like a normal Golf.

  • soxboy 17 Apr 2014

    Sorry to be pedantic but those arches in the images aren't box arches.

    Box arches are as featured on E30 M3, Quattro, Integrale and Nova 3dr.

  • loose cannon 17 Apr 2014

    Yours for £49,999

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