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.
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.
'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!