Not content with letting more premium hot hatches take the spotlight, the progenitor of the species, the Volkswagen Golf, will once again up the ante with an even more powerful version of the all-wheel driven Golf R to rival the likes of Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and cousin from Ingolstadt, Audi Sport.
Due to emerge after the Wolfsburg automaker unveils the Mk8 generation Golf, a new performance flagship called the Golf R Plus is earmarked for an outing with a familiar set of ingredients but decidedly more spice. To properly pursue the A45, RS3, and incoming M135i xDrive, the VW will also boast a heavily revised engine.
Power is increased to “close to 400hp” or 300kW according to Autocar, and will borrow plenty of styling and mechanical cues from the Golf R400 concept first shown in 2014 as well as the motorsport-focused Golf TCR. Should it prove true, there can be no contention now that Volkswagen has entered the mega-hatch game.
The car has been put through internal development alongside other variants of the Mk8 Golf, but has not been green lit for series production yet despite the apparent approval of CEO Herbert Diess. Should it get the final nod, expect it to hit showrooms some time in 2020, starting with Europe.
Sources inside Volkswagen tell the British publication that the car will be the “most extreme and powerful Golf yet” - obviously. However, the car will also rely on lower weight as well as engine and transmission calibration to gain an edge over its core rivals.
We already know the upcoming Mercedes-AMG A45 could boast figures over 300kW, though this doesn’t seem to faze the Volkswagen camp too much as they believe their car could be the more agile and rewarding to drive. In a straight dash, though, the Golf R Plus is expected to put some supercars to shame, reaching 100km/h from launch in under 4 seconds and a top speed of 280km/h. Crikey.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Golf R Plus will eschew the understated looks of the GTI and Golf R for a markedly more bold and aggressive exterior treatment, possibly with a widened track and extensive aero package. Though it will keep the more practical five-door bodystyle as all other Golfs of its generation.
The 4Motion AWD system will likely utilise the same Haldex centre differential as the Golf R, albeit beefed up to survive the added power and possible abuse. Under the bonnet will live a revised version of the long-serving EA888 2.0-litre TSI four-cylinder turbo-petrol mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
In the past, Volkswagen have experimented with more extreme permutations of the Golf formula, occasionally rolling out a prototype or concept with its 2.0-litre TSI pushing well over 300kW. This will be the first time such performance will be offered at a production level, though, and with a warranty.