Volkswagen Golf R 400

Volkswagen Golf R 400 – Beijing Motor Show concept

Volkswagen has revealed a 400hp Golf R 400 concept that’s derived from the 300hp Golf R and packs a 200hp per litre version of its 2.0-litre TSI engine.

It accelerates from 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds, onto a limited top speed of 175mph.

The engine uses learning from VW’s WRC racing motor, says the firm; it also produces 331lb ft of torque between 2,400-6,000rpm. Sensibly, it drives through a six-speed DSG paddleshift gearbox.

As it’s Golf R-derived, it has a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system, with a latest-generation Haldex-5 coupling that is proactive rather than reactive: it can be activated even before slip occurs. Both axles also have the XDS+ transverse differential lock system.

There’s a new ESC Sport setting too: when it detects the driver is, say, on a race course, it cuts in less frequently, but is still there to harness big offs. Holding the button down for three seconds disables it entirely.

Impressively, the Golf R 400 uses the same suspension as the regular Golf R, says VW; it’s already 20mm lower than standard and has a “large power reserve” that’s sufficient to handle 400hp. Extra kudos to the regular Golf R there, then.

Golf R 400: standout styling

It’s the expected radical styling of the Golf R 400 that’s set to be the real talking point though, despite that 400hp motor beneath the bonnet. Volkswagen Design has widened the body 20mm each side to swallow 19-inch wheels; this has seen a Rally Golf G60-inspried front wing developed too, complemented by flared rear panels.

The lower body has an aero-tuned wraparound carbon fibre splitter whose matt-finish fibres “are aligned in the driving direction” (neat) and the side skirts are also modified.

Volkswagen Golf R 400 02

At the front, whereas the Golf GTI gets red detailing, the Golf R gets chrome, the Golf GTD gets grey and the Golf GTE gets blue, the Golf R 400 has ‘Lemon Yellow’ pinstriping (also neat). The front bumper is all-new and has much more aero-tuned attention, including some sharp-edged carbon fibre elements.

Needless to say, it’s radical at the rear, with splitters, diffusers and twin central exhaust tailpipes that hark back to the cult Golf R32. Because it matters, they are 110mm in diameter, and spaced 200mm apart. There’s also a huge dual-level rear spoiler.

The exterior is complemented by an extreme interior with Alcantara and carbon leather shell seats, Lemon Yellow detailing and a huge array of carbon fibre detailing.

Why has Volkswagen launched this extreme Golf R 400? To, it says, reflect “the sporty potential of the model series”. Giving it super sports car performance and power, plus standout styling, certainly does that.

But does it point to a possible low volume production version? Extreme as it sounds, it may not beyond possibility. Volkswagen has a history of bringing specialist sporting Golfs to showrooms: it may seem remarkable, but we wouldn’t bet against this radical Golf R 400 being the latest…

Look forward to hearing – and seeing – more when the car is revealed at the Beijing Motor Show later this week.