Volkswagen wants to make an even hotter Golf R before EV switch

Posted on June 6, 2024Comments Off on Volkswagen wants to make an even hotter Golf R before EV switch

The Volkswagen Golf may be going electric in its next generation, but before then company engineers are working on the hottest version yet of the petrol-powered R flagship.

Speaking to US publication Road and Track at the unveiling of the Golf GTI Clubsport, Volkswagen’s global spokesperson Martin Hube said a Clubsport-inspired version of the all-wheel drive Golf R is being developed – but it’s yet to be signed off for production.

“There’s another interesting car we are working on at the moment. They are thinking about and working on a Clubsport version of the Golf R,” Mr Hube said.

“We will have an AWD, more track-oriented version, and then the standard Golf R, too.

“On the one hand, it’s [the Golf R] a torquey, road-going sports car. On the other hand, because it’s a bit heavier, it’s not a track tool.

“This car [in development] will be a mule for the future. I really hope that we can convince them.”

According to Mr Hube, a Golf R Clubsport would be lighter, more powerful and use a revised suspension setup in the aim of slashing lap times at the track.

A similar ethos is applied to the Golf GTI Clubsports, which have traditionally benefited from a power increase, lightweight options and suspensions tuned for track use, specifically the Nürburgring in the case of the latest edition.

Volkswagen is yet to reveal its facelifted ‘Mk8.5’ Golf R, however the outgoing Mk8 model is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 235kW of power and 400Nm of torque (420Nm in the wagon).

The most hardcore versions of the Golf R to date are the 20 Years and 333 Limited Edition, both of which developed 245kW of power.

Just 50 examples of the Golf R 20 Years were sold here at $77,490 before on-road costs, $8500 more than the standard hatch at the time.

It’s unclear if the proposed R Clubsport would be a last hurrah for the petrol-powered hot hatch, or if other hot variants will come during the current generation’s run.

The next-generation Mk9 Volkswagen Golf will go electric-only, and is expected to launch overseas in 2028.

Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer has previously said the brand plans to carry on the Golf GTI and Golf R into the nameplate’s battery-powered future.

“Going forward, we’ve taught the world what a GTI is, and we’ve told the world what the R is, so it would be ludicrous to re-educate people (on performance VWs),” Mr Schäfer told UK publication Autocar in September 2023. 

“GTI with Golf was always legendary. We will carry on. We need substance to it, with performance. We’re working on a performance (electric) model to carry GTI forward.”

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