Each and every Volkswagen Golf to date has been flanked by a hot GTI version, with the current car pumping out as much as 286bhp in flagship Clubsport form. The Mk8 will be no different, and the GTI is likely to feature a new 2.0 TSI engine with as much as 325bhp.
The new hot Golf, which is due shortly after the standard car, in 2019, will get a significant power hike, with even the entry-level model producing in the region of 260bhp. There will be a more powerful Performance Pack car with 300bhp, as well as an evolution of the Clubsport version with 325bhp.
â€¢ Best hot hatchbacks to buy
Our exclusive images reveal how the GTI could look, although itâ€™s likely to be subject to subtle changes given the new details portrayed in our pictures. Yet expect all the usual sporty styling cues â€“ like the beefed-up bumpers and red detailing, along with the trademark tartan seats.
This being a GTI, all versions will be front-wheel drive, and with a choice of six-speed manual or DSG auto boxes. However, the DSG wonâ€™t be a rehash of the old six or seven-speed units, but the worldâ€™s first 10-speed twin-clutch set-up.
Itâ€™s a similar size and weight as the current seven-speed DSG, and designed to work with the Golfâ€™s MQB architecture, and is being engineered not only for snappy shifts and a sporty feel, but to cut fuel consumption significantly. Capable of handling up to 550Nm of torque, itâ€™s set to be used in the Mk8 Golf GTI, Golf GTD and Golf R; lesser models will make do with the more cost-effective seven-speeder.
VW has been dropping hints about the look of future sporty Golfs, and the common thread is more aggression, while retaining classic GTI cues. In 2013, the Golf Design Vision GTI Concept wowed the WÃ¶rthersee tuning show in Austria with its bigger wheels, sculpted body and sharp, exaggerated nose.
And we may not have to wait long before VW shows its cards. Rumours abound that it will present a new concept at Januaryâ€™s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This technology demonstrator, possibly with a full electric powertrain, could also give a big clue towards the styling of the Golf Mk8
So the various versions of the new GTI will look sharper, be faster and use far less fuel â€“ and thatâ€™s not entirely down to the more powerful engines. VW is expected to use innovative new steel-polymer sandwich tech for selected body panels, cutting weight for those components by as much as 30 per cent. By sticking thin sheets of steel either side of a polymer core, the weight of the Golfâ€™s bonnet, for example, can be reduced by 2kg or so. Carbon fibre is still much lighter and more rigid, of course, but costs much more.
â€¢ VW Golf GTE Sport concept
With the GTI family covering so much more of the hot hatch market than before, the big question is where this leaves the even hotter and traditionally four-wheel-drive Golf R. The word from Wolfsburg is that there are several options, all explored in recent concept cars.
The most obvious option, and current front runner, is to use a version of the highly strung 395bhp 2.0 TSI engine from 2014â€™s R400 concept, with four-wheel drive and a 10-speed DSG box. An R400 version (spotted below) of the current Golf is expected to go on sale in 2016, so the next Golf R could take things even further, extracting around 420bhp from the turbocharged four-cylinder.
Other alternatives include fitting the new twin-turbo 3.0-litre VR6 engine, showcased in 496bhp form in 2013â€™s Golf Design Vision GTI concept. It would be a popular move with US customers who still value cylinder count and cubic capacity, but could be seen as a regressive step by bosses in Germany.
â€¢ VW Golf R Touch concept revealed at CES 2015
The third and most radical idea is to use the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Golf GTE Sport concept. This combines a 295bhp 1.6 TSI engine derived from the Polo WRC rally car with two electric motors on the rear axle for a total of 395bhp and 670Nm of torque, and gave the concept 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and 141mpg economy.
Whatever VW chooses, one thingâ€™s clear: a hot hatch power war is in full swing, and with its trio of GTIs, producing a minimum of 260bhp, plus a ballistic Golf R in the pipeline, the brand has all the firepower it needs to see off the competition.
Last summerâ€™s diesel emissions scandal rocked the motor industry and shook the VW Group. Damage to the brandâ€™s reputation and loss of customer confidence have been hard to quantify in recent months, but the consequences are set to be huge â€“ and theyâ€™re likely to impact on the next-generation Golf, revealed in exclusive images.
Volkswagen has hatched a masterplan to save 1billion Euros per year, while making a clear commitment to electromobility and a new generation of â€˜cleanâ€™ diesel engines.
Various all-electric VW projects are in the pipeline, with a new Phaeton and Microbus concepts spearheading the brandâ€™s emission-free future. On top of that, the German giant will now take a closer look at other areas of the business that it thinks can return significant savings â€“ both financially and environmentally.
Top of that list is the next Golf. The current Mk7 car is available in several shapes and sizes, with power ranging from small turbo petrols to hot diesels and plug-in hybrids. Thereâ€™s even an all-electric e-Golf, capable of up to 118 miles on battery power alone.
Although the Mk7 will get a mild facelift this year, the new car â€“ due in 2018 â€“ will build on this. Itâ€™ll be more practical, more powerful and, most importantly, more fuel efficient. VW will stick with its versatile MQB platform for the eighth-generation Golf, and despite the fact these underpinnings will be more than eight years old when the next model hits the market, the scalable platform is expected to live on until at least 2025.
We understand the new Golf will be between 35kg and 70kg lighter than the current car, and like the new Tiguan, will be both lower and wider. Plus, there will be more space inside thanks to more efficient packaging, as well as innovative features like gesture control and the Passatâ€™s TFT dash.
In terms of styling, the new Mk8 model is likely to follow VWâ€™s pattern of evolution rather than revolution. As always, itâ€™ll be immediately recognisable as a Golf, with smart LED headlamps and a sharper, more sculpted grille. Weâ€™re expecting to see some deeper creases in the bumper and bodywork, as well as a reprofiled rear end. Also set to appear is a more upmarket interior â€“ with plenty of brushed metals, leathers and high-quality plastics.
Under the bonnet, VW will introduce a series of super-efficient three-cylinder 1.5-litre TDI diesels â€“ ranging from 74bhp to 120bhp. These are likely to feature in the new Golf as well as numerous future models, and emit less than 85g/km of CO2. The engines will also be modular, meaning each cylinder of 500cc will make it more cost efficient for VW to develop larger and more powerful units such as 3.0-litre V6 diesels â€“ for cars like the next Touareg SUV â€“ at a later date.
The Golf Mk8 will, of course, arrive on the market as a hatchback first, but an Estate spin-off, as well as hotter GTI, GTD and R versions will follow. Weâ€™ve not heard about any plans for a Cabriolet model, though, and one is unlikely to arrive before at least 2020.
Elsewhere at the VW Group, bosses have outlined their intentions for an Audi Q6 SUV in 2018, followed by the Porsche Mission E saloon before the end of the decade â€“ both of which will adopt all-electric drivetrains.
The Groupâ€™s new electric MEB architecture to be employed by both the Audi and Porsche will also underpin the upcoming all-electric VW Phaeton limousine, which is due by 2020, too.
Volkswagen has used the 2016 CES platform to reveal an evolution of its gesture control functionality which was first shown at last yearâ€™s CES in the form of its Golf R Touch concept.
This time around, however, the German automaker is showing a near production-ready 9.2-inch infotainment system, a first for compact cars.VW says this technology, which is showcased via an â€œe-Golf Touchâ€ concept, will be incorporated in future mass-market models. The configurable modular infotainment system (MIB) has a high-resolution screen and 10 different functions like Music or Phone.
Itâ€™s not often that non-luxury automakers cater to the needs of rear-seat passengers, but Volkswagen introduced a series of features that make road trips better for those in the back.
The first is an â€œelectronic voice amplificationâ€ function to allow for better communication with back-seat passengers. This sounds highly practical when you consider all the times youâ€™ve had to strain to hear the front-seat occupantsâ€™ conversation. It could also mean Volkswagen is admitting to road and wind noise in its vehicle cabins, but letâ€™s give them the benefit of the doubt. The second addition is wireless charging for smartphones in the back seat via the rear armrests. Finally, the e-Golf Touch is equipped with a USB Type-C port for high-speed USB data transfer while charging the phone much faster than standard speeds.
Rounding out the tech. announcements is VWâ€™s â€œPersonalization 2.0,â€ allowing drivers to configure setting to be saved to a user account in the cloud via Volkswagen Car-Net ID. Then, when a driver hops into another VW model, they can download their settings and use them like in their own car.
Worldwide, Volkswagen said 11 million vehicles â€” including almost half a million in the U.S. and an unknown number in Canada â€” have been equipped with a "defeat device" aimed at fooling emissions tests while secretly allowing the cars to belch out far more pollutants than advertised under real-world conditions.
Although the company still doesn't know exactly how many vehicles in Canada are affected, Environment Canada estimates there are about 100,000 Volkswagen diesel engines on the road in Canada, many of which may be included. VW has made a list of all the models and model-years that may be impacted, which includes a searchable VIN database for drivers to see if their cars are known to have the defeat device installed.
Canadian owners of affected 2.0L TDI diesel vehicles were informed by the company recently if they are eligible for a package of credits that includes:
$500 for use at Volkswagen dealerships.
A further $500 for use at their Volkswagen dealership or anywhere credit cards are accepted.
No-charge 24-hour roadside assistance for three years, with unlimited mileage.
Monday is the first day that Volkswagen owners are able to sign up for the program, which had been previously reported on with vague details. But as of Monday, owners are instructed to input their information at a website Volkswagen Canada has set up to handle the problem in Canada, and the company says signing up for the program does not forfeit the owner's right to take part in lawsuits or other forms of compensation.
The move is an olive branch to angry VW drivers with cars they paid a premium to own that are now mired in a dark cloud.
But almost three months after problems with VW engines were first uncovered, the company still has no actual fix for the engines themselves.
Environment Canada is working with U.S. regulators including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board on a potential fix for the engines, but so far neither the regulators nor the company itself have offered any sort of concrete plan or timeline for that.
"At the present time, there is no firm timeline as to when a fix will be in place," VW spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff told CBC News recently. "Our engineers continue to work diligently with regulators to develop an effective solution and, once in place, we will communicate directly with our customers."
Even if a fix comes soon, drivers face another problem down the line in that it is extremely unlikely that the company will come up with a remedy that doesn't ultimately negatively impact engine performance, either in terms of fuel economy or power â€” two factors Volkswagen owners paid a premium for.
And ultimately, while governments can to varying degrees mandate car companies to issue recalls, there's technically no easy legal way for the companies to force drivers to come in and have their cars equipped with new software or technology that would likely make the vehicle perform worse than the drivers were used to on some level.
High-performance estate cars are all the rage these days. Not so long ago, go-faster load-carriers were the preserve of premium brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. In recent years, though, mainstream makers have been getting in on the act and sending their workaday wagons to the gym for a muscular makeover.
The latest addition to the fray is the Golf R Estate, which takes the potent turbo and all-wheel-drive transmission of the hatch and wraps it in a more practical body. Boasting a heady 296bhp and a 605-litre boot, it promises to perfectly blend performance and practicality. However, this tempting combination doesnâ€™t come cheap, starting at Â£33,585. Plus, unlike the hatch version of the R, the Estate is available only with the brandâ€™s six-speed DSG twin-clutch gearbox.
Squaring up to the Golf is a closely related rapid rival: the SEAT Leon ST Cupra. Weâ€™re already big fans of the five-door, which scooped Hot Hatch honours in our 2015 New Car Awards, so an estate should be even more appealing. With the same MQB underpinnings as the Golf, a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo, uprated suspension and a trick diff, the Leon will represent a stern test for the VW. Even more so when you consider its eye-catching Â£29,205 price. So, which of our hard-hitting estate cars is going to carry off the winnerâ€™s trophy in this encounter?
These cars are as much about practicality as performance, and the Golf takes first blood with its larger 605-litre boot. It extends its advantage with the seats folded.
Yet the Leon hits back with its thoughtfully laid-out load bay that features remote release handles and an underfloor area for storing the load cover when itâ€™s not in use.
Trip computers and built-in lap timers show that both models are designed to hit the track.
However, the SEAT goes one stage further with its optional Sub8 pack, which adds bigger brakes, subtle aero tweaks, lighter alloy wheels and super-sticky Michelin tyres.
A six-speed DSG automatic is standard on the Golf R Estate, while the Leon gets a six-speed manual. Cupra buyers can add a twin-clutch set-up for Â£1,355 â€“ and like the unit on the VW, it brings a launch control system for consistently fast starts.
1st. Volkswagen Golf R Estate
Itâ€™s expensive to buy and trails the Leon on kit, but the Golf is one of the ultimate all-rounders. It has huge performance, engaging handling, great all-weather composure and is very practical. Whether youâ€™re commuting to work, on the school run, taking a family holiday, blasting down a slippery back road or attacking a track, the VW has it covered. Strong residuals offset the price premium, too.
2nd. SEAT Leon ST Cupra 280
The Leon misses out on victory by the narrowest margin. On paper, it really appeals. Itâ€™s cheaper to buy, better equipped, nearly as fast and just as practical. It also looks great and rivals the Golfâ€™s premium feel. Yet this test is as much about pace and driving fun as boot space and the bottom line, and the SEAT doesnâ€™t have the VWâ€™s dynamic polish and all-weather security.
Martin Winterkorn appeared in a video to insist he was â€œendless sorryâ€ for the events at the end of a day in which VW was forced to deny a report in Germany that he will leave as chief executive this Friday, to be replaced by Matthias MÃ¼ller, the chairman of its sister company Porsche.
He spoke after the German company revealed the potential financial liabilities for the first time. It is putting aside â‚¬6.5bn (Â£4.7bn) to deal with the potential costs of the crisis, prompting a further 20% fall in its share price.
Live UK calls for probe into VW scandal as Merkel seeks 'transparency' - live updates
German automaker admits 11 million cars affected by emissions scandal, and sets aside â‚¬6.5bn to cover the costs
About â‚¬25bn, or a third, has now been wiped off the value of Volkswagenâ€™s shares in the two days of trading since the scandal erupted. Shares in other car manufacturers have also fallen heavily, with Peugeot down 7%, BMW down 5% and Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, also down 5%. Johnson Matthey, which makes catalytic converters, has fallen nearly 7% in London.
The VW financial update was issued on Tuesday after its US chief said on Monday night that the company had â€œtotally screwed upâ€ over the emissions scandal. Michael Horn admitted at an event in New York that VW had been dishonest with regulators and the public.
The number of cars affected dwarfs the 482,000 VWs and Audis recalled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The figure is also higher than the number of cars VW sells in a year worldwide, reflecting the scale of the crisis.
While tthe VW boss was defiant, there was a separate intervention by Olaf Lies, a member of VWâ€™s supervisory board and also the economy minister for the state of Lower Saxony, which controls 20% of the company. He said there were likely to be management changes as a result of the scandal.
â€œI am sure that there will be personnel consequences in the end, there is no question about it,â€ he told Reuters.
Angela Merkel has also commented on the growing crisis. â€œGiven the difficult situation, this is about showing complete transparency, clearing up the entire case,â€ the German chancellor said in Finland. â€œThe transport minister is in close contact with the company, Volkswagen, and I hope that the facts will be put on the table as quickly as possible.â€
VW could face a fine of up to $18bn (Â£11.6bn), as well as criminal charges for its executives and legal action from customers and shareholders amid claims in the US that it used a device to falsify emissions data. The device recognises when the car is being tested and immediately cuts emissions to a level much lower than normal and which would be unsustainable under normal driving conditions.
In a statement, VW said: â€œDiscrepancies relate to vehicles with type EA 189 engines, involving some 11m vehicles worldwide. A noticeable deviation between bench test results and actual road use was established solely for this type of engine.
â€œVolkswagen is working intensely to eliminate these deviations through technical measures. The company is therefore in contact with the relevant authorities and the German federal motor transport authority.â€
The carmaker insisted in the statement that new diesel vehicles available in the European Union with EU 6 diesel engines â€œcomply with legal requirements and environmental standardsâ€.
It added: â€œThe software in question does not affect handling, consumption or emissions. This gives clarity to customers and dealers.â€
The German company said it was putting aside a provisional â‚¬6.5bn to â€œcover the necessary service measures and other efforts to win back the trust of our customersâ€.
It added: â€œVolkswagen does not tolerate any kind of violation of laws whatsoever. It is and remains the top priority of the board of management to win back lost trust and to avert damage to our customers. The group will inform the public on the further progress of the investigations constantly and transparently.â€
Analysts warned that the crisis could affect other carmakers, with shares down heavily across the sector.
Max Warburton at Bernstein warned it could spell the end for diesel cars. The analyst, who on Sunday called VW the â€œLance Armstrong of automakersâ€, said: â€œDiesel has been under growing pressure in recent years, as regulators recognise that it is still not as clean as gasoline, despite meeting official tests.
â€œThe move against VW is going to act as a catalyst to speed up the fall in diesel market share in Europe and halt it in the US. In fact, regulators will now be much more conservative about what they permit and much tougher real world tests may prove either too difficult â€“ or too expensive â€“ for diesel to meet.â€
In further developments, Britain and France called for a Europe-wide investigation into diesel cars to reassure the public.
Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said: â€œWe are closely monitoring the situation and have been pushing for action at a European level for more accurate tests that reflect driving on the road. Itâ€™s vital that the public has confidence in vehicle emissions tests and I am calling for the European commission to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency.â€
A spokesman for the commission said it was â€œprematureâ€ to comment on whether there would be a European investigation into VW.
South Korea said on Tuesday it would investigate emissions of the VW Jetta and Golf models plus Audi A3 cars produced in 2014 and 2015. If problems are found, South Koreaâ€™s environment ministry said its inquiry could be expanded to all German diesel imports, which have surged in popularity in recent years in a market long dominated by local producers such as Hyundai.
The US Department of Justice could also conduct a criminal investigation into Volkswagen.
The UK campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) warned that millions of cars could be recalled. T&Eâ€™s diesel expert, Jos Dings, said: â€œOur latest report demonstrated that almost 90% of diesel vehicles didnâ€™t meet emission limits when they drive on the road. We are talking millions of vehicles.â€
It's been a big news week for Volkswagen, big birthdays don't come along every day, and certainly none bigger than the 40th birthday of the original hot hatch, the Golf GTI.
We've known for a long time that the anniversary was to be marked with a special anniversary edition, which we've known also for a long time to be the Clubsport.
So, now the specifications are out, and the headline figures certainly meet all expectations!
265 PS power output
Peak power over 290 PS on overboost
0-62mph in 5.9 seconds (6.0s in the manual)
Improved aero package
Front wheel drive with the familiar e-diff
Deep bucket seats and an Alcantara steering wheel
It really looks the part, and in the featured Oryx White, it is I think the best looking Golf you can currently buy.
But whilst drooling over that steering wheel, and those seats, I'm also left disappointed. Volkswagen had the opportunity to make the Clubsport a limited run track special - the spy shots of the red car on the NÃ¼rburgring featured a roll cage, where has that gone?
I know it'd be rare for a manufacturer to go down this route, but deep down I was hoping for a rear seat delete option, weight savings, half cage, 3-door only, and 17" wheels with track focused tyres. I was hoping VW would do similar to what MINI did with the GP, and that's why I'm disappointed.
But VW are very clever, they didn't become the second-largest car manufacturer in the world by luck. MINI struggled to sell all of the GP2's they produced, and that was a limited run of 2000 cars.
The new Golf GTI Clubsport isn't a track focused car, it has mass market appeal. It's not on a limited production run either, so they'll be on the lease channels before long. It looks good, will sell like proverbial hot cakes and I'm sure it will drive superbly - speaking of which, I might be disappointed, but I'd still like a go in one.
So what does everyone else think? Is the Clubsport special enough to tempt you away from an R?
What goes through the mind of a 16 year old as they approach Eau Rouge at over 100mph for the first time? Damani Marcano, our resident 16 year old racing driver, finds out.
Driving the Legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps was an absolutely amazing experience. I donâ€™t know if I can even put into words how I felt just thinking about it. Driving it was something else! Located in Belgium, it is the home of the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix. And I got to drive the full GP circuit! Itâ€™s not the first F1 circuit Iâ€™ve driven, Silverstone was the first, but the fact that it was my first ever international track made this special.
The weather was the best I have ever experienced during a race weekend. The track had so much grip. Driving the car with that much grip gave me more confidence in the car than I have ever had. One of the reasons why driving Spa is so awesome is because you remember that your favourite F1 drivers of all time have been driving around the same track as you.
I feel very lucky to have made it to Spa at all because, for a while, it was looking like I wasnâ€™t going to make it. If you have read about the reliability issues from the start of the season, youâ€™ll know that I didnâ€™t complete several races. Because this is my first year in cars this meant I didnâ€™t have enough race experience to upgrade my racing license. To race at Spa I needed a National â€˜Aâ€™ MSA license. This meant I needed an extra race weekend in the VAG Trophy to get the license upgrade.
My racing budget didnâ€™t cover that. If I raced in the VAG Trophy thereâ€™d be no money to race at Spa. If I didnâ€™t race in the VAG Trophy then my license would mean I couldnâ€™t race at Spa.
Somehow I had to do it. Local newspapers heard about my situation and immediately published a story. I thought that there would be a company somewhere that would step in. I visited local companies with my brochure. Showed them all my local and national press and media coverage. I even contacted larger companies based in the area. There were several that wanted to help but felt they couldnâ€™t spare the cash. I was really down and confused at the end of this. I thought it was all over.
Then, my existing sponsors, The CleverBaggers came through with some extra funding, Team HARD gave us extra support so that it was nearly enough to get me on track and RiverGlide covered the difference. It was going to be tight but it was enough. I was going to Spa! I canâ€™t thank them all enough!
Driving through Eau Rouge for the first time was spectacular. This corner is possibly the most legendary corner of any track, anywhere in the world and to know that I've driven it, especially at such a young age, is just crazy. It is something that I thought I would experience much later in my racing career but to think that at only 16 Iâ€™ve actually done the same thing as many legends in motorsport is astonishing. I still canâ€™t get used to it!
It is such a fast complex of corners through Eau Rouge, itâ€™s hard to go into it without feeling like you should touch the brake just before you start the first left. Thanks to my experience on the simulator at Pro-Sim I felt like I knew the track inside out. The fact that they now have tuned a physics model of my car made me feel like I knew exactly what to expect. It meant that I was able to go into Eau Rouge for the first time fully committed, without touching the brake, just a slight lift of the throttle and the car was able to go into the corner almost at its full potential straight away.
Thatâ€™s when I realised how different it was doing this for real! I don't think anyone can understand how amazing it is until you drive it in real life. On a simulator or video game it seems like a simple corner, but it's so much more than that.
The car grips so much as the track begins to go up hill. This means that massive amounts of speed can be carried through the corner. The car compresses down and the rate the hill climbs means you are almost looking into the sky. On my first run through, the car broke traction. I corrected as it slid sideways a little bit too much onto the exit kerb. I lost a little speed there but none of the thrill. Lap after lap I played with carrying more and more speed. There is nothing like it!
Spa is definitely the most exciting track I have ever driven in anything and I can't imagine another corner giving me the same amazing feeling as Eau Rouge.
Want to drive a car like Damani's? Check out Damani's racing experience track day where you find out for yourself how it feels to take a current Volkswagen Racing Cup car around Brands Hatch!
You can follow Damaniâ€™s journey here on VWROC via his regular monthly column. Day to day, keep up to date via Twitter (@DKMRacing), Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. To help keep Damani on the grid, you can back him via his crowd funding campaign and via his Patreon page.
It appears to us that Volkswagen is gearing up for a rather large party... as many will know, 2016 will be the 40th anniversary of the Golf GTI, and with any big birthday, there's no harm in starting the party a little bit early.
The 40th birthday of the GTI is being marked with the very special GTI Clubsport, a 287bhp (on overboost) version of the Golf, with reduced weight, improved aero, a manual gearbox, chassis tweaks and a roll cage.
Dale Lomas who runs the website 'Bridge to Gantry' has spied the GTI Clubsport being tested at the 'ring in what looks to everyone like full production spec, even down to the side decals, and it looks fantastic.
You can view Dales photos on his website by clicking here.
Now, with a car in full production spec, it's surely going to be unveiled at a motor show in the not too distant future. Conveniently, Volkswagens home show Frankfurt crops up in September, just over two months away.
But could we be in for a double party?
Volkswagen has been very keen to get the R400 Concept seen by as many people as possible, with recent appearances in the UK at Goodwood and GTI International, and it has also been testing an R-based mule the NÃ¼rburgring. So, VW has two months to finalise the bumpers and get it on the stand at Frankfurt - certainly possible.
Rumour within the industry says that we will see both cars there, with Clubsport deliveries starting at the end of the year, and R400 deliveries starting in late Spring 2016.
So, a double launch party... one hell of a way to kick start the Golf GTIs 40th year!
Imagine having a job where you could let your inner child run free, creating cars that not only look to the future, but also showcase the very latest in technology. Well thatâ€™s the job of Christoph Bronder, Head of Technical Development at Volkswagen, and the man responsible for all of Volkswagens Concept Cars worldwide, including the much discussed R400.
The car itself looks impressiveâ€¦ it rides low on its widened track, the greeny yellow flashes against the deep metallic silver paint (â€˜borrowedâ€™ from Porsche) signifying something out of the ordinary, something that treads into uncharted territory for VW. The carbon fibre sill extensions, the rear diffuser and spoiler all give the Golf R400 a purposeful look. People say the standard R is very reserved in its styling; the same cannot be said for the R400 Concept.
But, this isnâ€™t just a concept car; Christoph tells us this is a fully functioning car thatâ€™s ready to go. Ready to hit the streetsâ€¦
â€¦and hit the streets it will. Yes folks, after a year of debate, we can confirm that the R400 is destined for production, and thatâ€™s exactly what it will be, an R400, not an R420. Christoph confirmed to us the upgraded engine will be good for 420PS, but that version will be reserved for an Audi project â€“ over to Revo then for that extra 20PS! There's currently a raft of engines currently being bench tested to ensure they're suitable for all driving conditions.
Many of the features found on the R400 concept will carry over to production, including that widened track. The carbon fibre, which is all real carbon on the R400 concept wonâ€™t, it would simply make the production car too expensive. That greeny yellow colour will feature too â€“ Christoph explained to us how difficult colour selection is within VW â€“ Red is for GTI, Blue is for R, Green is seen as an â€˜Ecoâ€™ colour, while Orange is associated with electrical components and hazards, so this new colour will designate all top performance models going forward.
So what else did we learn? Well, just like the regular R, the R400 will be available with 3-door and 5-door variants and manual and 7-Speed DSG gearbox options, and of course Haldex four wheel drive to cope with the 400PS power output (thatâ€™s 394bhp, or 294kW).
Christoph also mentioned an exhaust which can be manually controlled via a steering wheel button, enabling the driver to select a quieter note for cruising, and a racier rasp when you want it.
We were absolutely delighted at this point in our interview, the speculation was finally over, and we had some great exclusive interview. Christoph wasnâ€™t finished though. Heâ€™s a man who is clearly proud of his creation, and he wanted to show it off. Cue him handing us a rather inauspicious looking key with Velcro attachedâ€¦ yes, we got to fire up the R400.
This car is fitted with keyless entry, so a prod of the starter button sees the 400PS motor fire into life â€“ there is a bark from the exhaust which soon settles down to a deep baritone burble. Thereâ€™s a rasp to the exhaust note as it revs, and a crackle on lift off â€“ itâ€™s one of the best sounding exhausts on a 4-cylinder car Iâ€™ve ever heard.
But donâ€™t just take our word for it, have a listen to the video belowâ€¦ then head straight down to your VW dealer and beg them to take your deposit, youâ€™ll want one.
The R400 is coming, are you ready for it? Over to youâ€¦