When the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf R launched, it did so costing less than thirty grand. Like the Ford Focus RS and BMW M135i, it arrived with a tantalising price tag – just £29,900 – to pique everyone’s interest. And my, didn’t it work with spectacular effect: the attractive lease deals followed, and now you’d be forgiven for thinking half of all Golfs sold have circa-300bhp and an R badge.
Six years on, the Mk8 Golf R has launched. And it costs… £39,270. Which illustrates a) such a thing called ‘inflation’ exists and b) VW’s adjusted its halo Golf to reflect that everyone bought them as specced-up, DSG-shifted five-doors, not entry-level manual three-doors.
Indeed, it now only comes as a DSG-equipped five-door. And it’s a little more powerful than before – up 20bhp, at 316bhp – while still utilising a winter-friendly (or drag race-friendly) four-wheel-drive system, now hooked up to a clever new differential and torque vectoring system to make its performance even better pub fodder. Its 0-62mph time is 4.7secs, and its top speed as high as 168mph.
You only get the latter by spending an additional £2,000 on the R-Performance Package. Making it – yes – a £41k Golf. Albeit one with a ‘what could go wrong?’ Drift Mode, that higher top speed and a Special option added to the drive select. It unlocks the perfect settings for tackling the Nordschleife, should you want to replicate Volkwagen’s own sub-8 ‘Ring lap endeavours without immediate YouTube infamy. You also get inch-larger 19in alloys and a bigger spoiler.
Prefer your Golf with just front-wheel drive? Half the TG office does, and so several of us would be more tempted by the new Mk8 Golf GTI Clubsport, below. Cheaper than the R, at £37,215, it possesses barely less performance – a 296bhp peak yielding 0-62mph in 5.6secs – and it gets that ‘Ring-bashing Special mode as standard.
Which Golf takes your fancy, Internet? Or would you save another few grand and go for the Toyota GR Yaris?
After many years speculation about what the next full-fat R model was going to be, it’s here and it’s a….drum roll…..it’s an SUV?!
For years the chat has reigned supreme on this topic at VWROC.com. First it was all about the WRC winning Polo, and whether that would homologate into a proper VW R. No is the short answer. In subsequent interviews VW clarified that the ethos of the R brand is speed AND 4 wheel drive. The Polo just doesn’t have the capability (currently) to take onboard the Haldex system.
Then there was the Golf R400, or R420 depending on which tea leaf brand you were attempting to read the future with. That of course was hit by the VW Dieselgate scandal and pulled. Although again VW’s Jost Capitio recently elaborated that they just didn’t think they had the market for the R400, and as a result of their extensive research, of which this forum took a lead role (shame on those that responded), customers only wanted about 300BHP in the sub €50,000 (£42,000) bracket. He reckoned that by busting those figures, not only would the R400 be too costly to own and run, but that it would have meant losing half of their sales volume.
So, to the Geneva Motor show. We knew that the T-Roc R was a possibility. We’d seen the sketches and even seen images of it testing at the Nurburgring, but we’d also seen R400 mules, and they came to nothing. So I have to say we were all a little surprised and delighted when it was actually launched this week at the motor show.
I was sceptical at first about the whole concept, but after reading all the reviews and watching all the videos, my mind has been changed. I like this SUV. Apparently, according to Jost Capito, it drives better than the Golf R. They really have worked their magic on the chassis, handling and drive train and although it cannot overcome the sheer physics of its stance, it does perform really well. Only nine seconds slower than the Golf R hatch around the ring is not bad.
I feel that this plucky little sports SUV has the chutzpah to take on and beat BMW and Audi at their equivalent attempts. This could well be the class leader, just like your very own Golf R’s when stuck up against the Audi S3. Time will tell.
Order books are likely to open soon, and it could be arriving on our shores in the late autumn.
I won’t go into all the detail here, we’ve created a section full of news, videos and reviews by other more professional journalists, so please enjoy and carry on the debate here.
We’ve also added an Official Order Thread…I wonder which VWROC member will be the first to add their details….
The next Golf has been teased in the first official image ahead of the car's expected debut in the middle of next year.
A sketch of the new car, released by VW, shows an outline of the side profile of VW's Ford Focus rival. The shape appear broadly similar to today's car, but a new front grille and light design - previewed by the latest Touareg SUV - is hinted at.
The Mk8 Golf, which will go into production in the autumn, will have levels of fuel-saving technology, connectivity, autonomous driving capability and refinement which is intended to render the mainstream competition second best. The Golf’s exterior styling, previously hinted at by a sketch shown at a suppliers’ meeting at the start of the year, will be an evolutionary design that again emphasises a wide, flowing C-pillar. There is expected to be a little more sharp-edged definition to the bodywork, following the template of the latest Polo. The GTI version will feature large corner air vents in its lower bumper, as previewed by the GTI TCR concept earlier this year.
VW will use the Mk8 Golf to introduce a powerful 48 mild-hybrid powertrain, most likely on the R and GTI models – which will offer a previously unseen brand of instant performance – and a new range of micro-hybrids. There will also be versions powered by compressed natural gas, but there won’t be a pure-electric Golf because VW will begin introducing its new ID range of electric cars shortly after the Mk8 is launched.
The model’s range will be simplified, with the three door and estate body styles the most likely candidates for the axe. With consumers increasingly turning to SUVs and crossovers, and with makers of large mainstream cars under significant cost and profit pressures, insiders say the Golf Mk8 will attempt to lure buyers who are downsizing from larger cars and premium models such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, offering more cabin and luggage space than is normal in this segment, outstanding refinement and exceptional fuel economy.
The new Golf will have a noticeably wider track and even more room in the already spacious cabin, as well as a marginally longer wheelbase and a bigger boot than its hatchback rivals.
The car is also expected to have an interior that’s almost completely devoid of conventional switches, at least on the higher-end models. VW design boss Klaus Bischoff has been quoted as saying that the Mk8’s interior is a “total” digital environment, with the steering wheel the only conventional component. Touchscreens will replace the traditional instrument binnacle and the climate controls. Even the headlight switch could be replaced by a touchpad.
The basis for the next Golf is an updated version of the versatile MQB platform used by today’s model. VW insiders suggest it will use a greater percentage of lightweight metal than the existing structure for a 50kg reduction in weight.
Planned modifications to the construction process are also said to provide more streamlined production and reduced build times as part of a strategy aimed at improving the economy of scale and profitability of VW’s best-selling model.
Although there is still some time to go before the new Golf’s introduction, VW says it has already locked in the car’s design, which has been developed under the guidance of the company’s latest design boss, Michael Mauer, who was responsible for the styling of the current Porsche line-up.
Those privy to the latest clay model mock-ups say the new Golf advances the classic hatchback look of its predecessors, with familiar proportions, reinterpreted details and simple surfacing to make it instantly recognisable as a Golf.
Key styling features described to Autocar include a thin horizontal grille bookmarked by smaller angular headlights than those in use today, with a distinctive LED daytime running light graphic. The new car is also said to have more pronounced wheel arches and a heavily defined side swage line, in combination with typically wide C-pillars and a relatively upright tailgate.
The new Golf Mk8 will get a range of 12V mild-hybrid engines for the entry-level and mid-range variants. The 1.5-litre TSI ACT petrol unit will be carried over from today’s Golf Mk7 but this will be joined by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor and an all-new 1.5-litre diesel, which is also likely to be sold as a 12V mild hybrid. Autocar understands that the assistance of the mild-hybrid system’s starter/ generator lessens the load on the engine and reduces the spikes of NOx emissions from the diesel’s exhaust.
One of the more intriguing rumours is that the 1.0-litre petrol engines might not be turbocharged at all, but could instead rely solely on direct assistance from a belt-driven starter/generator motor (SGM). The thinking is that the SGM will provide enough extra power and torque for the base engines, allowing the turbocharger, intercooler and associated piping and control systems to be dropped.
The Golf Mk8’s diesel line-up will include the new 2.0 TDI (codenamed EA288 Evo) engine. VW says the base version of this unit has been significantly re-engineered to reduce exhaust pollution. There is a more efficient and responsive turbocharger and the engine is lighter, loses less heat and has reduced internal friction.
More important, the engine’s particulate filter and catalyst have been resized for improved performance, particularly over time. VW claimed the engine offers an average of 9% more torque and power together with an average 10g/km decrease in CO2 emissions. The firm said the new diesel unit will come in versions ranging from 135bhp to 201bhp and will be seen in Audi modelsbefore being installed in the Golf Mk8 next year.
VW has already released details of the Golf’s 1.5-litre TGI Evo natural gas engine, production of which starts this year. Based on the 1.5-litre TSI engine, the TGI unit uses the same Miller cycle valve timing and a variable geometry turbocharger. It develops 129bhp and 148lb ft from 1400rpm when installed in the Golf Mk7. VW claims that this engine emits about 93g/km of CO2 on the NEDC cycle when it is hooked up to the standard- issue dual-clutch gearbox. Natural gas engines are also lower in NOx and particulate emissions than diesel and cars can be refilled from the gas mains network via small wall-mounted compressors. However, the lack of a natural gas infrastructure in the UK means this variant is unlikely to reach these shores.
The new or upgraded powertrains will be offered in combination with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, depending on their configuration. Alongside front-wheel drive, VW also plans to offer optional four-wheel drive (which it calls 4Motion) in selected models, like it has done in the previous four generations of its perennial best seller.
Two kinds of mild hybrid
The big surprise for the Golf Mk8 drivetrains is that VW says it will be investing in both 12V and 48V mild-hybrid systems after the company re-engineered the Golf family MQB electrical architecture (one of the more expensive component systems in a car) to accommodate a 48V system. Until now, 48V mild hybrids have only been used in premium VW Group cars such as the Bentley Bentayga and Audi SQ7.
Frank Welsch, VW’s technical development boss, has already revealed the firm’s new ‘affordable’ 48V system, which uses a belt-integrated starter/ generator/alternator to assist the engine by providing extra power and torque directly to the engine’s crankshaft.
The key to adopting 48V in a mass-market car was VW and its suppliers developing a less expensive and more compact set-up, which uses a small DC-to-DC converter and small lithium ion battery.
Welsch said the 48V set-up allows much greater amounts of energy to be recuperated than with 12V systems, which means significantly improved fuel economy. These new mild-hybrid engines can also start and stop extremely quickly, which will allow the Golf Mk8 to switch in and out of coasting mode when driving, making further fuel savings.
GTI set to go hybrid, too
The next-generation Golf GTI is also set to adopt a mild hybrid powertrain. The adoption of the 48V electrical system and integrated starter motor on the new hot hatchback are set to make the upcoming model the most powerful series-production Golf GTI yet.
Although the new Golf GTI is still almost two years away from introduction, sources close to VW research and development boss Frank Welsch have revealed that the initial performance targets point to a power output similar to the 261bhp of the limited-edition Golf GTI Clubsport.
Scheduled to go on sale in the UK in 2020, the Mk8 Golf GTI will retain an internal combustion engine: VW’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit. However, the introduction of the 48V electric system will allow the four-cylinder engine to receive comprehensive modifications. It’s likely that the exhaust gas turbocharger of today’s model will make way for an electrically operated compressor that offers improved low-end response and a broader plateau of torque for added flexibility.
Additionally, the integrated starter motor will allow VW to provide the front-wheel-drive Golf GTI with a so-called boost function, in which an electric motor mounted in the front section of its standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox supplements the combustion engine in Performance mode.
Connected tech takes precedence
VW sources have already promised that the next Golf will be ‘always connected’. Using the same eSIM card that has already appeared in the new Touareg, the Golf Mk8 will be permanently connected to the internet. This will allow the car to tap into 3D satellite mapping, hybrid radio (where the audio system finds the strongest signal for a station, whether analogue or digital) and the option of live information such as the latest pricing at nearby fuel stations.
The permanent connectivity opens the way for these future models to ‘read’ the topography of the road from 3D mapping, for example, and switch to coasting when heading downhill, or approaching a junction.
Autonomous driving will be a key feature of VW's best-seller in its eighth generation, as the brand will shoehorn even more advanced autonomous technology into the new model, as well as ensuring that it is the most connected car in the company's history, ahead of the all-electric ID hatchback that's also due in late 2019.
Head of VW's compact series, Karlheinz Hell, revealed: "The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions. It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety."
The current Golf benefits from VW's semi-autonomous Traffic Jam Assist system, which controls the steering, acceleration and braking of the car under 37mph, so it's certain that the Mk8 model will take a leap in advancement over this. Elsewhere, the Audi A8 is the first car in the wider VW Group to achieve Level 3 autonomy where permitted.
Golf to set VW design agenda
While the new Golf will be an evolutionary take on the outgoing car, it will feature new design elements that design chief Klaus Bischoff described being “more fluid, more sporty with a very unique face”.
It’s part of a new VW strategy to differentiate its standard model range from the new ID family of electric cars, said Bischoff: “[ID is] a new world of proportions and totally new bodystyles which are more emotional. As we go through the ceiling design- wise on ID cars, we need to echo that with ICE cars, so these will have more sporty proportions [and] a more progressive, clean design.”
Bischoff said future cars will remain faithful to VW’s traditional design cues: “We are looking to our origins so no ‘me too’ products. They will all remain as very individual VWs.
“If you look at front- of-car designs, nearly everybody is copying Audi. VW will go down its own road to stay true to the brand, and not look over the fence to others.”
Volkswagen reaps MQB’s rewards
Volkswagen’s MQB architecture underpins its bestselling model, the Golf, of which 968,284 were sold in 2017.
The modular toolkit is used for most of the firm’s most successful models. In total, five MQB models currently account for 3.8 million global sales.
The firm’s second-bestseller last year was the Jetta/Sagitar (the latter is a Chinese-market compact saloon), with 883,346 units sold. The seventh-generation Jetta, which went on sale this year, is now based on MQB, as are the firm’s two next bestsellers: the Tiguan SUV (769,870 sold), in both short- and long-wheelbase forms, and the Polo.
The Lavida, a Jetta-sized MQB saloon sold only in China, is the firm’s sixth-bestselling model, with 507,000 made in 2017. That leaves the Passat/Magotan family, which is sold in Europe, the US and China. Current European versions of this model are built on MQB, with the US and Chinese versions switching to the architecture in 2019, adding another 660,000 or so MQB cars to the sales total.
Those figures are simply for Volkswagen itself: the MQB toolkit is also used widely across the group’s other brands.
In an interview with AutoExpress, VW’s Sales and Marketing Boss, Jurgen Stackmann, said, “The R brand is going extreme. The role of R is that it can go beyond the rational; nobody needs a compact car with 400bhp, but is there a place [for it?]. Certainly, and that’s the turf of R.”
Those are pretty bold words, and the craziest part is that the next-gen Golf R is expected to use the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-banger under the hood now. It may be massaged to deliver a little more power, but the engine is only capable of handling so much reliably. A such, the Golf R will probably benefit from the 48-Volt mild hybrid system that VW recently promised to roll out across the whole line. This will, however, mean that the Golf R might not deliver that kind of power all of the time.
See, that mild-hybrid system has a small battery system and only delivers a power boost for a short period of time. Unless VW is willing to (or finds a way to) tune the current engine to 400 ponies, engineer a new four-banger that’s more powerful than any other, or come up with a way to deliver a constant power boost, the 400-horsepower specification will be a part-time thing.
Stackmann also said that it will be more expressive, which probably means it’ll take on its most aggressive look yet. Of course, the trade-off is probably going to be an increase in price as expressed by this quote:
“With a little more expressive design, R can go beyond the rational side of things. It [the R brand] can find its place in a different league of pure performance, and there’s a space where customers are willing to pay a significant amount of money.”
One part of me is extremely excited to hear this. I’m a big fan of the Golf R, and it’s always sucked that it delivered subpar performance compared to the competition. But, I’m concerned about that mild-hybrid system and just how long the next Golf R will be able to deliver that extra boost in performance. After all, that small battery and temporary boost will be good for quick acceleration here and there but will it be able to repeat performance time after time or will the Golf R fail to deliver a good portion of the time?
I highly doubt that Volkswagen is capable of tuning the 2.0-liter in the current model to deliver that much power. It may be able to deliver 340 horsepower or so, but anything beyond that would push the limits of its engineering. The other big problem here is that VW’s sales and marketing boss is about to make the same mistake they did with the Touareg and step outside of their place in the world: “there’s a space where customers are willing to pay a significant amount of money.”
This should be obvious, but that’s exactly why the Touareg failed. VW tried to step out of the affordable car market where it belongs and into the luxury segment. It didn’t work out so well, and that’s why the Touareg isn’t sold in the U.S. anymore. The Golf R is already priced at about $40,000, which means VW is going to probably going to try to pass it off as a $50,000 hatchback. VW has always had a problem with thinking it’s more upscale than it is, and now the Golf R is about to get put through the ringer too.
It’s certainly interesting to see how this is going to turn out.
The all-new, eighth generation Golf has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring for the first time. Hidden underneath a pushed and pulled current-gen Golf body, Volkswagen is promising the Mk8 will be the biggest technical leap in a single generation in the Golf’s 44-year history. On top of the usual emphasis on fuel saving, the new tech will also benefit the next GTI and R models as they turn to electrification to push the boundaries of hot hatch performance.
The core of this new performance will be the adoption of a new 48V hybrid system. As well as supporting fuel-saving technology such as engine-off coasting and an integrated starter-motor and generator, the 48V system will also allow VW to develop electrically driven turbochargers to improve performance on models such as the GTI and R. Unlike a number of its rivals, Volkswagen will offer its next Golf as both three- and five-door options, as well as an estate, while the GTI’s classic red design clues and understated looks should also remain intact.
The next Golf R, meanwhile, is rumoured to be moving towards an all-wheel-drive system with an electrically driven rear axle, replacing the previous Haldex system. Apart from the added performance benefits of integrating an electric motor into the Golf R’s powertrain, the rear-axle motor will also give engineers the ability to apply finer control to the power distribution between the front and rear axles, rather than relying on the reactive Haldex system that has a front-axle power bias.
Although the new Golf will be based on the same basic chassis as the current model, the new car will be both longer and wider, offering greater interior space and providing packaging solutions for any future electric drivetrains. Regular Golf models will be powered by a selection of three- and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines, with a new diesel unit also under development. The demand for the current GTE plug-in electric hybrid has all but guaranteed the Mk8 will also have a GTE model in its range, although it’s expected a fully electric Golf will be sidelined as VW ramps up its I.D. range of electric cars. A manual gearbox will still be offered in the majority of new Golfs, but it is expected that VW will also introduce a new, more efficiency-focused automatic gearbox.
The all-new Golf will also receive an all-new interior and infotainment system. The latest Polo and Touareg SUV have both been revealed with new ‘stacked’ designs, placing large, glossy infotainment screens high in the driver’s eyeline in conjunction with Volkswagen’s virtual dials. We expect the Mk8 Golf to offer a similar set-up, likely integrating the all-new Touareg’s 15-inch infotainment system on higher trim lines, along with the latest autonomous driving and active safety technology.
Audi, SEAT and Skoda’s next generation of mid-sized hatchbacks (A3, Leon and Octavia respectively) will also benefit from the Golf’s development, with engine, gearboxes, connectivity and autonomous technology feeding through the group.
We’ll see the first production Mk8 Golfs in the spring of 2019, with deliveries expected by the summer of next year. The GTI and R models are expected towards the end of 2019.
VW has broken its silence over the next-generation Golf, revealing a total investment of £1.6 billion has gone into development of the Mk8 model and confirming a production schedule.
The first cars are due to roll off the production line at the firm’s flagship Wolfsburg plant 75 weeks from now – equating to late June 2019. The announcement was made at the Golf 8 Supplier Summit, presented to 120 key suppliers for the eighth-generation model.
According to Ralf Brandstätter VW Group Board Member for Procurement, the launch of Golf 8 next year is on par with the introduction of the firm’s I.D electric cars in terms of importance.
Karlheinz Hell, Volkswagen’s small car boss, said: "The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions. It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety."
The Golf will undergo its biggest transformation in 43 years for the next generation as the German brand prepares to roll out hybrid technology, slim down the model line-up and completely revamp the interior design. An unveil for the Mk8 Golf hatchback has been earmarked for the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019 but at last year's Frankfurt show, we gained new information on that high-tech interior.
Volkswagen’s next Golf will feature a “revolution” in its cabin, the company’s chief of design has promised. The Mk8 car is due on sale in Britain in 2020. It will continue to be based on the current car’s MQB platform, and will feature many of its same engines and transmissions - and this level of continuity has allowed VW to focus on other areas.
VW’s design boss Klaus Bischoff has revealed to Auto Express that chief among these requirements is to be “ready for the next generation of connectivity and digitisation” - and that this has caused a “total rethink” on how the car’s cabin will look.
“It’s a revolution,” said Bischoff. “It’s really a total digital environment; the only analogue aspect is basically the steering wheel.” That means that a development of the current Golf’s fully digital instrument panel is likely to be standard across the range, instead of being an option for higher-end versions.
The arrival of the next Golf – previewed in our exclusive images – will coincide with the roll-out of Volkswagen’s I.D. electric car family, which begins with the Golf-sized I.D. hatchback. However, boss Herbert Diess has said that despite the aggressive EV offensive, which will see at least five dedicated battery-powered VWs launch by 2025, the next Golf remains the brand’s focus.
Last year, Diess told Auto Express: “The priority is Golf because in the next generation it will be our main core product; and that’s where the focus goes. Public attention, press and our communications have been a lot on the electric cars because we believe in it. But I’m convinced it [the Golf] will remain our core product in the next generation.
“[The] next generation of Golf – which we are, let’s say, quite advanced in the work on – will be the versatile car,” Diess continued. “You might call it once again ‘Das Auto’ because it is such a good package for a five-seater; it works so well.”
VW will use an updated version of the MQB chassis for the next-generation hatch, which is expected to shed up to 70kg due to the use of more lightweight materials. The shape or indeed the exterior of the Golf won’t change dramatically, but a more svelte front end with a lower bonnet and sleeker LED headlamps will feature, as our images show. More changes are evident at the rear, where the Golf will get more squared-off shoulders, while Golf lettering will appear beneath the VW badge for the first time, similar to the new Arteon.
As well as offering petrol and diesel engines, the next Golf will be the first VW to feature mild hybrid technology, thanks to the adoption of a 48-volt electric system on at least some variants. Diess said: “Mild hybrid systems will play a major role in the next generation of Golf; that will be the first application.
Then probably further ahead it will also be in smaller segments.” In the face of the VW emissions scandal and rising cost of diesel technology, mild hybrid powertrains will offer a cleaner alternative to diesel with similar levels of efficiency. Conventional powertrains will remain with a new 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine being joined by a new 1.5 diesel, which will replace the current 1.6.
Variants such as the GTI and R will benefit from performance boosts, with power up to 250bhp and 350bhp respectively. The plug-in hybrid GTE will also be offered, but the e-Golf won’t make it to another generation due to the arrival of the I.D. family, Diess confirmed.
Right then people. Our little Elves have been hard at work for you this Xmas. We're giving you the chance to win 2 tickets and VIP paddock passes to the fabled Autosport International Show on the 11-14th of January 2018.
All you have to do is log in / sign up, comment with the correct answer, cross your fingers.
We've also managed get our grubby mitts on a second pair of tickets for the runner up (minus the paddock passes).
Winners will be chosen at random and contacted on 5th January 2018 via email and then announced here on 6th january
The Volkswagen T-Roc R is being developed to become the most agile offering in its class, with chassis development guru Karsten Schebsdat and professional racing racer Benny Leuchter on hand to ensure its competitiveness.
Speaking at the launch of the new Volkswagen Polo GTI, Schebsdat, who has led the development of models such as the Golf GTI Clubsport S and previously headed up chassis development at Porsche, said the T-Roc is already well suited to a performance application and therefore would be an effective R model.
" I think the standard T-Roc with 4Motion [four-wheel drive] and the DCC chassis with 19in wheels is the most agile SUV in that class," he said. "If there will be a T-Roc R, it will definitely be even more fun."
The model, a rival to group stablemate the Seat Ateca Cupra, will have 306bhp and has been spotted testing recently at the Nürburgring. Leuchter has been drafted in to provide input for the car's set-up. He was a key contributor to the Clubsport S's final technical settings and was the man behind the wheel when it set an earlier Nürburgring front-wheel drive lap record.
Leuchter said he has been pushing for more agile set-ups on Volkswagen models that reduce the understeer previous models had become synonymous with, suggesting that the T-Roc will be given playful characteristics in order to appeal to driving enthusiasts. Leuchter's input with the Polo GTI, for example, has increased its adjustability.
The hot SUV will be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine as its main rival, the Ateca Cupra. However, the VW model is likely to come with a slight power advantage over its 300bhp sibling to help justify a higher price - mimicking a trend seen with the Golf R and Leon Cupra.
Much will be shared with the hot Golf, because the T-Roc is based on the same MQB A underpinnings as the hatchback. But even with the same outputs, the T-Roc R's additional weight and higher centre of gravity will ensure it falls short of matching the 4.6sec 0-62mph time and dynamic handling of its smaller sibling.
In typical VW R style, the future performance T-Roc's styling will likely remain restrained, giving it an understated look like the Golf R.
This early 'in the metal' sighting comes four weeks after VW research and development boss Frank Welsch told Autocar that he had comissioned the build of a development car to test the T-Roc R formula. Welsch said he "liked the idea" and expected it to "go well in the UK".
VW chairman Herbert Diess revealed earlier this year that the fastest T-Roc would bypass the GTI name because "GTI is for us the hot hatch; a sporty car, classless and accessible for many. It should be this car - a hot hatch". For an SUV, Diess said "we have another sub-brand, R".
The T-Roc R would sit above the current most potent 187bhp T-Roc, which Welsch believes will help the model stand out in its busy segment. “We have a 187bhp T-Roc, which is more than the competitors offer," he said, "and we’ll see if lots of people take that."
Further T-Roc range expansion
The commonality of parts for cars using the MQB A platform on which the T-Roc sits also raises the prospect of the new SUV being sold in plug-in hybrid GTE form along with, potentially, a warm GTD set-up. However, the future of diesel engines in smaller cars remains up for debate as manufacturers weigh up the cost of meeting new emissions regulations for diesels against how much of a premium buyers will be willing to pay. A pure-electric version of the T-Roc is unlikely, however, as VW is set to launch a bespoke family of electric models on its MEB platform from 2020.
Welsch’s openness to branding a fast T-Roc as an R model rather than a GTI also signals a clear policy to reserve the latter badge for its famous hot hatches. Even so, the firm is looking to broaden the appeal of its GTI range, with the entry-level Up GTI set to launch early next year.
As the SUV sector booms, car makers are looking to exploit sales niches while creating halo models that attract attention to a line-up. For example, Nissan launched Nismo models of its Juke, but VW’s decision to launch an R version of the T-Roc would signify a step up in the mainstream performance SUV stakes.
*Courtesy of VW Vortex - See the full article and more pics here
Spy pics of a Tiguan testing in Germany! And, despite the fact that there’s very little in the way of camouflage, this may be one of the Volkswagen Group’s most mysterious test cars!
Whereas it usually goes for dazzle camo, VW has this time decided to go with conflicting information. What you see is clearly a Tiguan body, that much is clear, but what isn’t so clear is why there are so many Audi bits attached to it.
Those oval tailpipes? Pure Audi Sport. The wheels? Audi. The Ingolstadt license plate is another Audi hallmark. And finally, the engine, we’re told, has the distinct sound of an inline 5.
We’ve known that a Tiguan was testing with Audi’s engine since late August when a video emerged of the car testing at the Nurburgring. Back then, we thought it might be because the Tiguan would get that engine, but now the online consensus seems to be that this is an RS Q3 wearing an elaborate disguise.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the VW Group went to such lengths. Volkswagen dressed up Atlas test cars like Jeeps and Kias when they were testing. They didn’t own the badges, though, so they couldn’t fully commit to the camo. With both vehicles owned by the same group, it could be that Audi just decided to follow through.
It does make sense, meanwhile, that VW would plug a Golf R engine into a Tiguan R since the engine fits the chassis. Audi has been working with its Group-mates lately, though. Audi and Porsche have been using the same twin-turbo V6 and twin turbo V8 a lot lately, so the idea of the brand sharing its engine with VW isn’t farfetched.
Notice the giant oval pipes make another appearance on a potential VW R...
Whatever the case, we’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.
Articles in AutoBild Magazine this month reveal that “Dieselgate” has indeed delayed the release of the new Golf R, with the MK 7.5 Facelift R filling the gap until the MK8 is unveiled, most likely at the Frankfurt IAA Show in September 2019. The R has always followed on a year later from the base models, so what can we expect to see in 2020?
A slippery, lower, aero efficient front end apparently, together with smaller cooling grilles. Sharper taillights at the rear along with the badging in the centre of the tailgate. So pretty minor and run of the mill evolutions rather than revolution changes to the appearance.
No mention of a hybrid boost unfortunately, although hope springs eternal as they say. The engine is likely to push out 350bhp, an uplift of around 40 horses from the current facelift variant, which can likely be achieved through more robust turbos running at higher boost. VWROC members simple Stage 1 remaps can already get close to that.
The body of the car is likely to be up to 70kg lighter, although in R form the Haldex system will add to that somewhat. Still it’s a move in the right direction and could lead to an even better balanced chassis. Is this even possible, some might ask?
The interior is where the tech has been updated, to Minority Report levels. The entire cockpit has been replaced by digital displays, a little bit like the current S-Class. We saw a flavour of this in the Worthersee Golf R special “Touch” edition in 2015. See video below:
Better still it’s operated by gesture control, although in the UK I’m not sure it would recognise many of the gestures motorists currently use whilst driving!
Augmented Reality Heads-Up-Displays will also feature with navigation arrows projected and mirrored onto the street ahead in 3D.
In addition, there will be assistants that fully automate parking and keep track of speed and distance. Apparently the driver could be allowed to read newspapers or check emails while driving at speeds of up to 35mph. Drivers will login to the car and it will learn your preferences, habits and weaknesses (ours are craft beers and crisps). It’ll learn your favourite music and preferred temperature. It’s almost like an Amazon Alexa’s been lost down the back seat. As we all know though, the problem with tech in most mid-range cars is that its way out of date by the time the car reaches the consumer. All we really want is a great screen that’s capable of properly integrating apps from our phones seamlessly.
Be warned though as by 2025 VW are planning to have a totally networked car that will drive pretty much by itself, and that ladies and gentlemen, marks the beginning of the end of the fun! The final blow coming in 2040 when petrol and diesel new cars sales will be banned. Our poor kids!