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€¦