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.
Article from TopSpeed