Volkswagen has been working for some time now on the eighth generation of its venerable Golf compact hatchback, and a new report suggests that the R hot hatch could be tuned to make more than 400 horsepower for 2020.
"The R brand is going extreme," Jurgen Stackmann, VW's sales and marketing boss, told Auto Express. "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."
By way of comparison, the current Golf R does 292 hp. The increase in ponies would put the Golf R on par with the Ford Focus RS and above the likes of the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and GLA45.
The British publication further surmises that the powertrain is expected to hew closely to the Golf R's current setup, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine, 4Motion all-wheel-drive and seven-speed gearbox. A 48-volt mild hybrid could also be offered, since VW has said it will be available across all of its MQB-platform cars. Auto Express also reports the hot hatch will get more use of carbon fiber to lower weight, aggressive bumpers and quad tailpipes.
Though it wasn't immediately clear, one would imagine that VW wants to bring such a potent hot hatch to the U.S. market. That said, we must begin inserting a giant caveat in any story involving a German automaker, following a report that President Donald Trump wants to eradicate German automakers and their vehicles from the United States and establish a 25 percent tariff on vehicle imports, all in the guise of national security. His administration said Thursday it will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.