As with all eight Volkswagen Golf iterations, the fifth-generation model spawned multiple performance versions. Pictured here is the most performing of the lot, the R32 with its naturally aspirated 3.2-liter VR6 engine making just under 250 horsepower. However, we're learning the engineers from Wolfsburg had an even spicier flavor in mind. No, we're not talking about the GTI W12-650 as that was only a bonkers mid-engined concept.
In an interview with The Intercooler, Marcos Marques, Project Manager eFuels at Porsche, revealed VW once built a fifth-generation, all-wheel-drive Golf with a V10 engine. As with all Mk5 models sold to the public, the engine was mounted transversally at the front. The Lamborghini Gallardo and Audi R8 had the naturally aspirated V10 installed longitudinally, behind the seats.
Although Marques wasn't directly involved in the project, he believes the project came to be at a time when the VW Group was supposedly interested in rejoining Formula 1. The engine had somewhere in the region of 500 horsepower and revved all the way up to 8,200 rpm. He spotted a running prototype at a secret facility in Wolfsburg: "I saw it and I heard it running a few times, and it was quite a crazy car."
Aficionados know the VR6, V10, and W12 didn't represent the end of Golf projects with interesting engines. In April 2014, during the days of the Mk7, VW unveiled the R400 concept with a 2.0 TSI dialed to (yes, you’ve guessed it) 400 horsepower. In the wake of the costly Dieselgate, the project was abandoned. There was even a prototype running around the Nürburgring with Audi's inline-five engine for an alleged Golf R420, but that never happened either.
Speaking of Audi and rumors, legend has it that VW wanted to borrow the turbocharged 2.5-liter for an amped-up Golf R Mk8 but the Four Rings refused. The reasoning was obvious as a five-cylinder Golf R would've cannibalized sales of the RS3.