The Volkswagen Golf R400 – The Victim of The Emissions Scandal
As a virtual unknown in the automotive world, but someone who still strives to maintain a certain level of professionalism, it was my duty to broadcast an objective and profound viewpoint on Volkswagen's emissions scandal: I couldn't give a flying fuck about the whole retched ordeal!
As a devout petrolhead however, upon the scandal's initial airing, my concern was of a performance nature: more specifically, I prayed to the motoring Gods that the consequences incurred by VW wouldn't prevent the Bugatti Chiron from being released. It didn't – but according to those in the know, after all the development, the Chiron came terrifyingly close to never happening – even though the scandal never started until a few months before the Chiron's official unveiling.
The emissions scandal however did result in the termination of one rather important performance project for Volkswagen: the Golf R400.
With a name that explains what it was all about, the Golf R400 was set to be a 400 horsepower version of the Golf R. In order to achieve this, the 2L 4-cylinder engine received a number of modifications, including a reinforced crackcase, and most dramatically, a larger turbocharger, resulting in the rise to the rather exclusive world of 200bhp-per-litre.
The R400 however also, quite mundanely, had a focus on economy. The variable valve timing that was controlled by adjusting both the camshafts benefitted the R400 in terms of both power and fuel-frugality. They'd even integrated a system into the cylinder head which water-cooled the exhaust gases before they hit the turbocharger, because apparently, it helped save petrol. But let's be frank: if you wanted economy from a Golf, you'd buy a 1.2TSI. The R400 however is what you'd buy if you wanted the ultimate hot hatch!
The 395bhp was sent to a haldex 4-wheel drive system through either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG gearbox. Using the DSG, the Golf R400 was reported to have a 0-60mph time of just 3.8 seconds!! In other words, fast enough to keep a Porsche Carrera GT choking on its fraudulent fumes until the cars are beyond 60mph.
With all that power to force it through the air, the R400 was set to have a mildly remarkable top speed of 174mph! But despite having all this power – and 332lb-ft of torque, as well – to the untrained eye, there was no real hint of huge performance from the outside. Sure, there are some cues at the front thanks to how they've had to redesign it to cope with the cooling requirements of the more powerful engine. But other than that, it doesn't scream about its potential. Some may see this as a negative; whereas others will be endeared by its sleeper-factor.
The Golf R400 had was set up to be the king of all hyper-hatches. When the concept was unveiled at the 2014 Bejing Motor Show, it was set for a release around 2016. In the April of that year however, 7 months after Dieselgate emerged, Volkswagen confirmed that the R400 project was postponed. Whilst they didn't state that the car had been cancelled altogether – leading some to speculate that the R400 will enter production in 2018 – it's fair to say that in the wake of such a financial calamity, VW could no longer justify the risk involved with making a Golf that would cost at the very least £40,000!!
Whilst the car itself may be on hold, its 400 horsepower turbo 2L – code named EA888 – may find itself being called into action in another hot hatch application one day. But regardless, the Golf R400 will always be a concept that should've been made.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
Facebook: Speed Machines - DriveTribe
Photo Credits: Volkswagen