Volkswagen is showcasing the potential of its flagship Golf R hatchback at the Beijing Auto Show, in the muscular form of the Golf R 400 concept. If the ‘400’ in the name doesn’t give the game away that this is not your regular Golf R, then the body and bumper modifications and flared wheelarches should give more than a hint.
Based on the standard fourth-generation Golf R, which with its 206 kW / 380 Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and 4MOTION four-wheel drive is hardly a shrinking violet, the Golf R 400 kicks things up a few notches, with 400 PS (293 kW) of fire power accompanied by 450 Nm of torque, available from 2,400 to 6,000 rpm.
Developed by Volkswagen R GmbH, the arm responsible for high-power and customisation projects, the Golf R 400 uses a modified version of the Golf R’s EA888 mill. The extra power feeds all four wheels through a six-speed DSG, allowing the Golf R 400 to unleash from 0 to 100 km/h in a supercar taming 3.9 seconds, over a second faster than its factory standard sibling. Its top speed is electronically limited to 280 km/h.
To achieve the increase in power, the Golf R 400 features a newly developed turbocharger with a higher maximum charge pressure and reinforced crankcase. A water-cooled exhaust gas feed to the turbocharger integrated in the cylinder head helps to reduce full-load fuel consumption, while variable valve control with dual camshaft adjustment improves economy and performance.
Despite the go fast bits, the Golf R 400 weighs the same as the standard Golf R. Complimenting the extra punch under the bonnet, is a substantially pumped up exterior. The body is 20 mm wider on each side, with flared wheel arches that are reminiscent of those on the 1988 Rallye Golf G60. These arches, like most of the body, are painted in ‘Silver Flake’ metallic, and contrast with the gloss black roof and carbon door mirror caps. New sill extensions seamlessly bridge the gap between the widened arches.
Filling those arches are 19-inch alloy wheels on an increased offset wrapped in 235/35 R19s tyres. A development of the Golf R’s standard ‘Cadiz’ wheels, these are highly modified, with high-gloss back inserts that act as air vanes, helping to cool the reinforced braking system.
At the front, the bumper has been completely redesigned to take into account the greater cooling requirements of the R 400. A motorsport-inspired carbon fibre splitter and aerodynamic ‘wing element’ help to push air towards the honeycomb mesh of the grille. The ‘R’ badge on the gloss black radiator grille sits on a ‘Lemon Yellow’ background, while the horizontal stripe across the grille (which, like the chrome strip on the Golf R, continues into the bi-xenon headlights) is also ‘Lemon Yellow’.
The redesigned rear bumper includes vents on each side, and the Golf R’s four tailpipes have been replaced with two centrally mounted items, like those on the 2002 Golf R32. These 110 mm diameter items are 200 mm apart, and point slightly upwards, displaying a honeycomb mesh. A black double spoiler with LED brake lights atop the tailgate finishes the revised look.
Inside are motorsport shell seats with integrated head restraints and belt openings. These are upholstered in cross-quilted panels covered in Alcantara, and ‘carbon leather’, as are the two individual rear seats. Stitching throughout the interior is in contrasting ‘Lemon Yellow’.
The Golf R 400 is only a concept at this stage, with no production plans.