We’ve seen Volkswagen tease us with extreme variations of its iconic GTI now and again. Last year, VW showed off a 503 hp version of the car in the form of the Design Vision GTI, which unfortunately was mostly for show. Now, a 400 hp AWD version unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show badged as the Golf R 400 has come out into the light, and with it some serious performance chatter.
That the dynamic, low slung Golf R 400 shares similarities to the stock Golf R is of little concern, as the power increase more than compensates for the badge comparisons. The R 400 concept uses the same 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system as the standard model to manage traction and power, which has been upped significantly to 400 ps (395 hp). Torque has also increased by 70 Nm (52 lb.ft), giving the concept a total of 450 Nm (332 lb.ft).
The Golf R 400’s performance modifications needed to be managed properly so the job was handed over to Volkswagen’s performance arm at R GmbH. Using the standard turbocharged 2.0 liter engine found in the Golf R, the team began by reinforcing the crankcase in order to handle the extra pressures developed by the new higher pressure turbocharging arrangement. The team also water-cooled the exhaust gas feed to the turbo unit in order to reduce gas usage under heavy loads. Variable valve controls combined with twin-camshaft tweaks were implemented to enhance both performance and mileage figures.
So what does it all mean on the street. According to VW, the Golf R 400, when using the 6-speed DSG gearbox, is capable of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a very quick 3.9 seconds. That puts it an entire second faster to the mark than the standard Golf R. VW claims the car can then continue on to a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph). On the scales, the R 400 concept is identical to the standard Golf R, at 1,420 kg (3,130 lb).
Stylistically, the Golf R 400 shares similar genetics with the Golf R, but that’s where similarities end. At 40 mm (1.6 in) wider than the R and taking clear visual influences from Volkswagen’s 1988 Rallye Golf G60, the concept has a more aggressive, dynamic demeanor. To fill the added space between the muscular haunches, VW developed new sill extensions to close the gap. Inside the haunches are modified 19 inch alloy wheels, set within 235/35 R19 tires. Modifications to the wheels actually help direct and increase cooling to the car’s redesigned braking system.
The front bumper now features a carbon fiber splitter and wing detail, that has been redesigned in order to accommodate the engine’s increased cooling requirements. The back of the Golf R 400 now shows vents built into the sides of the reworked bumper, and the four tailpipes are replaced by two central exhaust pipes, similar to those found on the 2002 Golf R32.
Should the car ever go to production (and there have been a few rumors to suggest it might become a reality), drivers would find themselves situated in motorsport-grade seats, surrounded by Alcantara and leather coverings. Contrasting yellow piping is interlaced throughout the car to help offset the otherwise monochromatic interior.
The VW Golf R 400 can be seen at the Beijing Auto Show from April 21 to 29.