Golf R: Volkswagen Makes Ultimate Hot Hatch with 400 HP Golf


The United States isn’t blessed with the choices of hot hatches compared to the United Kingdom.  Really, outside of a Subaru WRX and a Volkswagon Golf GTi, it’s more difficult to think of other competitive cars.  Sure, the Ford Focus ST comes to mind, but it still isn’t as great as the UK’s RS version.

Volkswagen released the ultimate hot hatch concept for the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 394 horsepower Golf R.

  • Ultimate concept version of the Golf R has 394-horsepower 2.0-liter TSI engine
  • Accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, top speed of 174 mph
  • Vehicle’s design and performance inspired by VW’s motorsport experience
  • Power is put to the blacktop via 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system

More from Art of Gears

The Golf R 400, including its all-wheel drive system, weighs just

1,420 kilograms (3,130 pounds)

thanks in part to its compact high-performance engine and lightweight

dual-clutch gearbox

. Its weight-to-power ratio is a stellar 7.72 pounds per horsepower (3.55 kg per PS). The 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive system is one of the most fuel-efficient systems of its kind and the Golf is also exceptionally aerodynamic, even in R 400 form.

The engine’s maximum torque was increased to 332 pound feet, up from 280 lbft, available between 2,400 and 6,000 rpm.

In this car, the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is coupled with a six-speed manual transmission. The all-wheel drive system, which features a Haldex-5 coupling, is activated even before slip occurs.

Along with the Haldex coupling—which acts as a center differential—the electronic differential locks (EDS) integrated in the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system act laterally. In addition, the Golf R 400 is equipped with the XDS+ system on both the front and rear axles, which brakes the inside wheels and optimizes steering response. The Golf R 400 also has an “ESC Sport” function like that of the production car, activated via a two-stage switch on the center console. When the driver presses the button briefly, the “ESC Sport” mode is selected. When engaged in spirited driving in this mode, the ESC does not intervene as frequently. If the ESC button is held down more than three seconds, “race mode” is engaged, designed for high-speed track driving.

The production Golf R’s sport suspension, which is lowered by 0.8 inches compared with a regular Golf, did not have to be changed for the Golf R 400. In front, the two Golf Rs each have a strut-type layout with lower control arms, with a multi-link suspension at the rear. The aluminum-alloy wheels of the Golf R 400 are based on the 19-inch “Cadiz” production wheels, but they were highly modified and equipped with high-gloss black inserts which are designed as air vanes to help to cool the brake system. Like the production Golf R, the tires are sized 235/35 R19.

Overall, it’s a lot of technology packed into a hatchback.  Not only does it have great power along with an all-wheel drive system, but two transmission choices are available with DSG and a 6-speed manual, along with the ability to decouple the rear axle to save fuel.  Even more impressive is the ability to activate the rear axle to stabilize momentary slip.  Add the race mode for track driving, and there’s nothing this hatchback can’t do.

[2014. VW. Golf R Concept Car Makes North American Debut at Los Angeles Auto Show. [Press Release] Retrieved from:]