300kW Golf R, performance EVs and SUVs on the cards for performance sub-brand
Volkswagen says its future R-branded performance models will be more 'extreme' than the current crop, hinting at a next-generation portfolio that could include a crazy Golf R, R versions of the upcoming I.D. electric family, along with R SUVs.
Speaking with media at the Beijing motor show – as reported by Auto Express – Jurgen Stackamann, Volkswagen's sales and marketing boss, said the company's R brand will move away from the understated vibe of the current line-up.
"The R brand is going extreme and can go extreme," he said, "The role of R is that it can go beyond the pure rational; nobody needs a compact car with 400bhp (300kW), but there is a place, certainly, and that’s the turf of R."
"With a little more expressive design, R can go beyond the rational side of things. It [the R brand] can find its place in a different league of pure performance and there’s a space where customs are willing to pay a significant amount of money," he added.
Stackamann's comments give a fairly strong indication of what to expect from the next-generation Golf R, which could approach the 300kW barrier to better compete with the likes of the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45.
It's unclear just how the company will achieve this – potentially via a high-output 2.0-litre turbo or through electric assistance – though fans of the Golf R400 concept (above) that never saw production could finally be getting the wild hot hatch they always wanted.
Revealed in 2014, the Golf R400 made 294kW and 450Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo four, making for a claimed 3.9-second 0-100km/h sprint and top speed of 280km/h.
It was scheduled for production a year later, however, the fallout of the company's Dieselgate saga saw the program scrapped to save funds.
"The I.D R that we put into Pikes Peak shows that the R strategy needs a dimension on the electric world," Stackamann said.
"It cannot stick to just conventional powertrain solutions - it is a new dimension to our brand."
The I.D. R makes 507kW and 649Nm from its dual-electric motor system, claiming a 0-60mph (0-96km/h) sprint in just 2.25 seconds.
Stackamann added the Pikes Peak special's high-performance electric powertrain demonstrates "how powerful we can get with our MEB [electric platform] idea” and “where can we take the R idea when it comes to the [electric] family".
Such models would give Volkswagen a unique selling point against mainstream brands, while also pushing it upmarket to compete with premium small performance SUVs like the Audi RS Q3 and Mercedes-AMG GLA45.