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Many reports have been written about how Volkswagen intended to take the Golf R to unprecedented levels of power by introducing an R400 / R420, but ultimately decided to axe the project as a victim of the costly Dieselgate. You could say the folks from Wolfsburg should introduce a beefier version of their all-wheel-drive hot hatch seeing as how the GTI in the Clubsport S flavor perfectly matched its output. While that was a limited-run affair, a new Golf GTI TCR is coming with close to 300 hp, thus getting dangerously close to the mighty R.

VW will address the narrowing power gap with a new Golf R expected to push out 330 hp, but what if some people want more? Yes, there’s always the Audi RS3 Sportback with its glorious five-cylinder engine, but it’s also significantly more expensive. This is where the tuners at Manhart come into play as they’ve just built a 450-hp variant of the Golf R.

Gallery: Manhart RS450 based on the VW Golf R

It started off as a Euro-spec car from the pre-WLTP era, so before losing 10 horsepower to comply with the more stringent emissions regulations. Save for the front spoiler lip, custom wheels, H&R lowering springs, and the subtle body decals, the Manhart RS450 looks virtually the same as a stock Golf R. The real secret is underneath the hood where the four-cylinder 2.0-liter gasoline engine now has a bigger turbocharger and a carbon intake.

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After remapping the engine’s ECU, Manhart has managed to squeeze out 450 hp and a healthy 500 Newton-meters (369 pound-feet) of torque from the familiar 2.0 TSI. The tuners also fiddled with the engine’s soundtrack by modifying the exhaust to accommodate a new downpipe. While it’s not the five-cylinder Golf R that VW wanted to make before being turned down by Audi, it should still offer a significant performance boost over the standard car.

The decal applied onto the rear pillar of this DSG-equipped car indicates only ten Golf Rs will be converted to the Manhart RS450 specification, which should be a worthy adversary for the RS3 and the AMG A45 S.

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The MANHART RS 450 – compact sports car Golf R with 450 hp

For many performance and tuning enthusiasts, high power is still essential and one of the cornerstones for an inspiring ride. The unbroken success of high-powered top models with prestigious abbreviations such as M or AMG on the tail is clear evidence of this. Today, 400 hp and more are already achieved in the compact class ex works. But even such values only make MANHART Performance smile wearily. With the new RS 450, the Wuppertal-based specialists are now presenting their version of a powerful hot hatch, based on the VW Golf VII R, which has 310 hp in the series production version.

As usual, the digit itself of the new vehicle designation indicates the power developed by the two-liter four-cylinder turbo engine of the Wolfsburg compact sports car following the MANHART upgrade. The increase by 140 to 450 hp and the maximum torque of 500 instead of 400 Nm is down to the installation of a new, larger turbocharger, a re-mapping of the engine control unit and the use of a carbon intake system from Eventuri.

In addition, thanks to a MANHART center muffler, the Golf underscores its performance capabilities acoustically too with a brutish sound – this being further amplified by the MANHART downpipe, which is available with a 300-cell catalytic converter or, for export, on request without a catalytic converter and in combination with a replacement pipe for the petrol particulate filter. In terms of driving dynamics, the Golf R has also been further enhanced as the RS 450, since MANHART uses lowering springs from H&R with in-house setup.

Visually, MANHART differentiates the RS 450 from its standard brothers with subtle but equally skillful modifications. The front has an even sportier look thanks to a spoiler lip from Rieger Tuning. In addition, there is a decal set consisting of lettering and several trim strips, which in silver contrasts with the black paintwork of the VW. As regards wheels, MANHART fits its own Concave One light-alloy rims in a diamond polished finish with dimensions of 8.5x20 inches and 235/35 ZR19 tires.

All additional facts, as well as price and delivery information, can be found at or requested directly from the Manhart Performance sales team.

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