Two years ago, Volkswagen took the Beijing Auto Show by storm with the introduction of the Golf R400 concept that had 400 horsepower (294 kilowatts) from a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Approximately one year later, then-R&D chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser announced plans to put the mega-hatchback into production and even hinted at a bump in output to 420 hp (309 kW). About one month after the announcement, our spies caught on camera a Golf R prototype that probably had something to do with the R400/R420.

The bad news is it now seems the beefier Golf R won’t see the light of production day after all because of the ongoing scandal with the tricked emissions tests. VW already revealed several months ago a plan to postpone and cancel projects that are not a high priority as a measure to cut development costs and consequently have access to more money to face the Dieselgate. It seems the Golf R did not rank high on VW’s agenda and the model has been axed. That’s probably because it would have turned out to be a niche model, so it wouldn’t have generated enough sales to justify its existence.

However, the silver lining is that Audi is apparently working on a high-performance version of the EA888 engine that was supposed to power the flagship Golf R. This means all the development already done won’t go in vain as the meaty four-banger will live on in another model.

As for Volkswagen, the report goes on to specify it’s now thinking about the next-gen Golf R which will be out after the end of the decade. It is going to be based on the next-gen Golf and will either stick to the same formula as the current model or it will be reimagined as a more hardcore hatchback.

If the second scenario will come to life, the report says the next Golf R could lose at least 300 pounds (136 kilograms). For the sake of comparison, the current Golf R tips the scales at 3,283 lbs (1,489 kilograms) in European specification with the manual gearbox, while the automatic model is a tad heavier at 3,340 lbs (1,515 kg).

It’s a shame there won’t be a Golf R400/R420 because of VW’s messy Dieselgate, but at least the high-powered engine will (hopefully) be installed in another spicy VAG model.

Source: Automotive News

Gallery: Volkswagen Golf R400 production version confirmed, could be boosted to 420 PS

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