VW Golf R400 (2014) first pictures

Published: 17 April 2014

VW just has to make this car! The VW Golf R400 is the most ballistic, angry VW Golf that the factory has ever built – as quick as the VW Vision GTI Concept but based on the current Golf R, so it seems tantalisingly viable for production. With a ridiculous 3.9sec 0-62mph claim, the ‘400’, named after its Porsche 911 Carrera S-matching 400PS (395bhp), will rocket into the Beijing motor show to say ‘Cop this, A45 AMG’.

Umm, so why the need for such a ferocious Golf?

VW doesn’t have an answer for that, apart from perhaps ‘because we can’. Yet there’s clearly some sort of delicious power war going on between the Germans, with Audi showing off the 420PS (416bhp) Audi Sport Quattro 420 Concept at the Geneva motor show in March, a two-finger engineering salute to the 355bhp A45 AMG. The Audi runs the same 2.0-litre turbo four-pot engine as the Golf R 400, which means the lower 395bhp in the Golf is entirely feasible.

So how fast is the gargantuan Golf?

If the ‘400’ lands in showrooms, it will do a smash-and-grab of the Merc’s mantle as the world’s fastest production hatch, chewing up and spitting out the A45 AMG’s 4.6sec 0-62mph time by clocking a 3.9sec time.

On top of the 200PS (197bhp) per litre, the VW develops 278bhp/tonne, out-punching the AMG’s 240bhp/tonne and the regular Golf R’s 211bhp/tonne. The 400 uses 4Motion all-wheel drive, a six-speed double-clutch transmission and has the clever XDS+ differential at both ends that brake individual wheels through bends for faster cornering.

What about the chassis – any significant changes over the regular R?

The suspension is 20mm lower than a standard Golf, but it’s identical to the regular Golf R’s set-up, and the 19in wheels are the same size, too, but the 400 has its own ‘Cadiz’ design. They’re also mounted further apart, with those pumped wheel arches – which VW says pay homage to the 1988 Rallye Golf G60 – adding a total of 40mm width.

Interior changes?

The 400’s cabin is loaded with race seats covered in quilted Alcantara (in Audi fashion, no less), while the regular rear bench has been replaced with a pair of individual seats, the space between trimmed in leather.

So, does VW have the balls to build a Golf with such big balls?

VW is playing coy, of course, so at the moment, this attention-seeking Golf is a sock-down-your-jocks showpiece. If it does make UK showrooms, it’ll likely be north of £40,000, which would make the fastest hot hatch also the most fiscally irresponsible this side of a Porsche Panamera. To see the 400 now, you’ll have to visit the 2014 Beijing motor show.