VW Golf GTI-R (Mk6): Volkswagen’s hotter hatch (2009)

Published: 12 March 2009

Volkswagen is secretly readying an even harder, faster Golf GTI to launch in autumn 2009. Badged the VW Golf GTI-R, the hotter hatch will follow the classic performance recipe of more power and lighter weight to switch the Golf GTI (Mk6) from slick and sensible fast hatchback back into a proper pocket rocket again.

Our sources in Germany indicate that the R version will not use the outgoing R32’s V6 engine, preferring a lighter four-cylinder turbocharged motor with some 266bhp. Sounds suspiciously to us like the Audi S3’s engine, also tipped for the forthcoming Scirocco R20T.

VW Golf GTI-R: the tech story

Volkswagen itsn’t just relying on the 60bhp boost from the forthcoming regular VW Golf GTI. We hear it will use four-wheel drive to tame the thrust, rather than the trick front diffs employed by the Focus RS and new Renaultsport Megane 250.

And to make up for the additional weight, the Golf GTI-R will apparently undergo a weight loss programme. We’re thinking less premium than the comfort-oriented R32 – so fewer goodies and maybe even some structural lightening. We’re not clear at this stage if special materials will be used.

So when can I buy the new Golf GTI-R?

Our information points to a motor show debut at Frankfurt in September 2009, pointing to a showroom launch in winter 2009-2010.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet