By on January 28, 2010

Volkswagen’s recent go-fast specials like the Golf R32 and New Beetle Rsi have typically been developed by a little-known branch of the automaker known as Volkswagen Individual. But performance isn’t necessarily VW Individual’s main focus, as the sub-firm also builds to-order customization of VW products, from police specials to to custom-built stretched Phaetons, and helps VW R&D on new products. In order to focus its efforts, VW is spinning the “R”-vehicle development program into its own unit: R GmbH. “BMW has its M, Mercedes has AMG, and our sibling Audi has Quattro. This new R division will be our Quattro,” an unnamed VW exec tells Inside Line. You know, because Audi and its Quattro performance division isn’t owned by Volkswagen or anything.

But potential cannibalization aside (always a concern when you have seven brands not counting performance sub-brands), the project seems as if its off on the right foot. The Golf R, which replaces the V6-powered R32 with a turbocharged four-pot power, is already earning accolades in Europe, and is reportedly destined to appear in the states. The fact that it will be developed by its own sub-division rather than by VW Individual will be a detail lost on all but a choice few. After all, what percentage of Audi aspirants even know that the S-branded cars are developed by an entirely separate division, known as Quattro GmbH?

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25 Comments on “VW Launching “R” Performance Sub-Brand...”

  • avatar

    I feel completely ashamed for this, but I would totally go for a sport-model New Beetle.


    • 0 avatar

      I got mine lowered 3 inches and an audible diverter valve. I’d LOVE to see a beetle with the 2.0T in it, that would just be something as the 1.8T I have now is a real screamer (when it runs right).

      This just drives me nuts though! I LOVE VW styling inside and out, but I just don’t know if I could ever buy one again after all the problems I’m having and the cost of repair, and that is just for parts as I always fix my own cars.

      I’m actually working on getting something Japanese again in the near future. Thinking an 06 Mazda 6 manual trans since I’m too scared to buy a Passat.

    • 0 avatar

      I gotta say this, turbobeetle. Not to excuse the VW (well-earned) reputation for costly and persistent problem areas, but dontcha think you might have more money for repairs if you didn’t waste your dollars on such utterly useless crap as “audible diverter valves” and lowering kits?

      Please tell me you don’t have a K&N filter in there and you wonder why you’re experiencing lots of failures….

      It’s just so frustrating. Around here the streets are crawling with Hondas made of 9/10ths primered bondo, worth maybe $1500 in total, sporting thousands upon thousands worth of fartcan exhausts, lowered “sport” suspensions, too-big wheels, “Xenon” lights, and kickin’ stereos. But no money for a paint job, god no.

      I understand it’s supposed to be about “self expression” and “personalizing.” But the message to the casual observer goes something like “I spent $1500 on this piece of crap car, $8000 on junk (never see a dime for it if I try to sell it), and now I can’t afford oil changes.”

      Please. It’s gotta stop. Someone PLEASE take a stand against the insanity. Maybe it’s time to name the disease and determine a course of treatment?

      And then after that let’s rid the world of the menace of ugly jeans and “body art.”

  • avatar

    Crap – at first I thought there was going to be more GTI-style vehicles . . . but the way this reads, it sounds like we’re looking at a much higher price tag. Any clue what the MSRP on one of these might be?

    “R” is also a bad choice of labels . . . there’s a lot to satisfy that most of us just expect a fail when we hear it . . .

  • avatar

    Does this mean I’ll be able to get a Scirocco in the US?

  • avatar

    Will I still be able to get the cool “aluminum golf ball” shift nob in a base model 3 door Golf? That’s all that really matters to me. :)

  • avatar

    …and Lexus has its F, and Caddy has its V.

    And I demand a Suzuki SX4-R.

  • avatar

    I know their future is up in the air right now but I can’t imagine that Volvo would be amused by this. I’d love to have a V70R, it’s the perfect family car.

  • avatar

    I thought their performance division might be… a little line of cars called… Porsche.

  • avatar

    wouldn’t Audi’s performance division be the S-line? quattro is a drivetrain

  • avatar

    So “Quattro” is the Audi performance brand? That means that 95% of Audis are performance cars?

    What about the S and RS series cars? Isn’t that much more appropriate? I think the “unnamed VW Exec” needs to pick up a magazine or watch Top Gear once in a while.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      “After all, what percentage of Audi aspirants even know that the S-branded cars are developed by an entirely separate division, known as Quattro GmbH?”

    • 0 avatar

      We’ll file you under “doesn’t know how Audi’s (admittedly confusing) scheme works.”

      Quattro is:
      1) The branding on their AWD systems and cars which have them (which used to mean just the Torsen system but now also includes Haldex),
      2) The name of a specific model of car that started it all, and
      3) The name of the wholly-owned performance subsidiary of Audi that produces the S and RS cars, the R8, various accessories and suspension parts, and Audi Q7 V12 TDI quattro.

    • 0 avatar


      I figured there was more to it (always assumed Quattro meant 4WD) but daaaaamn that’s confusing.

  • avatar

    I dunno…Spend the premium for the GTI-R or buy a GTI and spend 600 bucks for an APR program that will get you 254hp and 297ft-lbs of torque. Or spend another grand and go stage 2 and make 276hp and 314ft-lb of torque. Cheaper and faster than an “R”…having a performance division within a company that has such chipable engines is ok as long as you don’t charge too much, which VW will.

  • avatar

    I was under the impression that Audi’s performance division was S/S-Line – and that Quattro merely meant that the purchaser was a sissy who needs AWD to keep the car on the road.

  • avatar

    “and that Quattro merely meant that the purchaser was a sissy who needs AWD to keep the car on the road.”

    Your only other choice with an Audi is FWD, is that better? Who says AWD has to be for sissies? Are rally drivers sissies for using AWD cars? How about the 911 Turbo or GT-R? Those sissy cars too? I suppose all Lamborghinis (other than the Balboni) are sissy cars as well. Real men oversteer into a ditch.

  • avatar

    Can we get a proper RWD car please?

  • avatar

    Didn’t Volvo already take the R thing? Really I don’t get it. So you get an R Golf. Doesn’t it just tell the rest of the buyers “your car is not good enough”. Doesn’t it alienate regular customers more than attract new ones?

    BTW, I think GTi was good enough. I think VW has gone whole-heartedly into the GM bog.

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