By on April 21, 2014


To show the potential of the new Golf, VW has taken the 290 horsepower, all wheel drive Golf R and turned up the heat on the hot hatch with the Golf R 400 Concept, introduced at the Beijing auto show.


The 400 stands for 400 PS, which converts to 395 horsepower, and while the R 400 is based on the same turbo 2 liter four used in a variety of VW group cars, that engine has obviously been seriously tuned, probably with a bit more boost, resulting in 333 lb.-ft. of torque to go with the more than 33% increase in power. The result is a sub four second 0-60 time and a 280 kmh (174 mph) top speed that is electronically governed. VW says that the motorsports inspired Golf R 400 has a power-to-weight ratio and specific power per liter displacement on par with exotic supercars. VWs fulltime 4MOTION all-wheel drive transmits all that power to the wheels. On the outside, the Golf R 4oo has silver flake paint with lemon yellow highlights, with a restrained body kit featuring fender flares said to be a tribute to the 1988 Rallye Golf G60. The motorsports theme is carried to the inside of the car with racing seat shells, though they’ve been upholstered in Alcantara and what VW calls “carbon leather”.

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27 Comments on “2014 Beijing Auto Show: Volkswagen Golf R 400 Concept...”

  • avatar

    Those are some damned nice wheels. Relatively understated too, sure they’re huge, but they aren’t chromed and they don’t have like 50 spokes.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder if they are like the standard 18″ wheels on the GTI and weigh as much as a medium sized farm animal.

    • 0 avatar

      Are you sure they aren’t chromed? It might just be the lighting but in this video, the sparkling reflections look like chrome:

      It might just be highly polished.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Slightly OT, but the UAW just folded at literally the eleventh hour over their NLRB dispute about the TN plant:

    If you can’t see that (paywall), here’s the link that pointed me to it:

  • avatar

    ……. and yet another fine example of VW ignoring the obvious [ quality small cars and a 21st century Micro Bus ] in the futile pursuit of the ludicrous . First the announcement that the Phaeton is coming back . Now this pretentious little excuse of wretched excess answering the question nobody is asking

    All while VW-Audi sales continue to plummet . Worldwide I might add

    Oh well . So much for my prediction of VW-Audi overtaking GM for #2 .

  • avatar

    As an enthusiast I think it’s fantastic. The ultimate Q car! As a five seat hatch it has reasonable practicality, doesn’t scream “ticket me” and does sub 4 second 60’s. What’s not to love? Oh, reliability. OK, sure, there is that. Regardless, I already had the R on my radar for a future purchase, and depending on how much more I would seriously consider this.

    • 0 avatar

      As an ” enthusiast ” … you seem to be missing the obvious . The main point being this is a Four Seat excessively lowered and substantially wider bodied Golf just screaming for a ticket from a mile away …. announcing its presence well before the police radar can register its speed

      Oh . And did I mention a price tag estimated [ UK press ] to be well north of a Cayman S ? [ so much for you considering this one …. ehhh ? ]

      Hmmmmn . Perhaps thou needest to revise thy definition of a ” Q ” car Arminius

      Cause suffice it to say …. this Golf AINT it ! [ GearHead definitions 101 ]

      From a genuine [ Calvinist] enthusiast

      A suggestion ? You want ” Q ” ? Buy a CLA-45 or the upcoming GLA-45 . Better performance . Much better utility [ especially the GLA-45 ] But best of all . With a substantially lower price – substantially better reliability – not to mention genuine customer service versus what passes for customer service with VW-Audi USA

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        gtrslngr, you’re usually on the mark about most things, but occasionally you throw one in that begs for comment. My dealer has both VW and Audi. Both showrooms are ultra-modern, impeccably maintained and stocked with various freebies. I’ve had three VWs and two Audis serviced by them through the years and have always been treated royally. I’ve had few problems with any of them, though I only keep cars within the warranty period. And I always get a follow-up call asking whether I was satisfied with the service, though it might have only been for an oil change. The retail part of the operation doesn’t do the hard sell, and the sales people generally respect the customer’s intelligence. I know that in the large scheme of things, this is only an anecdotal account, but I mean only to counter some of the irrational comments about VW/Audi that I just know are not born of first-hand experience. BTW, in the past I had no shortage of bad experiences with Toyota and Honda cars and service, the service sometimes being the worst imaginable.

        • 0 avatar

          Agreed. This constant “VW/Audi service nightmare” warning from the Conventional Wisdom from the Internet just isn’t warranted, in my opinion. Over the past 10 years I have directly dealt with Ford, Mitsubishi, Honda, Dodge, Nissan, BMW, and VW dealers. The best experience? Mitsubishi interestingly enough. The least good? Nissan, and not from being treated poorly, just questionable workmanship and a general confusion in the front office. The Honda Service Writers always try to up-sell me stuff I don’t need or want. VW has treated me no better nor worse than any of the other dealers service departments.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Ignore Mr. Ingr.

  • avatar

    It’s one hell of a super hatch but you’d hope that they would deploy a twin sequential turbo system to keep the lag at acceptable levels.

    Unlike the W12 concept from a few years ago, this one nearly looks feasible for limited production.

  • avatar

    I have to wonder/have been wondering, what is the functional upper limit of specific output of these small displacement boosted motors. 400 hp out of 2.0L just sounds like a problem waiting to happen.

    • 0 avatar

      F1 and Group B took a pass at finding out back in the 80’s. They were getting more than double this specific output, but that was on race gas with rebuilds every race.

      Evo, Civic, and 240sx owners have been mining the upper stratosphere for years, with mixed reliability.

      The question for OEMs is really how high they want to push it, given available octane and their own reliability parameters.

    • 0 avatar

      It seems to be a calculated design risk, putting big numbers out there but wagering that most owners aren’t going to be way up on the boost on a regular basis. I’m not a mechanical engineer, but 300ish hp seems to be on the edge of sane. 400+ in a 2.0T seems pointless in a daily driver unless you’re going to make the block as heavy as a V8 or out of some exotic unobtainium alloy.

      What I don’t understand is why they didn’t use the 2.5T from TT RS, which could probably easily make this power.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s just for show. You can crank up the boost on an Ecoboost to 500+ hp, but that doesn’t mean it won’t instantly grenade under a load. Or that the rest of the drivetrain can take the stress.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike N.

      The 2.0T in the CLA45 makes 355hp. So probably at least that much. Like Sproc said, if it ever goes into production, VW is probably betting that most owners will not run it at full throttle for extended periods of time.

  • avatar

    Oh man look at that awesome engine……………….cover

  • avatar
    Johannes Dutch

    Last year’s 496 bhp concept at the annual Wörthersee GTI Treffen. It does have a 3.0 liter V6 though.

  • avatar

    This car may move beyond the concept stage, but not for the US market. Remember that the last Golf R was a tough sell in the $35-40K range for the US market. This version would cost well north of $40,000 and would be a non-starter for this market.

    Can’t see this car going into production anywhere, to be honest. You might see the engine in the next TT-RS where the lighter weight of the 4 cylinder could address one of the faults of the previous model (nose heavy at 60/40 weight distribution), but that is a $65,000 car (at least).

    Besides that, this is just an exercise to create buzz and keep attention on VW until the Golf R rolls out.

  • avatar

    Around 300 hp is generally considered the limit for FWD cars before major torque steer sets in. Granted this car is AWD, but it is on a FWD platform where power is directed to the rear wheels as needed which means it will drive like a FWD car most of the time

    Not sure how well or or how much AWD will counter torque steer

  • avatar

    Well, one thing is for sure – the crankshaft is not the bent piece of wire found in the normal new EA888 engine, with half the counterweights missing to save weight. I wonder how the tiny main and connecting rod bearings will handle diuble the power.

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