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Beijing show: VW to build crazy Golf R 400

Being specific: Extracting 294 reliable kilowatts from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is no mean feat, but Volkswagen appears to have found a way with the bahn-storming Golf R 400.

Green light for red-hot Volkswagen Golf R 400 uber-hatch: report

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Volkswagen logo22 Apr 2014

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

RARELY does a Volkswagen get cross-shopped with an AMG Mercedes, but with the Golf R 400 concept unveiled at the Beijing motor show over the weekend this could well happen.

Especially as according to Car and Driver, Volkswagen's global head of powertrain development Heinz-Jakob Neusser confirmed the 294kW/450Nm all-wheel-drive uber hatch will become production reality.

Extracting that much power and torque from the standard R's aluminium-blocked 2.0-litre EA888 four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine gives VW bragging rights over AMG, which in the conceptually similar A45 equals the Golf for torque but is 29kW down on power from its 2.0-litre turbo four.

The only production four-cylinder cars to beat the Golf's specific output have been some limited-run 'FQ400' versions of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – the latest of which was boosted to 300kW and 525Nm.

Even then, the FQ400 Evos were not strictly production cars but factory-approved specials fettled by third-party hot-shops, while VW's own R GmbH skunkworks did all the R 400 work in-haus.

Considering both the standard Golf R that launched in Australia earlier this month and the 2010 MkVI version both copped reduced engine outputs over European versions due to our hot climate, a potential Oz-bound R 400 could be similarly hobbled.

From a standing start the R 400 leaves the $75,000 A45 AMG for dead when fitted with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with its claimed 3.9-second 0-100km/h time seven tenths swifter than the Benz.

Keep the throttle planted and the hot VW will charge all the way to an electronically limited 280km/h, while the A45's governor calls time at 270km/h – if the right option box is ticked, which it is as standard for Australia.

Apart from a few fluorescent highlights, Volkswagen opted for a subtle 'Silver Flake' colour scheme with the R 400 concept that camouflages extensive body modifications over the standard Golf R.

But bulging wheel arch extensions that make an RS Audi look shy add 40mm of width to the car and sit low over the 19-inch wheels.

The alloys are a development of the standard Golf R's 'Cadiz' design and achieve a wider track due to an increased offset but are otherwise share dimensions with the standard R, including the 235/35R19 tyre size.

Gloss black inserts on the spokes channel extra cooling air to the upgraded brakes – denoted by their yellow callipers.

Huge intakes on the unique front bumper feed air to the highly strung engine, which deploys a reinforced crankcase, water-cooled exhaust gas feed for the redeveloped turbocharger and variable valve control with dual camshaft adjustment to extract power without compromising too much on consumption.

At the rear, large bore twin centre-mounted exhausts – referencing to previous-generation Golf R and its R32 predecessor – are set into a purposeful looking diffuser, while the edges of the rear bumper are fitted with striking vents.

Despite the bulging body and boosted power output, the 1420kg R 400 weighs no more than a standard Golf R.

Carbon-fibre features on the front splitter and door mirror housings, while unique sill extensions balance out the recess between the oversized wheel arches.

Inside are race style seats with integrated head restraints and safety harness openings, upholstered in quilted Alcantara and leather with contrast yellow stitching, as are the two individual rear pews.

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