VW Golf R400 super hatch set for 2016 release

VW will take the hot hatch game up a notch as the German brand readies a production version of the Golf R400, spied for the first time undergoing final development testing in Germany. First unveiled as a concept at the Beijing Motor Show last year, the Golf R400 will become the most powerful hot hatch on the market following VW development boss, Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser, giving the R400 the green light for production.

Set to feature a heavily revised version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo used in the standard Golf R, the pumped-up R400 could arrive as early as next year.

Although there is little to mark the R400 prototype out from the standard model, look closely and you’ll notice beefier brakes hiding behind larger alloy wheels, while a wider front track and fixed rear spoiler are enough to tell you there’s some serious power beneath the bonnet.

If the production model is to follow where the concept left off, VW will extract a further 100bhp from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo. The power hike is likely to come from new set of pistons, a larger intercooler and new exhaust, with 395bhp and 450Nm of torque the expected result. However, it’s worth noting VW also has access to the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine from the new Audi RS3, which is now compatible with the MQB platform the Golf R is based on.

What is certain, however, is that the four-wheel drive system and six-speed DSG automatic gearbox from the Golf R will remain in place – the popularity of the DSG gearbox in the Golf R means it’s likely to be the only transmission option in the R400. Headline performance stats from the concept are 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 174mph.

It’s not yet known whether the R400 will be a series production model or built in limited numbers, but given the near-production ready look of the prototype, a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September could be on the cards.

Now read our in-depth review of the new Audi RS3, one of the most powerful hot hatches ever.

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