The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (or WLTP) has claimed its latest victim. Having led to the demise of Jaguar’s supercharged V6 vehicles in the Europe (and, we’ve since discovered, the only recently introduced XJR 575), the VW Golf R has been hit by the more stringent, more realistic emissions test.
But don’t panic: it will stay on sale, albeit with a drop in power. Having been bumped up to 306bhp during last year’s facelift, it’s now been, erm, bumped back down to where it was. The car now produces 296bhp. A VW UK spokesperson told Autocar that “in the context of new homologations” it’s been necessary to make “adaptions for the exhaust gas treatment and for the power output”. No technical details were given, but this presumably means a more restrictive exhaust, perhaps with a petrol particulate filter included.
Current orders are affected, and VW will be in touch with buyers to let them know that they’re missing out on an extra 10 ponies. We’ve driven the car in both 296bhp and 306bhp forms, and we can confirm that the difference isn’t really noticeable.
It’s not the only change for the car though: the manual gearbox option has been dropped in the UK and Germany at least - we’re waiting to hear back from VW to see if this affects other markets too. It’s unclear if this is WLTP related - it may just be due to low demand, with the dual-clutch ‘DSG’ automatic version being the clear favourite up until now.
The Seat Leon Cupra - which uses the same VW Group EA888 inline-four turbo engine - has been hit by WLTP too. It’s dropped from 296bhp to 286bhp, although it’s a little more awkward for Seat, which has been badging the car as the ‘Cupra 300’ to tie in with its PS power rating. It’ll go back to being dubbed ‘Cupra 290’, as it was known before the last update.