The fast VW Golf range is pretty well rounded out now. We have the GTE, GTD, GTI, GTI Clubsport and the R, giving plenty of options to buy something fast in a sensible package. VW isn’t done there, though.
On its Facebook page the German company recently posted a darkened teaser showing what is quite clearly a Golf silhouette, along with a caption poking fun of the inexplicable rise of NFTs or ‘non-fungible tokens‘. “We’re launching an NFT (Notably Fast Transporter),” VW said, adding, “Coming February 2022.”
We’re now left wondering exactly what VW has up its sleeve. A new Clubsport S was ruled out ages ago, with VW choosing instead to mark the GTI’s 45th birthday last year with the Clubsport 45. A quicker version of either the GTE or GTD seems unlikely, so that leaves us with the R.
VW noted on a media conference call late last year that it’s continuing to work on its ‘vehicle dynamics manager’. This controls various parameters including the R’s adaptive dampers and the drift mode-enabling ‘R Performance torque vectoring’. With sufficient tweaks plus a few hardware modifications, VW could easily come up with a very different-feeling version of the Golf R. An R Plus, if you will.
Further differentiating this ‘Plus’ from the regular R, it could adopt a six-speed manual gearbox. At present, the only performance Golf available with a manual is the standard GTI, but a stick-shifting Golf 8 R was spotted undergoing testing at the Nurburgring a little while back.
Any increase in power from the 2.0-litre ‘EA888’ inline-four turbo engine, which makes 316bhp in the regular R, is likely to be modest. VW did develop a 395bhp version for the Golf R400 concept (above) a few years ago, but the project was one of the victims of the company’s post-dieselgate financial woes.