VW Golf R400 Concept: Pushing the Limits of the Hot Hatch [LA Debut]

vw, concept, r400, r 400, golf, la, auto show
VW Golf R400

Volkswagen’s Golf has always represented an attractive option for those looking for a tossable, agile ride along with a dash of practicality. The GTI and R variants of the Golf have pushed the limits of the “hot hatch” moniker, but none has propelled VW into the supercar realm quite like the R400 concept, revealed this week at the 2014 LA Auto Show.

Starting with VW’s familiar 2.0-liter TSI 4-cylinder engine, the R400 concept develops an additional 102 horsepower, for a grand total of 394 horsepower at a lofty 7,200 RPM. Torque is a hefty 332 lb.-ft., but with a curb weight of just over 3100 pounds, the R400 concept is slated to make the 0-60 mph sprint in 3.9 seconds. The R400’s “off-the-line” capability is aided by the R400’s performance-oriented 4MOTION AWD system, which can route power to the front axle or split power between front and rear depending on driving circumstances. In addition, we can praise the transmission gods for VW’s decision to keep a 6-speed manual on the R400, a decision that should make the car’s 173 mph top speed all the more satisfying.

VW has included some impressive performance bits on the R400 concept. Brake-based torque vectoring differentials are housed in both axles, while the electronic stability control receives an extremely aggressive “race” mode, intended for high-speed track driving. Suspension and tire setup are the same as in the Golf R, though the R400 model has been lowered an additional 0.8 inches. And the R400’s “Cadiz” 19-inch rims were designed with performance in mind, incorporating black inserts that serve double-duty as air cooling vanes.

Interesting, too, are the design cues that the R400 uses to harken back to great racing Golfs of the past. The hatch’s flared front bumper is reminiscent of the 1988 Rally Golf G60, while the rear diffuser’s twin integrated exhaust pipes smack of the 2002 Golf R32, the Golf that started the “R” line. Even the honeycomb grille design on the front bumper screams motorsport, showing that the R400 is an important embodiment of VW’s storied racing heritage.

Like all premium performance cars, the Golf R400 has ample interior amenities–the race-inspired sport seats are covered with Alcantara, while door accents and the passenger side of the dashboard receive a treatment of carbon fiber. Of course, to match the R400’s signature neon yellow exterior accents, yellow contrast stitching provides the interior’s finishing touch.

No details on price or release date have been given about the R400, but stay tuned on TFLcar.com for more developments.

Please enjoy this TFLcar insider video of the Golf R SportWagen from the 2014 LA Auto Show.

frank kosarekFrank caught automotive fever early in life. Hailing from a long line of car fanatics, he was able to recite the year and model of every car that passed him by age five. His passion and love for the automobile have only grown since then. When not thinking about cars, he is reading, writing, learning, or dreaming about them. His area of expertise is in the realm of German and Italian cars, of which Porsche is a favorite. Frank currently resides in the heart of NASCAR country in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his family. He enjoys driving exotic cars in the beautiful Carolina weather.