With no R420 on the horizon, this is the meanest Golf of them all.
By far the biggest disappointment of the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf was the axing of the hugely promising R400. Originally shown as a concept back in 2014, the unborn uber hot-hatch was originally supposed to spawn an even beefier production version called R420 to reflect its 420-horsepower output. However, Wolfsburg’s agenda suffered some changes and the ultimate Golf VII was terminated before even hitting the assembly line.
That left the all-paw R version as the one Golf to rule them all, with the Performance Pack version serving as the icing on what could’ve been a much tastier cake. Featured here is a Euro-spec car equipped with all the bells and whistles, including the optional Akrapovic exhaust system made from titanium to shave off 7 kilograms over the stock exhaust. It also sounds a bit meaner and the exhaust note automatically changes its tune depending on the chosen driving mode.
The folks over at YouTube channel Automann-TV decided to take the facelifted Golf R Performance Pack for some speed runs and they fitted a data logger to record all the juicy numbers. The digital needle of the virtual cockpit’s speedometer needed just 4.6 seconds to reach 62 mph from a standstill and 16.7 seconds from 0 to 124 mph. Flat out, the car eventually got up to 163 mph.
Gallery: VW Golf R with Performance Package
To refresh your memory, the Performance Pack also bundles lighter brakes and an assortment of subtle aerodynamic tweaks, including a different roof-mounted spoiler for extra downforce. The 2.0 TSI engine is not blessed with a power boost, so it continues to push out 306 bhp in this car. However, the WLTP cycle is killing 10 horses in Europe.
It goes without saying that a Golf R420 using the Audi RS3’s glorious five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbocharged engine would have bested these power and performance numbers, but VW had bigger fish to fry as the higher performance Golf did not rank high on the list of priorities since it was a niche model.
An interesting Golf R prototype with Audi RS-esque oval exhaust tips was spotted earlier this month at the Nürburgring, but we wouldn’t get our hopes up too high. The Golf VIII is right around the corner (production starting June 2019), so perhaps it’s too late in the game for an R420. In an ideal scenario, VW would follow Ford’s decision of introducing the Focus RS late in the compact hatchback’s life cycle. One can only hope…