Remember when Volkswagen’s “R” lineup was all about the Golf R? While there was the occasional Passat R36, Touareg R50, or Polo R WRC, only the Golf has been the permanent member of Wolfsburg’s performance division. The company is making some rather big changes this year with the launch of four additional R models – Touareg R, Arteon R, Arteon R Shooting Brake, and the Tiguan R.

That doesn’t mean it’s putting the core model on the backburner as VW has confirmed the new Golf R will be revealed later this year. It has been spotted obsessively with very little camouflage on its hot hatch body, prompting independent artist KDesign AG to create a rendering that could easily pass off as the real thing.

In typical VAG fashion, the Golf R doesn’t have the most exciting design among performance hatchbacks, but that’s what many people like about the car – its subdued appearance. Sure, it has chunky air vents up front and quad exhausts at the back, but put it next to a Honda Civic Type R and it will look quite bland.

2021 VW Golf R rendering

While VW reportedly wanted to borrow Audi’s 2.5-litre inline-five turbo engine, the new Golf R will have to rely on the familiar 2.0 TSI. It pushes out 316 bhp in the aforementioned Tiguan R and Arteon R, so it goes without saying it won’t pack more punch in the smaller car. Being lighter than both the crossover and Passat’s swoopy cousin, it should translate into better performance similar to the mechanically related Cupra Leon.

Although the adjacent rendering is only depicting the five-door hatchback, we’re keeping our fingers crossed Europe will once again get a Golf R Variant. If not, there’s always the Cupra Leon ST…

Look for an official debut to take place in the coming months, likely after the official premiere of the Golf GTI TCR.