Ignore those little red “GTI” lapels on the trailing edges of the front fenders – the car you see here is really the next-generation 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, which our spy photographer caught on testing on the Nurburgring.
Traditionally, Golf R (and even R32) models haven’t pushed the envelope in terms of styling, and it appears as if the next-generation Golf R follows in those footsteps. Although Volkswagen’s applied some padded camouflage to the front fenders, fascia, and hood, everything aft of the A-pillars essentially looks like a seventh-generation Golf GTI. Little details, notably taller rocker sills, split-five-spoke wheels, larger front and rear disc brakes, and the quad exhaust tips (a departure from the R’s trademark twin center-exit tips) suggest this is more than a mere GTI.
So too does the front fascia: peeking through the camo, we can see an all-new front fascia with large side air intakes, which falls in line with previous Golf R styling cues. We also spy some aggressively bolstered race bucket seats in front, but we suspect they – much like the roll cage and HANS device for the driver’s helmet – are merely in place for high-speed testing at the Nurburgring.
We’d love to take a peek beneath the skin, as we’ve heard this latest twist on the Golf R formula may be rather powerful. The current Golf R, based on the sixth generation Golf, serves 256 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4. We’d expect the new Golf R to again use a turbocharged engine of identical displacement and cylinder count, but with a bit more power. Reports have hinted the new Golf R could boast at least 20 more horsepower, but possibly as much as 300.
Better yet, that increase in power should be bundled with a drop in weight. The Golf’s new modular MQB architecture is lighter than the sixth-generation car, but the Golf R may go a step further and employ a simplified and lighter all-wheel-drive system. If so, the Golf R could only weigh 200 pounds more than a GTI.
Expect more details to come shortly, as the next-generation Golf R is rumored to debut at the Frankfurt motor show this September, and ultimately wind up in European showrooms in early 2014.