With Golf R400 canceled, VW shifts to Golf R

’17 VW Golf R: 292 hp

Volkswagen two years ago teased a 395-hp derivative of the Golf R in concept form at the Beijing auto show, and later, then-r&d chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser confirmed it was heading toward production.

He even hinted at more power to be squeezed out of the 2.0-liter four. But after Neusser was forced to step down in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal last fall, the high-horsepower Golf R400 was canceled, according to company insiders.

The sources say Audi is still working on the ultrahigh-performance version of the EA888 engine that was supposed to power the Golf R400, and it likely will be offered in future Audi models.

Meanwhile, VW is weighing its options for the next-generation Golf R, which will be launched after 2020 based on the eighth-generation Golf.

One possibility is a more powerful model that follows the current generation’s formula. A second scenario involves rethinking the Golf R entirely — with a thorough application of lightweight technology that could shave 300 pounds or more. Either model would remain closer in power to the current Golf R, which is rated at 292 hp.