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New 2020 Volkswagen Golf R  vehilce news image

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf R

VW Golf R mega hatch shapes up with new look and potent 4WD drivetrain, and our exclusive images preview its extreme styling
Volkswagen will turn up the heat with the next Golf R to create the most `extreme` version of the hatchback there has ever been, Auto Express can reveal.

The Mk8 Golf is due to go on sale next year, and has been described by new VW Group boss Herbert Diess as ``the versatile car``. However, while the Golf has continually topped sales charts across Europe, bosses want to strengthen the brand`s position in the hot hatch segment. At the moment, the Golf R has been left trailing by rivals from Honda, Mercedes and Audi.

``The R brand is going extreme,`` VW`s sales and marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann told Auto Express. ``The role of R is that it can go beyond the rational; nobody needs a compact car with 400bhp, but is there a place [for it?]. Certainly, and that`s the turf of R.``

The exact mechanical layout of the next Golf R has yet to be confirmed, but the new 400bhp powertrain is expected to stick closely to the set-up in today`s model. That means a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo under the bonnet, VW`s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

Mild-hybrid 48v technology could also play a role in the next Golf R, as VW has already confirmed the set-up will be rolled out across the Mk8 Golf range. The mild-hybrid tech would give the Golf R an electrical boost under hard acceleration, while also aiding fuel economy during stop-start traffic.

As well as a boost in performance, VW will give the next Golf R a more aggressive look over today`s model. Previewed by our exclusive images, the hot hatch will clearly be marked out as the flagship Golf through its more liberal use of carbon fibre, more aggressive bumper designs and quad tailpipes.

Stackmann added: ``With a little more expressive design, R can go beyond the rational side of things. It [the R brand] can find its place in a different league of pure performance and there`s a space where customers are willing to pay a significant amount of money.``

Beyond the Golf, VW also has plans to broaden its R portfolio with two new additions: the T-Roc R and Tiguan R will increase the line-up to three models and give VW credible rivals to the upcoming Audi SQ2 and Audi SQ5 respectively.

Once the R brand has strengthened its position, VW will turn its attention to the I.D. electric car range. ``The I.D. R Pikes Peak car shows that the R strategy needs a dimension on the electric world,`` Stackmann explained. ``It cannot stick to just conventional powertrain solutions – it is a new dimension to our brand.``

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