Volkswagen is cashing in on the award-winning Golf by spinning off one new variant after another, all in a bid to help replace Toyota as the world’s biggest carmaker by 2018.
The standard front-drive, seventh-generation Golf hatchback of 2012 was followed in 2013 by the front-drive GTi, followed this year by the front-drive Golf station wagon and a Performance-badged version of the GTi, followed last week in New Zealand by the all-wheel-drive Golf R, the flyer in the line-up.
Now photographers from spy agency Automedia have captured the Golf R all-wheel-drive wagon testing on Germany’s Nurburgring circuit. Not only that but they found yet another Golf variant on a public road leading to the circuit, this one escorted by two official VW support vehicles. One cameraman said the “support crew were clearly less than amused to see us at work.”
There is speculation in German motoring media that the GTi with the Wiechers badge (Wiechers is a motorsport development team) is in fact a sanctioned VW prototype with lowered suspension, front and rear spoilers and an upgraded 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers around 190kW – about 27kW more than the Performance GTi and roughly 30 fewer kilowatts than the Golf R. Reports say it is likely to be badged the Golf GTi Club Sport and used in a special motorsport series.
There is just as much speculation around the Golf R wagon. VW has acknowledged that it is indeed testing the all-wheel-drive car but says it hasn’t decided whether to put it into production. One obvious rival, if not in price, would be the in-house Audi A4 Avant.
If VW does decide to build it, the load-lugger will come with the same performance modifications as the Golf R hatchback, including its boosted 221kW engine.