Confirmed: VW’s ‘R’ performance brand will go electric | Top Gear
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Sunday 1st October

Confirmed: VW’s ‘R’ performance brand will go electric

You’ll see a combustion-engined Golf R this year, but in the future?

Published: 15 May 2020

The new, Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R will be revealed later this year; a four-wheel-drive, 2.0-litre turbo’d hot hatch that will most probably tick your ‘yeah this car will do everything I need’ box. But in the future, a Volkswagen R model – the fast, exciting, annoyingly competent performance ones – will look altogether different.

Because it’ll be electric. VW Group board member Jürgen Stackmann confirmed to that while the future of VW’s R performance arm is ‘vibrant’, it’s also “going electric”.

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“The future of R needs to be, and will be, electric,” he said. “We’re still working on what we started two and half years ago – which was obviously not electric, though exciting – but the work going forward is and will be electrified.”

He pointed to the recent unveil of the Touareg R – the first R-badged VW model with a hybrid powertrain. Stackmann noted that whether the R brand goes full-electric, or indeed another ‘in-house’ brand takes on the Teslas of this world, “needs to be seen”.

To give you some idea of potential performance, that incoming hybrid Touareg R matches a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine (336bhp) with a 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery stuffed into the boot, powering an electric motor that provides an additional 130bhp. VW quotes total power as 456bhp. Respectable, no doubt.

And of course, VW has been merrily smashing every record under heaven with its ground-breaking I.D. R (pictured above, as if you needed reminding), and tech from that rocketship will no doubt influence and inform future R-badged road cars.

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But we’re a way off. In the meantime, we’re promised ‘more stories around R that will probably surprise and amaze you’. “Clearly, I’m excited to carry the news of R into the next generation, stronger than ever I would say,” Stackmann added.

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