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An electric Volkswagen R will be here in five years

Enjoy petrol-powered Golf Rs while you still can: R's being reinvented

“If there is a future for R it must be electric.” A bold statement by Volkswagen board member Jurgen Stackmann, stating that the company’s big performance brand must move forwards. And rather soon.

“We should be able to deliver something meaningful in under five years. We’ve initiated some plans for cars in between – there are some great R models going forward – but we are really thinking about what do we do with them. If you are on the way to zero emissions, but you then unload some cars into the world with even more horsepower, you need to give a response of what you’re going to do afterwards. But clearly the future of R is electric and it’s Jost Capito’s job to find solutions for that.”

Capito being a man who voiced concerns to Top Gear earlier in the year about quite how to make electric cars fun after the extreme novelty of their boistrous acceleration has worn off.

“You just have to rethink,” says Stackmann. “You need to define what R is in the future. Just pressing the pedal and going forwards quickly is not the answer. It’s a great challenge for our engineers – and an opportunity.

“Clearly, in the world as we know it, R means high-output internal combustion engines. It will now move to higher-output plug-in hybrids - that is coming with Touareg – and from then onwards it’ll be R electric. But we need to get firm on that vision fast. That’s the fantastic element of this challenge, it forces you to take real action.”

We can expect numerous more records and stunts from the ID.R racecar in the meantime, too. “The wonderful thing with ID.R – same as what Tesla did on the road – is it sends a signal that electric is fun,” says Stackmann.

“It’s a huge inspiration to our own teams, everyone is following what ID.R is doing around the world. We have withdrawn from world rally and gone to just one car going around the world doing crazy stuff, and it is attracting huge amounts of people. We have a lot more plans with that car going forward.”

So, let’s hypothesise the end of that project yields an ID.3 R hot hatch. Like the sound of it? Or will you miss the mighty old Golf R?

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