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VW Golf R400 spied testing

Angrier Golf R could spark Volkswagen-Audi family feud. 

An aggressively-styled VW Golf prototype believed to be the upcoming R400 hyper hatch has been spotted at the Nurburgring. 

Featuring wider front and rear tracks than the ordinary Golf R, along with bigger wheels and tyres, a roof spoiler and enlarged intercooler, the pumped up mule carries all the hallmarks of a future production model in the mold of the R400 concept. 

The R400 was shown at the Shanghai motor show last year, hinting at plans to develop a powered-up Golf to rival the Mercedes A45 AMG and Audi RS3

Recent reports suggest that VW Group powertrain boss Heinz-Jakob Neusser has already given the Golf R400 project the green light for production. 

The R400 packs a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 294kW (400hp, hence the name) and 450Nm.  

VW claims a 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds for the concept, making it comfortably faster than Audi’s hottest hatch, the RS3

As the premium brand, Audi has always had the upper hand when it comes to hot hatches in the VW Group, now however, it seems there could be a gloves-off sibling rivalry brewing between the two brands.

The R400 packs a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 294kW and 450Nm.

The R400’s numbers also represent a significant leap over the standard Golf R, which in Australia produces 206kW/380Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine and can hit 100km/h in 4.9 seconds. 

One of the main challenges of converting the R400 concept into a feasible production model is believed to be finding a gearbox that can handle its extra grunt. 

In order to appeal to a wide range of markets, the R400 would need to come with the option of a manual or an automatic gearbox. 

However, the six-speed dual-clutch automatic in the ordinary Golf R is only rated for up to 380Nm. 

It’s more likely the R400 will adopt the seven-speed unit found in the RS3. 

These spy images suggest the Golf R400 is in its early stages of development and therefore unlikely to go on sale until 2016.