Volkswagen’s 420-hp Golf R400 could take the top spot in the hot hatch hierarchy

Details are slowly starting to emerge about the production version of the Volkswagen Golf R400 concept, and it’s shaping up to be a searing-hot hatch that promises to make the competition look mild at best.

Surprisingly, the R400 (assuming that moniker is retained) will be based on the face-lifted version of the seventh-gen Golf that’s scheduled to make its public debut in 2017. The visual updates will be evolutionary at best so the R400 could end up looking a lot like the concept (pictured) that was presented at last year’s edition of the Beijing Motor Show.

The similarities between the concept and the production model will only be skin-deep, and that’s great news for driving enthusiasts. While the R400 show car packed a 395-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four, the street-legal version will reportedly up the ante with an evolution of the mill tuned to deliver at least 420 horsepower. If that figure is accurate, the R400’s four-banger will be considerably more powerful than both the turbocharged five-cylinder engine that powers Audi’s RS 3 and the 2.0-liter turbo four found under the hood of the Mercedes-AMG A45.

The 420 ponies will be distributed to all four wheels via a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission controlled by shift paddles and Volkswagen’s Haldex-type 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Power will be kept in check by a thoroughly redesigned suspension system, noticeably bigger brakes, and a new, more direct steering system. Expect the hot hatch to ship with a long list of electronic driving aids too.

In Europe, look for the hot-rodded Golf to carry a base price of approximately 55,000 euros, a sum that represents roughly $60,300 at the time of writing. It is too early to tell whether Volkswagen will sell the Golf R400 in the United States. At any rate, production will be extremely limited so it won’t be a common sight anywhere in the world.