L.A. Auto Show: Volkswagen debuts Golf R 400, GTI Roadster concepts

You’re such a tease, Volkswagen.

The German automaker is using the Los Angeles Auto Show to show off three versions of its iconic Golf that may never actually go on sale in the U.S: the Golf R 400 concept, the Golf R Wagon and the GTI Roadster.

The thinking behind presenting this trio of off-limit models in Southern California is that the L.A. Show is international in scope with plenty of folks back in Germany paying attention to what happens here. The timing of the show also made sense for at least the one model that is definitely reaching production abroad.

That model is the Golf R Wagon, based on the performance-tuned Golf R hatchback. The wagon version has the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 296 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.


This motor is connected to a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission that sends power to all four-wheels. This helps the Golf R wagon do 5.1-second zero-60 mph runs.

Other upgrades to the base Golf Wagon include a lowered sport suspension, sport-tuned steering system, an adaptive suspension damping system, four chrome exhaust tips, and LED daytime lights.

The Golf R Wagon hits the market in Europe next spring.

On the concept side of the VW booth, the automaker is toying with the idea of an uber-spicy version of the Golf hatchback, dubbed the Golf R 400.

This car dials the current production Golf R up to 11, cranking out an impressive 394 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque from a small race-derived 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

With an advanced all-wheel-drive system, a six-speed manual transmission and a light 3,130-pound curb weight, the R 400 scoots from zero-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. That means it would spank a Porsche 911 GTS in a straight line.

VW hasn’t confirmed that it will actually build this car, but it definitely seems like the automaker wants to. It’s been trotting the Golf R 400 to various auto shows around the globe and it’s certainly feasible from a production standpoint.

If it does reach dealers, save your pennies. The lesser Golf R that goes on sale early next year will start at $37,415, so a production R 400 model could sneak up close to $50,000.


Finally, in the never-in-a-million-years department, VW displayed the GTI Roadster, a wild one-off concept car that is the Golf’s GTI model distilled down to its most extreme version.

The car is a real-life version of a digital concept created for Sony Playstation’s “Gran Turismo 6.” Highlights include a chopped windshield, no roof, massive rear wing glued to the back and ripping V-6 wedged under the hood.

That concept engine is a twin-turbocharged V-6 that makes 503 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel-drive.

Twitter: @latimes_driven