Performance is starting to be about weight. BMW, Audi and Mercedes performance divisions have all announced that their next generation of high-performance cars will shed weight by dropping a few cylinders and instead use turbochargers to achieve go-fast status. Now one of Germany’s less premium brands is about to go down the same path, and this road leads to the U.S.
We’ve already seen the first images of the new Vokswagen GTI . Now the folks over at Car and Driver are saying that an even hotter version will make it to these shores. The U.S. already had its shot at the R32, but it was a tough sell . The R32 had a 3.2-liter V6 that yielded 50 more horsepower and had all-wheel, but the added weight and hefty price did not attract enough buyers. So the next generation will take a simpler formula.
VW is rumored to be taking the 2.0-liter turbo four that’s already going into the GTI and increase the boost to yield 270 hp (20 more than the R32.) The technology for this one (tentatively called the R20) should be plenty cheep, too. The car will likely using mechanics already at work in the Audi S3 , which means all-wheel drive is still on the table. Just like the R32, the largest visual distinctions between the GTI and the R20 will likely be a special body kit.
So less weight, better performance, and possibly lower price (or at least better value for money), the R-series Golf/Rabbit may finally find many good homes in North America when it arrives by the end of 2009.