Volkswagen cancels 400-hp Golf R

The company realized there's no demand for a mega hatch.

The on-again, off-again Volkswagen Golf R400 concept introduced at the 2014 Beijing auto show will remain at the prototype stage, the company has confirmed. One of its top officials argued there's no demand for the car.

"We did research and customers don't want it. They want around 300 horsepower, and a price tag below '50,000. To move up to 400 horsepower, you lose 50 percent of the sales volume, and increase the cost of ownership," explained Volkswagen R boss Jost Capito in an interview with Top Gear.

Billed as a mega hatch, the R400 (pictured) was canceled at the last minute. We've seen it testing on road and track several times, first with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 400 horsepower, and later with a turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder borrowed from the Audi RS 3 and tuned to deliver nearly 420 horses. It used 4Motion all-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic transmission in both configurations.

400 horsepower is too much in a hot hatch, but the next-generation Golf R is widely expected to exceed the 300-horsepower rating of the current, seventh-generation car. Volkswagen board member Jürgen Stackmann told Digital Trends that the model will be "great," and he added it will join a growing line-up of R models that will include the recently-unveiled T-Roc R, plus two additional cars that haven't been announced or unveiled yet. One of them could come to the United States to keep the Golf R company.

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