Volkswagen R Aims to Break Away and Unleash Electric Performance Vehicles

New R Section to be Added at VW Theme Park in Wolfsburg.

The inception of Volkswagen R dates back to 2002, when the Golf R32 was introduced. This was followed by the debut of the Passat R sedan/wagon in 2008, and a year later, the Scirocco R. The Polo R WRC joined the lineup in 2013. In more recent times, the “R” moniker has been utilized for high-performance variants of the Arteon liftback/wagon, as well as the T-Roc, Tiguan, and Touareg SUVs. Looking ahead, VW has plans for R to become a standalone brand by 2024.

The intention is to unveil a specialized division for Volkswagen R at Autostadt, the renowned amusement park situated in Wolfsburg. In case you haven’t had the chance to experience it yet, Autostadt is a popular destination in close proximity to the manufacturer’s facility, following a similar concept to the BMW Welt in Munich. Each year, approximately two million visitors flock to Autostadt and its diverse pavilions dedicated to various VW Group brands, spanning from Skoda and SEAT to Audi and Lamborghini. Joining the ranks this summer, the R section will cover an impressive area of 1,076 square feet.

Enthusiasts of Volkswagen’s high-performance vehicles are in for a treat as they will get the chance to view both concept cars and exclusive production models. Significantly, there will also be electric models exhibiting impressive performance. VW has announced that their R lineup will undergo gradual transformations in the next few years with the introduction of electrified sports cars. This process is already in motion, with the Touareg R equipped with a plug-in hybrid V6 engine.

Despite advances in electric and hybrid technology, the traditional internal combustion engine is still holding strong. This can be seen with the upcoming release of the Golf R facelift, set to debut this summer. However, one disappointment for many car enthusiasts is the absence of a manual gearbox in this new version. While this may not be a problem in Europe, where the Mk8 model was never available with a manual option, it will definitely be missed by US enthusiasts.

Volkswagen’s choice to create a separation between R (previously known as Volkswagen Individual GmbH) and their main brand began in 2020 when it established itself as an independent business unit. Other brands within the VW Group, such as SEAT, took it a step further by launching separate models under their US-based Cupra spin-off line. Similarly, Audi has also established a separate division, Audi Sport, to oversee their performance vehicles.

In terms of what lies ahead, VW has announced that the next generation Golf will be fully electric. Could this potentially include an electric R model? Only time will tell, but it is probable that an electric GTI will be released first. The company’s lineup already includes sporty EVs with the GTX range offering higher performance, including the upcoming ID. Buzz GTX MPV.

At present, R is thriving with a production of over 35,000 cars in 2023, setting a new record for the brand. Since 2002, more than 300,000 R-branded cars have been purchased.

Source: Volkswagen

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