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Future Volkswagen Golf R to live on as an electric model

Volkswagen will continue to produce the Golf R hot-hatch into the future as an EV, and here’s what it could look like

Volkswagen Golf R electric front CB
  • Fully electric powertrain
  • Possible arrival in 2028
  • Recently launched ‘GTX’ electric performance name likely to be discontinued

The Volkswagen Golf’s flagship R model is to live on into the electric car age as the performance variant of the brand’s iconic Golf model. Volkswagen boss Thomas Schafer confirmed that the next-generation electric Golf R could arrive as soon as 2028. Our exclusive renders show what the new Golf R could look like.

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We wouldn’t expect a major departure from the Golf’s current look for the future EV model, with nostalgia and familiarity acting as a major bridge between outgoing models of household names like the Golf and their future reinventions as EVs. 

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This familiarity is reflected in our render, with a conservatively styled front fascia design with simple lines, along with black trim pieces between the headlights and at the bottom of the bumper where an ICE model would require a grille. We can expect some tweaks in keeping with Volkswagen’s current design trajectory, such as a light bar between the headlights and rear lights as seen on other cars in the brand’s lineup.

When we spoke to Schafer at the Munich Motor Show, he commented that Volkswagen is set on keeping not only the Golf name, but also the Tiguan model and GTI moniker – the future of the latter was showcased with the ID. GTI concept in Munich, also Schafer denies this teases the next Golf GTI, given it’s not quite big enough to fit into the Golf’s shoes.

Volkswagen Golf R electric render

On whether the Golf will stay true to its ethos in the electric age, Schafer said: “There will be a Golf and it will be a true Golf in terms of package, driveability.” 

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When asked about the possibility of an R version, Schafer elaborated that “The GTI is two-wheel drive. The R technically is the four-wheel drive”, so the brand will make use of a platform called SSP which allows for this – “It’ll probably only be with the SSP platform because with R you need to really put another level on” – something Schafer says is not possible with the brand’s current MEB+ platform.

The news of the GTI and R nameplates living on into the future seemingly spells the end for the GTX branding for Volkswagen’s performance EV models, with Schafer commenting that “GTX was just an interim for the battery electric one, but we’re probably going to merge that in the long run.”

Likewise, with all Volkswagen models set to eventually go electric, the ID. branding for its EVs is likely to be phased out eventually, although nothing is set in stone, with Schafer admitting that another generation of ID.3 could come in the future: “if there’s another ID.3, a different body shape then, going into SSP, that’s not decided.”

There’s also set to be a smaller electric model named the ID.2 due on sale in 2025, notably not called the Polo – Schafer says it would be wrong to name it so given it’s likely to cost around €25,000 (£21,675); which is more than a Polo should cost.

If you want to know what we think of likely the last generation of Volkswagen Golf R with a combustion engine, read our in-depth review...

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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