For years, Volkswagen has had no real high-performance offerings in North America other than the limited-production R32, but now it appears to be preparing a full line of performance cars with the creation of the Volkswagen R GmbH division. Like Mercedes-Benz's AMG, BMW's M and Cadillac's V-series, the R line should give VW some capable performance cars, and it is likely that the first to reach North America will be the Volkswagen Golf R next year. From there, expect a full line of performance vehicles from Volkswagen including the Volkswagen Touareg, Volkswagen CC and even the Volkswagen Jetta.
The newly formed Volkswagen R GmbH employs more than 350 people in its Warmenau, Germany headquarters, and the current offerings already include the Golf R, the Scirocco R and the Passat CC R-Line in Europe. The General Manager of Volkswagen R GmbH, Ulrich Riestenpatt gt. Richter, said that the new R line will not only add to the current growth of VW as a brand, it will also add more emotion to the vehicles. This is likely to occur through better performance and handling capabilities and more aggressive vehicle designs. Judging by the changes made to the 2010 VW Golf R compared a base sixth-generation Golf, it's easy to see VW is on the right track.
Like the R32, the Golf R features a sportier exterior look which is backed up by improved performance. Instead of the heavy VR6 engine used in the R32, the Golf R uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to produce more than 260 horsepower at 6,000 rpm with acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 6.5 seconds. It is not yet clear as to what the U.S.-spec Golf R will be named, but recent speculation includes GTI-R, Golf R20 or simply, the R20.
Future R models could include the next-generation Jetta which may have been hinted at with the 2010 Volkswagen New Compact Coupe Concept that was unveiled this year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. VW is also planning a new midsize sedan that could replace Passat, and it will be built in VW's all-new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.