Volkswagen’s turbodiesel engines have long delivered exceptional fuel economy, but their performance can sometimes be lacking, even in the GTI-inspired Golf GTD. That would change if a twin-turbodiesel Golf GTD R is greenlighted by Volkswagen, as Motoring.com.au reports it might be.
The new MQB vehicle architecture means that drivetrains can be more easily swapped between different vehicles, and the Golf could be in line to get the Passat’s BiTurbo 2.0 liter engine. Adding this engine to the smaller and lighter Golf could make for a very potent R version, but with a more efficient and torquey diesel engine rather than the conventional gas motor. And while the 236 horsepower of the 2.0 liter engine falls short of the gas-powered Golf R’s 290 horsepower, the 368 lb-ft of torque from the diesel mill more than makes up for it. The Golf GTI makes 258 lb-ft of torque, and the R version makes just 280, while the electric e-Golf comes in at a decent 199 lb-ft of pulling power.
It would also make it the most powerful diesel engine ever installed by Volkswagen into a production Golf, and in the much larger Passat the BiTurbo 2.0 returned fuel economy of 5.3 liters/100 km, or about 44 MPG. There are complications though, specifically to do with the weight of the diesel engine; stuffed under the hood of the lighter and smaller Golf will mean sacrificing handling, especially if it lacks the Passat’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system.
The question of if we’re ever going to get a performance-minded Golf GTD R remains open-ended, but the idea of a 40+ MPG hot hatchback with almost as much torque as a Chevy Camaro has tremendous potential. The issue will be overcoming the heavy front end, as the GTI has always been known as a quick and nimble competitor, and even with all that stump-pulling power, this idea might be better in theory than in practice.