Volkswagen is making moves to shorten its vehicle life cycles from seven to five years (with a mid-cycle update after the first three years) in an attempt to keep up with its American and Asian rivals. The first of its models to adopt this shorter life cycle will be the Golf, which is expected to receive a mid-cycle update for the 2018 model year and undergo a complete redesign for 2020. And the good news is that the sporty GTI and Golf R variants will also be renewed along the way.

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Automobile is reporting that the new versions of the GTI and Golf R will produce substantially more power than their current versions. The magazine also reports that there will be a third performance variant, a range-topping Golf RS, that’s set to become a permanent fixture in the Golf lineup. This Golf RS is likely to be introduced in the current MkVII Golf range in the form of a production version of 2014’s Golf R 400 concept, a prototype for which we’ve already spied.

With the Golf RS expected to pack as much as 400 horsepower—yes, an insane figure for a Golf—that leaves room for engineers to turn up the wick on the GTI and Golf R. According to Automobile, the next GTI will pack as much as 300 hp and the next Golf R as much as 350 hp. That’s well up on the 210 hp (220 hp with optional performance pack) of the current GTI and 292 hp of the current Golf R.

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The basis for the next Golf will be an upgraded version of the flexible MQB platform found in the current model. Referred to internally as MQB Evo, the upgraded platform will offer further weight savings and more powertrain options. It’s likely some of these performance variants will feature an electrified drivetrain. A clue comes in the form of VW’s recent Golf GTE Sport concept, which also hints at the styling we can expect for the next Golf. The concept featured a plug-in hybrid system with 395 hp on tap.

Note, we won’t have to wait until the next Golf arrives for a more powerful GTI. VW will introduce a 261-hp GTI next year to mark the nameplate’s 40th anniversary. A preview of this more powerful GTI came in the form of the recent GTI Clubsport concept.


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