Speaking with the executive director and marketing chief of the R brand at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Autoblog's Damon Lavrinc uncovered an interesting tidbit: diesels are on the way, stated in no uncertain terms.
Unfortunately, uncertainty enters the picture as to when; it's just some non-committal "future" time frame. Pairing diesel with the Golf R's hot-hatchy platform could be a winning idea, for both performance and efficiency enthusiasts (not to mention spec racers, should VW decide to push the Golf instead of the Jetta for its TDI Cup series), but as noble and interesting as the idea may be, it's still little more than marketing spiel at present.
Perhaps more enticingly yet equally vaguely, the R gurus went on to talk about weight reduction as an avenue toward greater efficiency, arguing that the gains of a hybrid drivetrain could be had with as little as 220 pounds of weight loss. While we're not so sure the numbers would bear that out, particularly with regard to highway fuel economy where acceleration doesn't come into play as often, lighter is better when it comes to performance.
However, the talk about lighter cars was also couched in the nether-realm, though this time, the R chief temporized with talk about the expense of composite materials--a matter with which we're very familiar.