ABT’s VW Golf R Moves To Rival Audi RS3 With 400BHP

Super hot hatches such as the Mercedes-AMG A45 and Audi RS3 Sportback have a clear (power) advantage over one of the most popular cars of the segment – the Volkswagen Golf R.

However, with ABT Sportsline’s upgrades, this potent version of the Golf reaches new heights, ending up in the same zone as the aforementioned models.

But enough talk, let’s focus on the most important aspect – numbers: 400PS (394hp) and 500Nm (369lb-ft) of torque produced by the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that powers the Golf R, a 30 percent, or 100PS (99hp) and 100Nm (74lb-ft) of torque, increase over the stock car.

The tuner went even further and fitted this hot hatch turned super hatch with optional suspension springs that lower it by 20mm (0.8in) at the front and 25mm (0.98in) at the rear. Additionally, a height adjustable suspension kit can be ordered as well, making it sit closer to the ground by 40mm (1.6in) at the front and 45mm (1.8in) at the rear.

More powerful 6-piston brakes are also on the options list, alongside the rear muffler with 102mm (4in) outlets, finished in black chrome, various wheel patterns and sizes, from 18- to 20-inch, new side skirts, and tailgate add-on.


  • SteersUright

    I recently learned the Haldex AWD is front biased in this nose heavy car?! What a massive disappointment. Until this thing has a proper Focus RS challenging rear-biased AWD layout with proper mechanical torque vectoring, its an overpriced, underpowered toy in my opinion. A nice toy, but no real value here to me.

    • Vassilis

      The Focus is front-biased as well. It sends power to the rear wheels when the fronts lose traction. Only in drift mode is it rear-biased. Certainly it’s a more fun car but at that price the Golf is nicer overall. More comfortable as an every-day car, nicer inside and the power and some fun is still there if you want it. It’s also cheaper to run.

      • SteersUright

        I agree with everything you said and if the Golf R was closer to $31k like the Civic Type R, then the performance limitations are more acceptable. Stickering at or above $40k, the haldex AWD setup with its inherent understeer issues is not fun, does not imbue the car with confidence and ability to dance through corners, and unacceptable from a company that has a ton of excellent AWD hardware in its corporate parts bin thanks to the myriad of other performance cars that share a chassis with this one.

        • Vassilis

          I think you don’t know very much about the car and you’re forming an opinion based on pre-conceptions. Pretty much every review has said the opposite to what you believe. The car is quite neutral. Only above the limit does it understeer as do many cars since they’re set up with safety in mind. It does inspire confidence, it is agile and when driven hard it’s fun as well. More so than the S3 which is essentially an identical car, tuned in a slightly different way.

          Regarding giving it a different AWD system, I’m not sure it can get Audi’s torsen-equipped quattro since that’s only fitted to longitudinal engines. If I’m not mistaken, even the RS3 has the same Haldex system but probably with a more aggressive tune.

          • SteersUright

            You’re right, I’d love to drive it but its some protected halo car in most VW dealerships, so I dont bother. Im basing my thoughts on several factors and these include: high price $40k = high expectations. When most reviews say a Focus RS can dance circles around it and feels way more exciting, its a genuine let down to me. Also, from Randy Probst to nearly all Euro reviewers, many all like the Golf R as a day to day proposition, but all have said it isn’t nearly as exciting as the Focus RS, like the others have mentioned. Again, were this a $30k car to take on the Civic R ($32k), I’d back off and say “hey, good job”. But at $40k, dont you think it would be a much more compelling package with close to 400hp and a proper rear-biased AWD with torque vectoring like a mini-GTR for the average Joe? And while Im dreaming, how about some wider fenders on the thing so it looks more special with a mean, wider track and less like a fast refrigerator lying on its side?

          • Vassilis

            OK wait, first things first. There’s no doubt the R isn’t as much fun as the Focus. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun car at all. It would have definitely been much better if it was like you say but it would have also been more expensive. They say, do you want a mini GT-R (sort of)? Pay double or something and get the RS3.

          • SteersUright

            The RS3 was met with pretty poor reviews. Most said that the powertrain somehow did much better in the TTRS and was almost lifeless in the RS3. It suffered from the same issues that plague the Golf R, S3, massive, fun killing understeer, a harsh ride, and a distinct lack of agility. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Golf R, more so than the RS3 actually (which is WAY overpriced), I just think it doesn’t make a strong case for itself at $40k given its capabilities and should’ve rung in at $32k to compete directly with Civic Type R. It lacks the Focus RS’ abilities and perfomance tech and should be cheaper as a result, despite the “fancy” interior and softer ride.

          • Vassilis

            I think you haven’t read the facelift RS3’s reviews. They’re praising that one. It seems like Audi finally got it right. It is very expensive though.

            Regarding the R, thing is that’s it’s AWD and VW also has the GTI taking up the 30k space in the FWD hot hatch segment. It’s more like Honda pricing the Civic competitively in the US instead of VW pricing the R wrong. If that one was at 30, how much would the GTI cost? The R costs that much because it’s a different proposition. In the Focus you mostly pay for the mechanical bits. In the Golf you mostly pay for the nicer trim and the day to day use. Depending on your needs you decide accordingly.

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