It's cool, isn't it? Aggressive, angular, and quite literally ready to go, this is the ultimate beefed up Volkswagen Golf, the angry new "Concept" R 400. However quick, and however cool it may be though, it isn't the concept car Volkswagen should be looking to release.
Volkswagen already have another concept car stashed in their locker and ready to go; a "warm" version of their Up city car. Rumours have been flying around since 2012 that Volkswagen were going to release a spicier version of the little Up, with the plan being to badge it as an "Up GT". Boosted by a turbo charged version of its current 1.0l 3-cylinder engine, it would comfortably produce over 100bhp. A prototype of this car was even tested by journalists, but it was unfortunately held back due to Volkswagen's concerns about the lack of a market for the car. If there isn't market for an Up GT, how on earth is there one for a boosted Golf with flashy yellow trim?
Allow me to cast your mind back to the car above, VAG's last crazy hatchback; the Audi A1 Quattro. This was a car limited to a production run of 333 models costing £41,000. At the time there was no other hot A1 models, so this was an exciting, yet very exclusive little car. The A1 Quattro's purpose was surely to inspire the new Audi S1, and inspire it did. The Golf R 400 however is not in a position to breed a whole new car as we already have the Golf GTi and the standard Golf R. I think it's probably fair to assume the R 400 will cost around the same as the A1 Quattro did, so who and what is it actually for?
I can't claim I know the answer to that particular question, but I can say that I find it very hard to believe that there is more of a market for an R 400 than there is an Up GT. The Up is a truly fantastic car to drive in its standard form, never mind a sportier variant, and trust me when I say this; an Up GT is a new Mk.1 Golf GTi just waiting to happen. Lightweight, stylish, and imbued with an immensely positive and joyous driving spirit, I have no doubts that it would reignite that sacred but slowly dying philosophy of "slow car fast".
I fully believe that the Up GT is the concept car that Volkswagen should really be looking to release. It's a reigniting of a philosophy, and a rejuvenation of the spirit found in the original Golf GTI; the simplistic joy of driving. The R 400 will no doubt be blisteringly quick, but at the same time it will be overpriced and lacking any real character or emotion.
Many motorists are now crying out for something a little bit different, and they have what they want waiting in the wings. There's still a chance it will happen, and I really hope it does, because we all reminisce about those old classics, and the Up GT could bring that all back to life.
About me: I'm a writer for www.drivingspirit.com, and you can follow me on twitter @Jonny___X. You can also drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, thanks for reading!