Volkswagen put this teaser image on its Facebook page with the caption, "We're launching an NFT (Notably Fast Transporter). Coming February 2022." Other than identifying the car as a Golf, and being certain Volkswagen isn't talking about releasing a non-fungible token, we have nothing but guesses as to what the image signifies. Playing with the image in Photoshop, we didn't find an overtly go-fast appendage beyond the hatch spoiler which here appears elevated above and shaped differently than the hatch spoiler on current hot Golf hatches like the GTI, GTE, and GTD.
It looks more like the unit on the Golf R, and if we were to start there while paging through a couple of years of Golf rumors, we come upon a nugget from Car magazine in February 2019 that could line up. The UK outlet wrote that VW would release a GTI Cup for the Mk8 Golf lineup, the new trim a regular production version of the limited-edition GTI TCR the appeared with the last of the Mk7 Golf lineup in Europe. The new model was said to slot between the GTI and the Golf R, although Car claimed it would be more powerful than the R, the GTI Cup marshaling the same 286 horsepower and 273 pound-feet as the GTI TCR did and being "the sportiest Golf by a clear margin."
There'd be more aero, a lowered ride height, big wheels and brakes, and a diff lock. Furthermore, as with the GTI TCR, buyers could pay to have the top-speed-limiting chip removed. However, instead of only getting an extra seven miles per hour, for a 162-mph top speed, an unrestricted Mk8 GTI Cup would run to 166 mph. Admittedly, this sounds more like the GTI Clubsport 45 that showed up in Europe last year, but again, all of this is shots in the dark at the teased image and it's clear something new is coming. It could perhaps be an evolution of the Clubsport for American audiences and without the 45th-anniversary overtones.
A more recent theory is that this is the Golf R Plus predicted in April 2020, bringing something around 400 horsepower from its 2.0-liter engine, and touching 60 miles per hour in under four seconds. This was the model that high-level VW execs couldn't agree on even making, the one presaged by the Golf R 400 concept from 2014, the one that wanted to borrow Audi's 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine to be an even sharper competitor against Audi's own hot hatches and forcing Audi to reply, "You must be nuts."
In any case, we'll find out for sure what this is next month.
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