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Volkswagen just killed its most exciting car

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Volkswagen

Maybe you're into the Budd-e. Maybe you're excited about the new Tiguan crossover. Maybe you just like a good, sensible family sedan like the Passat.

I want none of those things. I just wanted the Golf R 400, and Dieselgate has taken it away from me.

As a refresher, the R 400 was the most insane variant of the iconic hot hatch, featuring a 2-liter, 395-horsepower engine derived from Volkswagen's rally racing program. It promised 0-60 in under 4 seconds and an array of design features that made it look even more aggressive than the (already awesome) Golf R. The R 400 debuted in 2014 as a concept, and against all odds, VW committed to actually build it — but now, Automotive News reports that the car, a project of R&D chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser, died when he was forced to leave the company over the diesel emissions scandal.

I was worried this was coming

I was worried this was coming. VW CEO Matthias Müller has said that there'd be a lot of belt-tightening in the wake of Dieselgate, and making a low-volume exotic version of the Golf doesn't make a ton of financial sense. Still, the budding rivalry between the new Ford Focus RS and the Golf R was going to be made much more exciting with the production of the R 400 — and more broadly, it's always entertaining to see a car company make a ridiculous version of the car. Clearly, there is nothing not ridiculous about a 395-horsepower Golf.

If there's a silver lining, it's that the R 400's engine will probably live on in "future Audi models," Automotive News says. (It's not in the TT RS that was just announced in Beijing, though, since that uses a 5-cylinder mill.) That's fine, but it's no Golf.

I hope that systematically evading emissions standards for years was worth it, Volkswagen, because you've managed to ruin my day.


Dieselgate explained