Volkswagen Golf Variant Goes From Hydrogen Green to R Performance Blue in LA

The Golf Variant, or SportWagen as the Americans are getting to call it, is not the most impressive-looking car ever to wear a Volkswagen badge. It's long body starts as sleek as that of a regular Golf, but ends in a stubby trunk that makes even soccer moms turn their noses. Yet, at this year Los Angeles Auto Show, it's the basis of not one but two amazing vehicles.
Volkswagen Golf R Variant and HyMotion 11 photos
Photo: Newspress
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Minimum Impact: Golf HyMotion

The German automaker has just taken the wraps off its Golf SportWagen HyMotion, a fuel cell research vehicle based on the wagon version of the Golf. From the outside, it looks like any other car, but power comes from a hydrogen fuel cell that motivates an electric motor generating up to 136 PS / 134 hp / 100 kW. This in turn enables the car to reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in 10 seconds.

Just like the A7 h-tron we just showed you, the hydrogen for the fuel cell is stored in four carbon-fiber tanks that replace the conventional gas tank and fill the space where the exhaust would have been. After been re-filled in only 3 minuted, the Golf HyMotion will travel for up to 310 miles (500 km).

Volkswagen says it could put the technology into production, making the Golf the only car in the world to be available with petrol, diesel, hybrid, EV and fuel cell powertrains. However, even though the technology promises to significantly reduce the auto industry's environmental impact, Volkswagen says the the HyMotion is too expensive and the fuel it uses isn't widely available yet.

Maximum Fun: Golf R Variant / SportWagon

Along with its 100 kW Hindemburg on wheels, Volkswagen also brought a car you can but, or rather you will be able to buy in a few months. They took the very impressive 300 PS engine and all-wheel drive system from the Golf R hot hatch and put it into the body of a wagon. The result is a car with over 600 liters of boot space that can outrun a Nissan 370Z sportscar.

Like its hatchback sibling, the R Variant is powered by a 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged TSI petrol engine which develops 300 PS from 5,500 to 6,200 rpm.  Maximum torque of 380 Nm is available from just 1,800 rpm. A six-speed DSG gearbox will be fitted as standard, together with sports suspension and 4Motion all-wheel drive.

The powertrain is set up for speed, but can be comfortable and refined at the same time. It's not quite as efficient as the fuel cell car, but with CO2 emissions of 163 grams per kilometer, it's pretty efficient.

Even though it's making its debut at the Los Angels Auto Show, the super-wagon from VW is not approved yet for US dealerships. The reason? Golf 7 sales aren't all that good and they don't know how buyers will take to a wagon that costs $40,000 as standard.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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