Volkswagen Golf R power dropped down to 296bhp due to WLTP emissions rules

Volkswagen's top hot hatch follows the SEAT Leon Cupra with a reduction in power to appease new emissions laws

Best hot hatchbacks - Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen has downgraded the power of its flagship Golf R hot hatch, meaning that the firm’s Honda Civic Type R rival now develops 296bhp.

The reduction in power from 306bhp is as a result of new WLTP fuel economy and CO2 regulations, and the tighter emission demands brought about by the new directives.

Best hot hatchbacks on sale 2018

A Volkswagen spokesperson told Auto Express: “In the context of new homologations, there are adaptions for the exhaust gas treatment and for the power output. From now on, all Golf R models will feature a 300 PS [296bhp] engine.”

The Golf R is the second turbocharged 2.0-litre hot hatch from the Volkswagen Group to have its power output decreased as a result of WLTP. Last week, SEAT confirmed it would dial down the power of the Leon Cupra 300, dropping it back to its previous total of 286bhp and rebadging the model the Leon Cupra 290.

Golf Rs on order now will be fitted with a more restrictive exhaust system that further reduces nitrous oxide emissions.

The drop in power to abide by WLTP seems to have prompted some minor changes to the Golf R line-up in the UK as well. Volkswagen has confirmed that the three-door versions of the Golf R have been dropped, although some existing stock is still available through dealers. Meanwhile, according to VW's online configurator, the car’s manual gearbox option has also been deleted, meaning all factory ordered cars will be DSG models from now on.

Read our rundown of the best hot hatchbacks on sale 2018

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