VW spokesman Thomas Wegehaupt informs dismayed hot hatch fans everywhere that the Rabbit-based R32
hatch will be taking at least a one-year hiatus. Cars.com
finds this a bit of a strange move, as the redesigned R32
hadn't even been on sale for a full year.
Further, they muse that the reason for the '09 omission could be the redesigned '09 Golf/Rabbit
heading to the U.S. market next year. That vehicle was revealed at the recent '08 Paris Auto Show
. Being that the R32 resides on the Golf/Rabbit chassis, they reason that we might need to wait a year or two into production of the new model before a suitably updated R32 comes into being.
But with future hi-po versions of the Golf/Rabbit GTI rumored to come equipped with the uprated version of VW's 2.0-liter TFSI powerhouse (260-plus horsepower, as in upcoming performance versions of the Audi TT), will the 250-horse R32 become an obsolete engine and trim? Plus, with the R32's higher curb weight due to equipment-intensive all-wheel drive, and thirstier V-6, one could make a convincing argument that the niche-oriented R32 isn't a wise bet for a tough market and rising energy costs.
If you're one of those dismayed fans, better jump in the queue: Cars.com's inventory claim a total of only 276 R32s in the U.S. at present.--Colin Mathews
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