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Volkswagen R division going electric, executive says

VW is all-in on electric cars, and the hot R division won't be left out of the electrification party.

Electrification is in R's future.
Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The future of Volkswagen's performance-oriented R division is electric. Well, at least electrified, according to VW Group board member Jurgen Stackmann.

The executive told Top Gear in an interview published last Friday the go-fast brand's future is "vibrant," though it's "going electric." He questioned, however, whether R will represent all-electric performance, or if some other division will take up the mantle. There's a big difference between an all-electric car and an electrified car. The latter can simply mean a basic hybrid system implemented to work with the engine.

A VW spokesperson declined to comment beyond Stackmann's comments.

Then again, Volkswagen decided to name its banner electric race car the ID R, and make no mistake: It's all electric and very, very fast. As in, it demolished the EV lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. On the other hand, the VW Touareg R represents an electrified take on the R badge with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 matched with a single electric motor and battery. The e-motor makes roughly 130 horsepower, while the engine cranks out 336. The grand total comes in at 466 hp, and it can still be somewhat efficient, thanks to the hybrid system.

And there's no indication we'll see any form of electrification from the upcoming Golf R. So, for now, we can still enjoy R as it is, but there will surely be more batteries in VW's fastest cars in the future.

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First published May 18.