A Volkswagen executive in Australia has admitted the Wolfsburg-based brand is “evaluating” the use of Audi Sport's turbocharged five-cylinder engine in the Golf R after a 2,5-litre prototype was spotted testing at the Nürburgring Nordschleife once again.

Speaking to Motor, Todd Ford, product manager for Volkswagen Australia, said the German automaker’s R division was “looking at new engines and technologies”.

“It’s a bit of an arms race, constantly. Sometimes we look to other power sources so it’s great for our market to have that drive to have a greater performance product; it’s just the R division working on that,” the executive told the Australian publication.

“It’s their car, so it’s just them testing the five-cylinder engine as a large percentage of their work is evaluating and looking at new engines and technologies to see if there’s a business case for putting something to the market.

“Certainly there are no plans that we’ve been made aware of, but it certainly wouldn’t be the only thing they’re evaluating in terms of different drivetrains,” he added.

Of course, the Golf R400 didn’t ever make it to production, with news of its demise (seemingly at the hands of Dieselgate) making headlines back in April 2016. Subsequent reports suggested that the Golf R400 could be revived, but likely only in the eighth generation.

Earlier speculation suggested VW could be cooking up a hardcore Golf 7 special-edition to see off the current generation. But if this is indeed the case, Volkswagen is running out of time to introduce this swansong, what with Golf 8 production due to commence in June 2019.