Volkswagen GTI Clubsport is something old, new, borrowed, fast

See Full Image Gallery >>

As promised by last week's tease, the new Volkswagen GTI Clubsport, revealed just ahead of the weekend's racing at the Nuburgring. Truth be told, it's not far off the last GTI Clubsport introduced in 2021, emphasizing the ".5" in the Mk 8.5 Golf range. The previous version made 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet and could hit 62 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds. Despite the GTI gaining another 20 hp and dropping its dash from 0-62 mph by 0.3 seconds to 5.9 seconds, this newest Clubsport makes 296 hp and 295 lb-ft and does the dash in 5.9 seconds. VW also promised it would be the most powerful front-wheel-drive Golf ever, it's possible the automaker meant the most powerful series production Golf, since the two-seater 2016 GTI Clubsport S made 306 hp and 280 lb-ft but was limited to 400 units.

Enough with the disillusionment. Letting the basics roll on, VW focused on chassis refinement. There's more camber at the front wheels, and the front locking e-diff operates under expanded parameters. The suspension is said to deliver a more forgiving ride, and engineers tweaked the Vehicle Dynamic Manager that opens up a menu of changes to hardware like steering and damping. And get this, VW seconded Bugatti senior test driver Sven Bohnhorst to the Golf program to refine the steering tune. 

The uninitiated will know something's up with the black graphic along the door and perhaps the black adorning the stouter hatch spoiler. It'll take VW aficionados to pinpoint the red GTI badging, gloss black instead of plain black exterior trim elements and optional Akrapovic exhaust that's part of the Race Package. The Race Package also lifts the electronically limited top speed from 155 mph to 166 mph. Drivers caress a new leather-wrapped steering wheel and, just like in the last variant, activate a special driving profile that sets the car up for best performance on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, changing the lateral tuning profile of the standard steel suspension or the vertical responses of the adaptive DCC suspension. Standard wheels are 18-inch units called Richmond, the options sheet offer 19-inch Queenstown wheels and a 19-inch Warmenau forged aluminum wheel. Inside, with more red accents are splashed around the standard ArtVelour interior or optional leather interior.

Related video:

You Might Also Like