R-lite? Volkswagen unleashes new Golf GTI Clubsport as TCR replacement

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

Clubsport not only outpowers the GTI but also the outgoing Mk 7.5 GTI TCR with 221 kW as opposed to 213 kW.

Volkswagen has sprung a surprise overnight by unveiling the replacement for the Mk 7.5 Golf GTI TCR, the new GTI Clubsport.

Reviving the denominator previously used for a limited edition version of the Mk VII GTI, the Clubsport, for now, slots-in between the conventional GTI and the forthcoming R as the new most powerful front-wheel-drive production Golf available.

Using the same EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged engine as the GTI, Volkswagen has however added new fuel injectors, a tweaked ECU and a new intercooler to raise power from 180 kW to 221 kW with torque increasing from 370 Nm to 400 Nm. Paired to a toggle switch operated seven-speed DSG, the Clubsport will get from 0-100 km/h in “under six seconds” and hit the electronic buffers at 250 km/h.

Sitting 15 mm closer to the ground than the GTI and equipped with Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chassis Control system with four modes; Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual, sharper power steering and a two mode Electronic Stability Control system that can be partiality turned off in ESC Sport mode or completely in ESC Off, the Clubsport also gets a new electromechanical XDS front differential as standard, plus upgraded 18-inch front brakes.

Aesthetically, the Clubsport’s changes from the GTI are easy to spot in the shape of a new front bumper with a larger lower, honeycomb pattern air intake, black Clubsport graphics at the base of the front door, black side skirts as well as a black lip splitter, standard 18-inch Richmond or optional 19-inch alloy wheels, a high gloss black two-piece spoiler integrated into the roof and dual oval tipped exhaust outlets on either side of the faux diffuser.

More minor is the interior with the Clubsport touches consisting of a perforated leather sports steering wheel with red stitching, perforated leather sport seats with optional red stitch work, the 12.3-inch Active Info Display instrument cluster with specific graphics as standard, so-called ArtVelours trim on the doors, brushed stainless pedals, a black roofliner and additional red stitching on the floor mats and armrest.

No pricing has yet been revealed. Likely to be going on sale in Europe either towards the end of this year or in early 2021, the Clubsport, for now, doesn’t form part of the initial Mk 8 Golf line-up for South Africa, but chances are that this could possibly change next year.

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