Volkswagen bosses know that there is a small segment of their customers who like the Golf but think that the regular GTI is just a bit too tame for them. To address this need for more speed and power, the Germans have created a sporty version of the vehicle that is more race car than family hatchback: the GTI Clubsport. The latest installment of this Teutonic track toy with numberplates has been recently revealed and it looks exceedingly tasty. It even comes with a special Nurburgring driving mode.
Joining its GTI, GTE, and GTD siblings in the MkVIII Golf family lineup, the GTI Clubsport plays the role of the bad boy in this otherwise relatively civilized VW household. Its heart, the latest evolutionary stage of the EA888 TSI engine, has been tweaked and now pumps out a tidy 296hp and 400Nm of torque. A new Vehicle Dynamics Manager has been fitted that talks to all driving dynamics systems, including the electromechanical-locking differential that’s fitted as standard. VW’s Dynamic Chassis Control is also available as optional extra.
Engineers in Wolfsburg have even fitted the car with a special Nurburgring driving mode that adjusts the running gear in line with the demands put on the vehicle by the world-famous track, and is presumably designed to make even average drivers look good when they blast through the Green Hell during Touristenfahrten. Not that it takes much to make this sporty hatchback look tidy. A redesigned front featuring larger aerodynamic wings and the GTI-typical honeycomb-design radiator grille already give this family racer an assertive appearance. This impression is further enforced by a two-tiered roof spoiler, a special diffuser, and wider side sills. It’s a practical brute in a suit and the understated character of the modifications gives it just the right look without being too loud or boy racer-ish on the eye.
The GTI Clubsport also sits 10mm lower than a standard GTI and rolls along on 18-inch alloy wheels. Its arrival is announced courtesy of oval tailpipes in place of the usual round ones. Inside, pilots can hunker down in premium sports seats trimmed in ArtVelours while gripping the sports steering wheel and navigating through the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with flappy paddles. Aluminum pedals round up the racy interior and we have no doubts that driving this pocket rocket will be heaps of fun. Prices in Germany start from €40,225 (P2.27 million), which seems like a good deal for a car that can easily make life difficult for drivers of much more expensive vehicles.