Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport revealed with 221kW

The new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport adds more power and gets an aero overhaul.

Hot on the heels of the new Golf GTI, Volkswagen has wasted no time in rolling out a more potent version: say hello to the new 221kW Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport.

The Clubsport is a lighter, more aggressive, track-biased version of the hot hatchback. It sticks with a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, but its 221kW output is an increase of 40kW over the regular GTI. Torque steps up too, to 400Nm (30Nm more than in the regular Mk8 GTI). To avoid too much overlap with the forthcoming Golf R – anticipated to arrive with 245kW – drive is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, though there is no manual option.

With the power gains, VW claims 0-100km/h in less than six seconds, while top speed is an electronically limited 250km/h. The performance advances are not all through the engine, though. Significant chassis work has been carried out, too.

As well as advances on the regular GTI’s chassis and driveline, chief among which is a new electronic differential, the Clubsport gets its own steering and suspension tune with a more aggressive front camber for sharper turn-in. The brakes have been upgraded, too; the front discs are larger and lighter, increasing stopping power and reducing unsprung weight at the same time.

As with the regular Golf GTI, the Clubsport features a number of selectable driving modes, which alter the parameters of the engine, gearbox, optional adaptive dampers and steering. However, alongside the regular Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual settings, the Clubsport features one more mode: Special.

Buyers may seldom get the most out of this mode, because it’s a set-up tailored for the Nürburgring in Germany, where VW’s engineers spent a significant amount of time developing the Clubsport. The firm claims that as a result, the newcomer is up to 13 seconds a lap quicker than the regular GTI around the famous 20.7km circuit.

Elsewhere, the Clubsport gains additional aerodynamic elements over the GTI. There’s a new chin spoiler at the front, extended side skirts, a larger rear wing and a new rear diffuser, too. Larger, oval exhaust tips are fitted and Clubsport graphics are applied low on the front

Doors. LED headlights are standard fit, with IQ. Light adaptive LED matrix headlights optional, while the Clubsport GTI rides on 18-inch wheels as standard.

Inside, the Clubsport receives newly upholstered sports seats with perforated leather trim, while red stitching is available as an option. A Digital Cockpit is standard equipment, too, as is 30-colour ambient lighting and a 10-inch central touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Unlike the Mk7 version of the GTI Clubsport, which was restricted to just 400 examples, the Mk8 is not a limited edition model and has no production cap. The previous generation was made available in Australia in manual only and we’re not sure if we’ll see this MK8 join the lineup, though special editions are en route.

Locally, a VW spokesperson said: “Special editions are absolutely part of our thoughts for the Mark 8 Golf performance range. In general locally available limited runs are specified by our own VGA team: GTI 40 Years, GTI Original, Golf R Special Edition and Final Edition.”

James Brodie

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