VW GTI Clubsport

New 213kW Golf GTI has Golf R in its sights

BLOW OUT birthday candles, then race – that is the ethos behind the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport, designed to celebrate 40 years since the slapping-on of that three-letter hot-hatch badge.

Take one front-wheel drive Golf GTI Performance with its electronically controlled mechanical front differential, then wick up the 2.0-litre turbo engine to produce an extra 26kW (195kW in total). Then, during 10 seconds of flat-out overboost, add a further 18kW on top of that for a Golf R-baiting 213kW.

Without all-wheel drive hardware it’s lighter than a Golf R, although the Clubsport’s 5.9sec 0-100km/h claim is a few tenths off (and the standard six-speed manual rates a flat 6.0sec behind the optional six-speed DSG).

The Clubsport is for cornering, though, with special attention paid to racetrack aerodynamics to help keep this hatch pinned even at its 250km/h top speed.

Check the angular new front bumper flanked by aggressive horizontal gills coming off the snaking piano-black ‘S’ that runs alongside the side skirts, complete with Clubsport script. Volkswagen says that’s a nod to the black flared guards of the original GTI. A new rear diffuser, subtly larger spoiler and choice of unique 18- or 19-inch wheels top off the toughened gent-racer look.

Beefy race-sports seats with ‘honeycomb 40’ cloth and Alcantara trim, a steering wheel made of the latter material (complete with 12 o’clock marker) and splashes of red on the seatbelts are the fillings inside this cake.

The VW GTI Clubsport sounds cracking to us, especially at $50,000, though our three-door-shy country may need to wait for an as-yetunconfirmed five-door before Volkswagen Australia will let us share in this tasty birthday treat.