Volkswagen has taken the wraps off its new Golf 8 GTI Clubsport, with the fresh-faced flagship version of Wolfsburg’s front-driven hot hatch boasting 221 kW.
For the record, that’s some 41 kW more than the standard Golf 8 GTI’s peak power, and falls neatly between 2016’s Clubsport (195 kW … or 213 kW on overboost) and Clubsport S (228 kW). Perhaps best to think of it as the successor to the Golf 7 GTI TCR.
As before, that urge comes from VW’s familiar EA888 turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, here tuned to deliver 400 N.m (some 30 N.m more than the standard GTI). All that oomph is directed to the front axle via a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, with no mention of a manual gearbox option.
The result, according to Volkswagen, is a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in “under six seconds” (the standard GTI should be around 6,3 seconds) and an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
So, what else sets the Clubsport apart? Well, VW says its running gear has been “completely reconfigured”, gaining “significant enhancements”. A standard electromechanical front-axle locking differential, for instance, is included in the vehicle dynamics manager’s network for the first time. The firm even programmed a selectable “Special” drive profile that “specifically adapts the running gear” to the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The Clubsport furthermore allows its electronic stability control system to be adapted in two stages. In ESC Sport mode, the thresholds are increased to “reduce the intensity of interventions”. In ESC Off mode, however, VW says “experienced drivers” can enjoy complete deactivation of the system.
In addition, the German company has added a larger (18-inch) brake system, along with new front and rear spoilers (the latter a two-part element) designed to “reduce lift” and “optimise agility, steering responsiveness, driving dynamics and stability” at high speeds.
The grille, its upper surround and the front spoiler are all finished in matte-grain black (and the divisive X-shaped foglamps have been ditched), while the rear spoiler features a high-gloss black finish. In profile, you’ll notice the widened side sills, complete with black stripe graphics. The GTI Clubsport also gains oval tailpipes instead of the circular items employed by the standard GTI, with each tailpipe also positioned 40 mm further towards its respective edge.
The new Golf GTI Clubsport runs on 18-inch “Richmond” alloy wheels as standard, wrapped in 225/40 R18 tyres. Various 19-inch wheel designs, however, will be optionally available.
Inside, you’ll find decorative stitching on the seats, centre armrest, floor mats and multifunction steering wheel. The latter is finished in a mix of standard and perforated leather.