The upcoming Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – based on the "almost-ready-for-production" show car revealed at Wörthersee in May – is set to go on sale in various markets in Europe at the end of 2018.
But what about South Africa? Well, Volkswagen SA tells us that it has “no plans as yet” to bring in what Wolfsburg describes as its fastest Golf GTI yet.
Still, we’re holding out hope that the TCR-badged flagship will eventually find its way to our shores, considering the popularity of the GTI badge here. Indeed, South Africa received as many as 47 of the 400 units of the limited-edition Clubsport S built for global markets towards the end of 2016.
That said, the implementation of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) may well throw a spanner in the works for local GTI fans, since gaining approval under this new system requires petrol vehicles to be fitted with a gasoline particulate filter (something that has seemingly already resulted in SA missing out on the new Fiesta ST, with Ford citing fuel quality concerns).
Indeed, the 169 kW version of the GTI (so, the one sold in South Africa) is soon set to be discontinued in markets such as the United Kingdom and Australia, thanks to these changes to emissions testing standards, and replaced by the 180 kW Golf GTI Performance. Whether VW SA will follow suit remains to be seen, with the local arm of the German brand earlier telling us that “no decision has been taken” in this regard.
As a reminder, the new GTI TCR flagship will be positioned as a road-going version of the racing car with which it shares a name, with VW calling it the “future top model in the Golf GTI series”. It employs the brand’s familiar turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder, but tuned to deliver 213 kW (between 5 000 and 6 800 r/min) and 370 N.m (from 1 600 to 4 300 r/min), up on the standard GTI’s 169 kW and 350 N.m.
This increased oomph is directed to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a limited-slip differential. While the factory-set maximum speed is 250 km/h, this can be upped to 264 km/h by opting to remove the electronic top-speed limiter (making it the fastest Golf GTI ever).
The Golf GTI TCR runs on 18-inch “Belvedere” forged alloys, with newly designed 19-inch alloys as an option. These wheels frame chunky perforated brake discs with special callipers and pads “designed to slow the production vehicle just as effortlessly as the race car”.