Automotive

Published on October 15th, 2020 | by Joshua Chin

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Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Gets 300 PS GTI Clubsport Variant

The Clubsport moniker adds a little more spice to the 8th iteration VW Golf GTI. 

Performance Golf variants seem to be endless these days. What used to be just GTI that denoted a hot Golf, has now led to GTE, GTD and even R designations.

Even within the GTI lineup, there now exists the GTI Clubsport variant. Touted as a supposed step-up in terms of performance for this front wheel drive hot hatch, the new Mk8 GTI Clubsport certainly has the numbers to back up that claim. 

A spiritual successor to the Mk7 GTI Clubsport that was unveiled during the GTI’s 40th anniversary in 2016. This latest iteration bearing the Clubsport name may not be as hardcore as its predecessor, which in limited run 310 PS Clubsport S trim at least held the Nurburgring front wheel drive lap record back in 2016 with a blistering time of 07:49:21. Though a time of 7:54 set by the Mk8 Clubsport is still a handy 13 seconds faster than the hum-drum GTI of the current generation.

This significant time delta around the Green Hell could be attributed to the Clubsport’s ‘enhanced’ EA888 Evo4 turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood. Pumping out a staggering 300 PS and 400 Nm of torque, drive is sent only to the front wheels though the sole transmission option of a DSG dual-clutch gearbox. 

Thus in an attempt to control the manic torque steer and to rein in the inevitable understeer that will be the result of such impressive power figures, the Mk8 GTI Clubsport comes as standard with a new Vehicle Dynamics Manager. Featuring an electromechanical front-axle locking differential, this new system works in combination to the electronic differential locks (XDS) and the optional DCC adaptive chassis control that already features in the standard GTI.

Moving on to the topic of aesthetics, while the Clubsport may be derived from the regular Golf GTI, Volkswagen has made some distinct visual differences to this hotter GTI to more easily differentiate between the two. Chief among which is the new front bumper on the Clubsport, which loses the honeycomb fog-lights seen on the regular GTI. In its place instead is a more aggressive front bumper design with larger air intakes, in addition to a front spoiler.  

Down the sides, 18 inch alloy wheels, wider side sills and custom graphics enhance the sportiness of this sporty GTI. A 10 mm decrease in ride height further enhances the stance of the Clubsport too. Round the rear meanwhile, a two-part roof spoiler is bespoke to this variant, as are the twin oval tailpipes of the sport exhaust system nestled within the exposed rear diffuser.  

Stepping inside the Clubsport, on top of the base GTI features are ArtVelours upholstered sports seats and a sports steering wheel with perforated leather grip zones and paddle shifters. Aluminium-look pedals add a touch of sportiness too to the already racy interior.   

Produced in VW’s Wolfsburg plant in Germany, this new Clubsport will soon join the ranks of the current GTI in showrooms sometime in the near future. No official word yet on the prices though, or whether it will even come to Malaysia or not. 

PRESS RELEASE: The new Golf Mk8 is picking up even more speed. Following on from the GTI, GTE and GTD, Volkswagen is now presenting the next highlight from its sporty family of Golf models: the new Golf GTI Clubsport. This vehicle marks the next chapter in the brand’s tradition of high-performance GTIs: the first Golf GTI Clubsport was launched in 2016 on the 40th anniversary of the iconic sports car. It is now followed by the new Golf GTI Clubsport, a modern compact sports car that not only impresses due to its high engine power but also thanks to a new high in driving dynamics.

With the world premiere of the new Golf GTI Clubsport, Volkswagen is writing the next chapter of the successful Golf story. The Clubsport has a power output of 221 kW (300 PS) and is the new flagship model of the eighth Golf GTI generation. With its enhanced turbocharged engine, new fully connected running gear, and the brand new Nürburgring driving profile designed for the legendary Nordschleife track in Germany, the Golf GTI Clubsport marks a new milestone for driving dynamics among front-wheel-drive sports cars.

Outstanding driving dynamics. Many of the details in the Golf GTI Clubsport have been enhanced, including the even more agile turbocharged engine (EA888 evo4), which now delivers 221 kW (300 PS) and 400 Nm of torque, and the new sports running gear equipped with a new Vehicle Dynamics Manager. In the new Golf GTI, a new Vehicle Dynamics Manager already closely integrates control of the electronic differential locks (XDS) and the lateral dynamics components of the optional adaptive chassis control DCC. Even at this level, the feature offers noticeable performance benefits. In the new Golf GTI Clubsport, however, the standard electromechanical front-axle locking differential is now included in the Vehicle Dynamics Manager’s network for the first time.

Karsten Schebsdat, Head of Driving Dynamics, Steering and Control Systems at Volkswagen: “Networking all driving dynamics systems means that the new Golf GTI Clubsport handles even more neutrally and precisely than the classic Golf GTI. For the legendary Nordschleife track, we have also programmed a new Nürburgring profile, which specifically adapts the running gear components in the new Golf GTI Clubsport to this race track.”

A genuine Clubsport. It is obvious from the outset that the new Golf GTI Clubsport fits in on the race track, too: its customised front end is very striking. The bumper looks almost open at the bottom – only the radiator grille trim with the honeycomb design typical for GTI models and the larger aerodynamic wings offer resistance to the head wind. At the rear, the two-part roof spoiler catches the eye, which is a unique hallmark feature reserved exclusively for the Golf GTI Clubsport. The front spoiler and rear wing are much more than just design features – they significantly increase the downforce on the sports car. The Golf GTI Clubsport rolls off the production line in Wolfsburg with 18-inch alloy wheels fitted as standard. A special diffuser, a body lowered by 10 millimetres, and wider side sills also enhance the overall sporty impression. Another new feature: oval tailpipes replace the round version in the sports exhaust system, with one tailpipe positioned on the left and right of the body. 

Countless GTI-specific features also customise the vehicle interior, including premium sport seats in ArtVelours, which even provide support when cornering at high speed, plus a sports steering wheel with perforated leather grip zones and paddles for the standard 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). Aluminium-look pedals and other superior details round off the exclusive interior design.

A brief look back. Volkswagen is continuing the tradition of high-performance GTI models with the new Golf GTI Clubsport: the first Golf GTI Clubsport was launched in 2016 on the 40th anniversary of the iconic sports car. The original member of the Clubsport series developed 195 kW (265 PS) and temporarily delivered 213 kW (290 PS) using a boost function. This car was followed in the same year by the Golf GTI Clubsport S in a limited edition of 400 units with a continuously available output of 228 kW (310 PS). Driving the Golf GTI Clubsport S, pro race driver Benjamin Leuchter set a new lap record for front-wheel-drive vehicles on the Nordschleife at Nürburgring in May 2016. The time: 07:49:21 minutes.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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