Over Boostin’ » Volkswagen Golf GTI ClubSport

18-Sep-2016
Tested

The most iconic performance hatchback of all times, the Volkswagen Golf GTI, is four decades old. With seven generations of awesomeness and great success stories behind it, Volkswagen decided to commemorate the anniversary with a very special edition of the GTI, the ClubSport!

Not just another sporty badge, the ClubSport moniker has been originally used for boosted and stripped-out editions offering increased performance, reduced weight, better handling and braking. Back in the days, this concept was more about stripping and stiffening the car, getting rid of unnecessary options and luxury. A few decades later, the game has changed and, although weight reduction is still important, it is now all about turning the boost knob and relying on electronics to increase engine power, improve gearbox shifting algorithms and provide better steering feel. Form is slowly taking over from function, yet we should not complain, as the lap times and g-forces are looking good!

One quick glance is all it takes to figure out the ClubSport is recognizably not an ordinary Golf GTI. The redesigned front bumper, pronounced multi-part roof spoiler and the 19″ Brescia alloys are the most prominent visual features of this special edition, with a number of other aerodynamic and styling enhancements. The new front bumper features large brake cooling intakes and a more pronounced lip, thus the less functional gills and decorative ornaments on its sides.

The 19" forged wheels, bright red GTI calipers, side sills and the ClubSport graphics are the most prominent elements of the car's silhouette, further boosting the sporty image of the anniversary edition. A fine looking and functional touch is the multi-piece roof spoiler that frames the rear window and increases downforce on the rear axle, enhancing high speed stability while powering or braking. It goes without saying that it boosts the performance car image and makes the boy racer in you giggle."

No major changes at the rear of the car, with only the new roof spoiler standing out from the run-of-the-mill GTI parts. The larger exhaust pipes nested in the restyled rear diffuser complete the exterior enhancements of the rear of the ClubSport edition, with no badges or other styling improvements."

The cabin of the Clubsport, other than being fit for a sportier edition, is a great place to be, with an excellent seating position, supportive sports seats, a chamoix steering wheel and the usual GTI dashboard. While it oozes quality, the dash is relatively somber, with the chrome knobs and buttons being the only visual highlights. But the great looking and very supportive bucket seats liven up the workspace with their colour scheme and bright graphics. The chamoix-clad steering is a fitting track car touch in the cabin, inviting you to assume a rally-style two hand grip with your fists at 10-to-2 and play with the paddle shifters."

The powertrain of the Golf GTI ClubSport is the well known two liter turbo-charged engine mated to a six-speed DSG transmission and powering the front wheels. The anniversary edition gets the highest power output in a GTI with a respectable 265 horsepower and an overboost option that allows the power bursts peaking at a healthy 290 horsepower for a short time. A newly developed XDS differential is in charge of taming wheel spin and torque steer, ensuring all the power is put down through the front wheels. Not an easy task that one!"

The Golf GTI ClubSport is the epitome of a contemporary hot hatch and the model that continues the legacy of the original Mk1 GTI. Geared for high performance enthusiasts and designed to deliver driving pleasure, this is the sharpest and most responsive model in the Golf range. A powerful engine combined with stiffer suspension, lower stance, sticky tires and excellent brakes makes for an exhilarating drive.

Driven around town, the ClubSport delivers the goods, sprints between the lights, corners hard through the highway exit ramps, brakes late and stops on a dime, all done in style and comfort. But the b-roads are where this car truly shines. Blessed with plenty of engine grunt and immense grip, this hot hatch slices through corners with precision, is very predictable at the limit and allows a surprisingly high pace through the twisties. The impressive power output is made even better by the overboost option, making you wish this model was blessed with the AWD drivetrain, to fully harness the 290 ponies. Delivery is virtually lag free, well synchronised with and supported by the brilliant DSG transmission.

A great and dynamic all-rounder, the ClubSport is also one of those rare cars that you can drive to the track day, have a few hard laps and then drive back home without worrying about faded brakes or overheated engine. Designed and built to be driven hard, this limited edition package is every enthusiast's dream."