VW Golf GTI Clubsport Mk8 debuts with 300 HP, Nürburgring Mode
The eighth-gen Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch debuted this spring, and today, the range-topping Clubsport modification joins it with added power and a driving mode called Special.
Compared against the regular GTI with its 245 hp (183 kW) and 370 Nm (273 lb-ft) of torque, the new Clubsport squeezes 300 hp (224 kW) and up to 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque from its two-liter turbo four-pot. Its predecessor emerged four years ago as a special edition meant to celebrate 40 years of the Golf GTI and had 265 hp (198 kW) under the hood. You could use a mode called Overboost to increase the output to 290 hp (216 kW) for ten seconds. Then there was the Clubsport S with its 310 hp (231 kW), which came out in a series of 400 units and was the Nürburgring’s fastest FWD passenger car at the time. It could hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.8 seconds and maxed out at 260 km/h (161 mph). The latest iteration revealed today still needs slightly less than six seconds to reach 100 km/h, and the top speed amounts to 250 km/h (155 mph).
The new Clubsport only ships with a seven-speed DSG transmission, whereas the standard GTI goes manual, too. It features an electromechanical diff lock, redesigned chassis and wheel camber, a 15mm (0.6”) lower ride height, a squared-off steering wheel, performance brakes, special aerodynamic trim and assorted sporty décor. The entry-level trim offers more equipment, and you can now fully deactivate stability control if you want to (it will still automatically re-engage in dire emergencies).
Whereas the “normal” Golf GTI has four powertrain modes named Comfort, Eco, Individual and Sport, the Clubsport version introduces a fifth mode called Special. The company claims that you can reduce your Nürburgring lap time by choosing this mode, even though the Sport Mode has stiffer suspension settings. No specific lap times are provided, but Volkswagen says the newcomer shaves 13 seconds off the result of the regular GTI. It remains to be seen whether it can dethrone the current FWD hot hatch champion, the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R.
The Golf family will later expand to incorporate the Golf GTI TCR (300 hp / 224 kW) and Golf R AWD (333 hp / 248 kW).
Editor Andrew Raspopov