- vw showed its europe-market gti clubsport, saying it will have 296 horsepower (the regular gti makes 228 hp) and get upgrades to its vehicle dynamics manager, notably a mode tuned specifically for the nürburgring.
- cosmetic upgrades include an enlarged honeycomb grille, a rear wing, and widened doorsills with clubsport-specific graphics.
- this model will almost certainly not make it to the united states.
volkswagen unveiled the 2021 golf gti clubsport today, which it calls the flagship of the eighth-generation golf lineup. this model follows in the footsteps of the 2016 gti clubsport s, which marked the gti’s 40th anniversary and set a record for front-wheel-drive vehicles on the nürburgring with a 7:49:21 lap of the nordschleife. in keeping with that spirit, this clubsport, which is more powerful than the base gti with 296 hp, has a nürburgring-specific driving mode to go with its racy looks. as far as we know, vw hasn’t taken the new clubsport to the ‘ring yet, but we doubt we’ll have to wait long.
to make this souped-up gti, vw made unspecified upgrades to the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which makes 228 hp in the standard gti. the body was lowered by 0.4 inch, and the vehicle dynamics manager, which normally oversees the gti’s electronic differential locks and chassis control systems, has been specially tuned and now also handles control of the electromechanical front locking differential.
you won’t have to read the car’s code to know it’s special. the clubsport model has a large honeycomb grille, wider doorsills than the regular gti, model-specific diffuser and rear wing, and two oval tailpipes (other gtis have a pair of round tailpipes). inside are red-trimmed sport seats, a steering wheel with perforated leather trim, and standard paddle shifters for the car’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
all of those upgrades make the gti clubsport the most powerful gti of the current generation, but don’t count on any of that extra power to make it stateside. the clubsport is europe only, so we’ll just have to content ourselves with watching from afar as it makes its inevitable run at reclaiming the nordschleife record for front-wheel-drive cars. since the last clubsport set its time in december 2016, that time has been bested by the honda civic type r and, in april 2019, the renault mégane rs trophy-r.