Four decades of fun. Early in 2016, the Golf GTI – the ‘hot hatchback’ icon – celebrated its 40th anniversary. It all began in 1976 when only 5,000 units of the “GTI” were planned. Four decades later more than two million (over 62 000 sold in South Africa) have been sold worldwide. Many of them have matured into classic cars. GTI cars are collected, and they embody passion. And that is why no other car in this segment even comes close to the GTI’s large fan base. Over its seven generations, the Golf GTI concept has been further developed and sharpened. Those who drive a GTI do not need to explain their choice. The car itself has long become a statement in itself. Another fact: there are very few automobile name suffixes that have become so legendary. Even fewer depict an unmistakable superlative: “GTI” and “Turbo” – there are not many others. Everyone recognises the models and brands behind these names. Yet, the GTI is an affordable dream for many people. To mark its 40th anniversary, Volkswagen launched a special edition that is a class of its own, Golf GTI Clubsport – the most powerful GTI ever.
Boost function. The turbocharged direct-injection engine of the Golf GTI Clubsport develops power of 195kW (26kW more than the currently most powerful Golf GTI Performance Pack). There is more, for about 10 seconds, the driver can increase engine power by nearly 10 per cent to 213kW using a boost function. This added power is activated by simply kicking down the accelerator. The two classic driving performance indicators, “0-100 km/h” and “Vmax” give an objective measure of the car’s dynamic potential: 5.9 seconds and 249km/h. An even more significant trait of the Golf GTI Clubsport is its powerful torque that provides for powerful acceleration over practically the entire range of engine and vehicle speed.
Clubsport dynamism. Volkswagen has not only made the turbocharged engine of the Golf GTI Clubsport more powerful; it has also reconfigured its design, equipment and aerodynamics. For instance, the GTI Clubsport is characterised by an entirely new front bumper, new side sills, a rear diffuser that is also new, a multi-part roof spoiler and exclusive forged alloy wheels. The objective here was not to just visually customise the sports car. Rather, the primary goal was to further improve downforce figures and thereby dynamic performance. All of this has a long tradition at Volkswagen. Exclusive anniversary models were also introduced to mark the 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th anniversaries of the Golf GTI. These models have become classics and are now treasured by car collectors. Golf GTI Clubsport has a potential to follow its anniversary predecessors to be a future classic of this revered iconic model.
Drivetrain – turbocharged engine with boost function
Turbocharged engine with 213kW. The engine of the Golf GTI Clubsport – which has a power output of 195kW between 5,350 and 6,600 rpm – is technically based on the 1,984 cc TSI engine of the Golf R. This is a third generation EA888 engine. It has technical refinements such as a water-cooled exhaust channel to the turbocharger that is integrated in the cylinder head and variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment. In the Golf R, the engine’s power is transferred to the front and rear wheels via an all-wheel drive system. In the new Golf GTI Clubsport, this power is channelled entirely to the front wheels via the standard 6-speed
DSG transmission. The lightweight front-wheel drive system of the Golf GTI offers tremendous agility in conjunction with an electronically controlled front differential lock and the XDS+ vehicle dynamics function. Thanks to a boost function, the 195kW power output can be boosted nearly 10 per cent to 213kW for about 10 seconds. Simultaneously, the maximum torque is also increased from 350 (between 1,700 and 5,300 rpm) to 380 Nm.
Details of the boost function. The Golf GTI is one of the most refined high-performance front-wheel drive cars on the market. Standard Golf GTI develops 162kW of power and 169kW for GTI Performance Pack. The special edition has made a big leap upward in power – adding up to 26kW. Despite its high power output, the Golf GTI Clubsport still delivers GTI’s renowned combination of dynamic agility and drivetrain. In part, this is due to its two phases of power output.
In phase 1, the standard 195kW is always available. By means of a kickdown – that is, pushing the accelerator pedal down quickly – phase 2 is initiated in which a boost function is activated, and engine power output is temporarily increased to 213kW and torque to 380 Nm. Maximum torque and power are available for 10 seconds which is a enough time to complete an overtaking manoeuvre, for instance, or to accelerate powerfully out of a combination of bends on a race track. Afterwards, the engine returns to standard mode with 195kW for at least ten seconds. Then the maximum performance figures can be accessed again. This two-phase power output approach assures very convenient, low-wear and yet powerful acceleration response. The boost function is available in gears 3 through 6, provided that the “Sport” driving profile is active which can be engaged by briefly shifting the gear lever to the “S” mode.
Launch control with DSG. Just like in car racing, the Golf GTI Clubsport accelerates in a controlled manner from a standstill with its maximum power of up to 213kW. Launch control works like this: ASR is deactivated by pushing the ESC button, the driver presses the left foot on the brake pedal, the gear shift lever is set to the “S” position or the “Sport” mode is selected in the driving profile selector, engine speed is increased to 3,000 rpm – then the driver takes the left foot off the brake pedal. Now the Golf GTI Clubsport now starts off at maximum acceleration, because in this case the engine’s boost function remains active for 20 seconds. After accelerating, ASR is activated again.
Running gear – handling properties retuned
Running gear specifications. Similarly to other Golf GTI derivatives, the “Clubsport” also comes standard with a sport chassis with 15mm lower ride height. In front, MacPherson suspension provides precise tracking, while the modular performance suspension does this at the rear. The Golf GTI Clubsport is equipped with a front differential lock as well as the XDS+ vehicle dynamics function and progressive steering (significantly smaller steering wheel inputs required) as standard. The sport chassis has been specially tuned for the Golf GTI Clubsport. Its handling characteristics have been perfected by a new spring layout, newly tuned dampers and optimised bump stops. These measures and the specially modified aerodynamics aim to achieve the following goals:
- High level of agility and steering precision;
- Driving stability in high-speed range;
- Linear and clearly predictable vehicle reactions;
- Optimised grip for fast driving especially in bends.
Front differential lock. Compared to purely mechanical locks, the front differential lock integrated in the Golf GTI Clubsport has a variable degree of locking and comprehensively integrates with the functions of ESC, EDS and XDS+. This makes it possible to completely avoid negative effects on steering response and steering precision that would otherwise occur with mechanical locks. As a result, the system realises the full potential and maximum performance of a differential lock with regard to vehicle dynamics, because comfort is not impaired under any circumstances. Power losses are not an issue either. This ensures that 100 per cent of engine power is transferred to the road and is fully available to propel the GTI. The front differential lock prevents wheelspin at the wheel on the inside of the bend during fast, sharp cornering. If a front wheel should also encounter pavement with a low friction value (water, sand, grass), the lock also ensures that this wheel does not slip either. However, the most impressive effect of the front differential lock on dynamics is when accelerating out of bends. Here, propulsive power is increased on the wheel at the outside of the bend, thereby reducing acceleration-related understeer. This also allows for less intense interventions by the ASR. This leads to more agile steering response, more precise overall handling and higher speeds in bends. Last but not least, the car is stabilised in oversteer conditions; load change behaviour is improved. This lock made its debut in Golf GTI Performance Pack.
ESC Sport. In all three Golf GTI derivatives (standard, Performance, Clubsport), Volkswagen is offering the “ESC Sport” function as standard. The system is activated by a two-stage switch on the centre console. If the driver pushes the button once briefly, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) switches to the “ESC Sport” mode. In very fast driving with lots of bends – such as on the race track – ESC response is delayed thereby enabling an even more agile handling characteristics. If the driver presses this button longer than three seconds, the ESC system is completely deactivated. Now, the Golf GTI Clubsport can be driven up to its performance limits – at the driver’s discretion – without any control system interventions. As an alternative to operation via the push button on the centre console, ESC can also be activated or deactivated via settings in the CAR menu.
Dynamic chassis control. The Golf GTI Clubsport is also available with an optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC). The DCC in the Golf GTI Clubsport was specially adapted to this high powered derivative using new control algorithms. The perceptible effects are in the car’s handling that is more intuitive than ever up to its performance limits. The car exhibits excellent grip in bends as well as precision and directional stability in conjunction with a high level of suspension comfort for extraordinary driving fun.
18 and 19-inch alloy wheels. The car’s power is transferred to the road via 18-inch wheels that are offered as standard with size 225/40 tyres. The exclusive “Belvedere” forged wheels are nearly 3 kg lighter per wheel than conventional alloy wheels. This not only has a positive effect on the vehicle’s total weight, but also on unsprung masses and thereby on driving properties. The new Golf GTI Clubsport may also be ordered with 19-inch alloy wheels (“Brescia” type) and size 225/35 tyres as optional equipment.
Optimal downforce properties. Handling has also been perfected by special aerodynamic measures. An example: optimal aerodynamic downforce figures at the front and rear are attained by the close interplay between a new front splitter (light front downforce) and the also new and significantly steep-angled rear spoiler (substantial downforce)
Exterior – aerodynamics elaborately refined
Clubsport design. For the Golf GTI Clubsport, Volkswagen exterior designers created a completely new front bumper, new side sills, a rear diffuser that is also new, a new multi-part roof spoiler and exclusive forged alloy wheels. The goal was not to just visually customise the anniversary model, but rather to simultaneously improve the downforce figures to a new level and the car’s dynamic handling as well.
Front end. The designers completely reworked the front bumper. The new design offers improvements in air supply to the engine, aerodynamics and downforce at the front body. Specifically, the new bumper features high-gloss black air deflector elements, which route a portion of the airflow – guided by three additional bars – through a narrowing air duct (air curtain) on each side and through the bumper. This optimises air flow around the bumper and front wheels. The air then exits in the wheel housings without striking the wheels directly. The central cooling air intake – in characteristic GTI honeycomb design – has also been further refined with two additional air intakes flanking the radiator grille trim. Beneath the bumper there is a front spoiler that is designed as a sharp splitter in high-gloss black. It optimises downforce at the front axle. The splitter, designed in the style of race cars, has a wrap-around design and extends into the sill area and the rear section.
Side profile. The side profile of the Golf GTI Clubsport is based on the style of the original GTI version. To put this into perspective: the first generation was characterised by a wide black trim stripe on the side of the car between the front and rear wheel arches at bumper level. This stripe has now been transferred to the side area of the anniversary model, in tribute to the 1976 Golf GTI, and it is enhanced with “CLUBSPORT” lettering. Toward the front, the formal element of the black trim stripe is continued into the new air deflector element of the front bumper. Also finished in black: the high-gloss door mirror caps. The standard 18-inch forged alloy wheels designed especially for the new Golf GTI Clubsport are another customised detail.
Rear spoiler. The redesigned roof edge spoiler that was aerodynamically perfected in the wind tunnel is much larger than its counterpart on the standard Golf GTI. There is a narrow air gap between the roof area that is entirely in black and the wing-like spoiler spanning the rear end of the roof from side to side. The two-part roof edge spoiler extends upward above the roof line. At the sides, the spoiler merges into the high-gloss black flaps on the tailgate. Multi-part spoilers of this type are complex components that perfectly fulfil the aerodynamic tasks assigned to them: to significantly increase downforce on the rear axle. On the Golf GTI Clubsport, these aerodynamic components accomplish this to perfection.
Rear diffuser. The lower rear body has also been customised. Viewed diagonally from the rear, the observer notices that the line of the wrap-around splitter (beneath the sill) is continued into the large, high-gloss black rear diffuser that is a new development. The redesigned and chrome-plated tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system have been elegantly integrated in the diffuser; the diameter of the tailpipes is much larger than on the standard Golf GTI. The LED rear lights come in dark black-red.
Colours. The Clubsport is available in standard Golf GTI colours. The base colours are Pure White and Tornado Red. Metallic colours are Reflex Silver Metallic and Carbon Steel Grey. Pearl effect colours are Oryx White and Deep Black. The GTI Clubsport can also be customised with the optional black painted roof.
Interior – GTI insignia upgraded
Customised. The interior shows the essential iconic details of every Volkswagen Golf GTI. These include the standard ergonomic Vienna leather sports seats, red decorative stitching and black headlining. The Golf GTI Clubsport is also available with sport bucket seats as an option. These insignia of sportiness have been customised or modified for the Golf GTI Clubsport. A red line gives the seat belts a distinctive look. The high-class interior impression is further reinforced by accents in Checkered Black” for dashboard on passenger’s side and door trim panels. The dashboard on driver’s side and centre console are fitted with elegant accents in Piano Black. Sporty decorative features include Velour trim around the gear lever, new lenses for the gear shift knob, the extremely grippy Velour-trimmed sport steering wheel (with GTI emblem, red stitching and 12-o’clock mark) as well as customised floor mats with red piping.
Equipment – classic of tomorrow
Exclusivity further enhanced. The Golf GTI and the Golf GTI Performance Pack are already well equipped cars. Their standard features include LED technology for the rear lights and licence plate lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting, sport seats, Velour-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, centre armrest in front, two-zone automatic climate control (Climatronic), Premium multi-function display, progressive steering and the 6.5-inch Composition Media infotainment system. The Golf GTI Clubsport is supplemented with these standard features:
Exterior and functional
- Dual-branch exhaust tailpipes in new design
- Bi-xenon headlights with cornering lights and LED daytime running lights
- Roof edge spoiler in new design
- LED rear lights, smoked
- Belvedere 18-inch forged alloy wheels
- Rear and rear-side windows tinted 65 per cent
- “CLUBSPORT” lettering above the side sills
- Mirror housings, gloss black
- Bumper, front, in new design
- Bumper, rear, with new diffuser
Interior & functional
- Velour sport steering wheel with red stitching and red
- 12-o’clock mark
- Piano Black decor (centre console)
- Driving profile selector
- Floor mats with red piping
- Gear lever trim with red stitching, shift lever boot in Velour, newly designed lens for gear shift lever
- Safety belts with red coloured edges
- Vienna leather sport seats
- Door trim panels in leatherette with artificial leather arm rests incl. red stitching
The Golf GTI Clubsport can be customised with a number of optional convenience features such as Discover Pro Radio with satellite navigation system, Light Assist with dynamic high beam control, DynAudio Excite sound system, Keyless Access – keyless locking and engine starting system, panoramic tilt sunroof, Park Distance Control (Rear),19-inch Brescia alloy wheels, Clubsport racing bucket seats, Velour/cloth sport seats with GTI logo on backrest and Rear View camera.
Golf GTI Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)
2.0 TSI 162kW Manual R465 500
2.0 TSI 162kW DSG R481 500
2.0 TSI 169kW Performance Pack DSG R501 500
2.0 TSI 195kW Clubsport DSG R540 200
The new Golf GTI Clubsport comes standard with a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.