The Volkswagen GTI Clubsport is something old, something new, something borrowed, something fast

As promised in last week’s teaser, the new Volkswagen GTI Clubsport, revealed just before the weekend’s races at the Nuburgring. Truth be told, it’s not far from the latest GTI Clubsport introduced in 2021, emphasizing the “.5” in the Mk 8.5 Golf range. The previous version made 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet and could reach 62 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds. Although the GTI gains an additional 20 hp and drops its 0-62 mph sprint from 0.3 seconds to 5.9 seconds, this new Clubsport makes 296 hp and 295 lb-ft and does the sprint in 5.9 seconds. VW also promised that it would be the most powerful front-wheel drive Golf ever. It’s possible the automaker meant the most powerful production Golf, since the two-seater 2016 GTI Clubsport S made 306 horsepower and 280 lb-ft, but was limited to 400 units.

Enough disillusionment. Letting the basics apply, VW focused on chassis refinement. There’s more camber at the front wheels and the electronic front locking differential operates on extended settings. The suspension is supposed to provide a more forgiving ride, and engineers have tweaked the vehicle dynamics manager which opens a menu of hardware modifications such as steering and damping. And to figure it out, VW has seconded senior Bugatti test driver Sven Bohnhorst to the Golf program to fine-tune the steering tuning.

The uninitiated will know there’s something going on with the black graphic along the door and perhaps with the black adorning the larger tailgate spoiler. It will take VW aficionados to identify the red GTI badge, the gloss black instead of solid black exterior trim elements and the optional Akrapovic exhaust that is part of the racing package. The Race Pack also increases the electronically limited top speed from 155 mph to 166 mph. Drivers caress a new leather-wrapped steering wheel and, as in the last variant, activate a special driving profile that prepares the car for better performance on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, by changing the lateral adjustment profile of the standard steel suspension or vertical responses. of the DCC adaptive suspension. Standard wheels are 18-inch units called Richmond, the options sheet offers 19-inch Queenstown wheels and a 19-inch Warmenau forged aluminum wheel. Inside, more red accents are splashed around the standard ArtVelour interior or optional leather interior.

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