This is the 300hp 2021 Golf GTI Clubsport – and it's a serious bit of kit
A new turbo, bigger intercooler and a new front axle setup should make this a seriously quick GTI
Volkswagen's just announced the new Mk8 Golf GTI Clubsport – a lighter, more powerful, front-wheel-drive version of the Golf GTI.
The big news is that power is up to 300hp over the regular GTI's 245hp, thanks to a new Continental turbo replacing the regular car's Garrett item and a larger intercooler. Torque is up from 370Nm to 400Nm, and you'll want to be running the new car on 98 RON fuel. It'll get from 0-62mph in 'under six seconds' and on to a limited speed of 155mph.
Oval pipes! Wing! Dubious stickers!
The new Clubsport S puts its power through a standard-fit seven-speed DSG gearbox, with shorter ratios and faster shifts. This fires through to a front axle that's been thoroughly reworked for more controlled power delivery and sharper handling.
You now get an electrically controlled VAQ front diff and front wheels that have more camber than the regular GTI, and they can optionally be shod in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber.
The rear multi-link suspension setup has new damper bearings and damper hydraulics, as well as upgraded wheel mounts, control arm mounts and springs. VW promises you'll feel more road feedback through the steering wheel when cornering.
Up front you get a gapingly honeycombed front bumper to tell regular GTI buyers that you're better than them
Put simply, this is a vastly different car to the regular GTI.
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted new 357mm front brakes, complete with perforated discs. An aluminium brake housing and aluminium pins reduce unsprung mass by 600 grams – an indication of just how far VW is taking the new Clubsport's ambition of eradicating understeer and sharpening up the handling balance.
Oh, don't forget the aero
The full-width red strip across the front remains
Clearly Volkswagen can't just flog us a Clubsport that looks the same as the standard GTI – so you get a front bumper that's open at the bottom to flow air into its radiator. The grille surround and splitter are now matt black, and the latter's been redesigned to reduce front lift.
At the back you get a glossy black wing, and the tailpipes are now oval and 40mm closer to the edges of the bumper.
New electronic trickery
Volkswagen's making a lot of noise about how you can fine-tune the driving dynamics to the Nth degree using the infotainment screen. The Mk8 GTI already lets you alter the adaptive dampers, but now the performance of the electronic diff can be altered through the touchscreen.
The Clubsport gets a redesigned steering wheel – the progressive ratio steering has been designed specifically for the Clubsport too
You can now choose a point on a spectrum between Comfort and Sport for the adaptive dampers – you can actually select a point below Comfort for ultimate waftiness, and above Sport if you want things to feel incredibly direct.
A new Nurburgring driving profile sits under Sport mode, which essentially loads up a driving programme used to set the car's 7 minute 54 time around the Nordschleife – which is 13 seconds faster than the regular Mk8 GTI, but still five seconds slower than the two-seater Mk7 Clubsport S.
Perhaps Volkswagen has even more stripped-back plans for the Mk8. Will we get a Mk8 GTI Clubsport S? We'll have to wait and see.