Der neue Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

It may not look it – especially in sharp Mk7 guise – but the venerable Volkswagen Golf GTI will be celebrating the big 4-0 next year. Instead of cake and candles, however, VW has wheeled out a new special edition of the iconic hot hatch – called the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport – to celebrate this momentous occasion.

The production version of Wolfsburg’s Wörthersee concept, the Clubsport – which follows in the footsteps of several anniversary editions – is virtually identical to the show car. It’s all here: a more aggressive front fascia (with black air deflectors at the corners), deeper side skirts, a flared rear diffuser and a taller rear spoiler provide an added touch of sportiness.

A black stripe along the flanks of the car – with “Clubsport” script – references a similar line on the original Mk1, while the roof, wing mirrors and rear spoiler have all been painted black. As standard, the car rolls on 18-inch forged alloy wheels; 19-inch “Brescia” items are available as an option. There are smoked LED tail lights and redesigned twin-exit exhaust pipes, too.

Der neue Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

Slide yourself into the new part-Alcantara race-style bucket seats – with honeycomb-patterned upholstery, red-and-white pinstriping and “GTI” script on the backrests – and you’ll spot an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel (with red 12 o’clock marking), an Alcantara gearlever gaiter, a new design for the shift pattern display on the gearknob as well as red seat belts.

Also fitted are stainless steel door sill plates and customised floor mats with red edging, as well as more honeycomb pattern on the door, dashboard and centre console trim pieces. It certainly looks like a much more sporting environment to drive in, even compared to the already purposeful interior of the standard GTI.

Fitting, because there’s quite a bit more power under the bonnet – how does 34 more horses compared to the regular Performance Package-equipped Mk7 sound? The result is 261 hp, boosted further to 286 hp for up to 10 seconds under full acceleration, making the Clubsport the most powerful Golf GTI ever.

Performance has been given a right kick in the back: the 0-100 km/h sprint is over and done with in six seconds flat, four tenths of a second quicker than before. That’s with the standard six-speed manual gearbox; specify the DSG dual clutch transmission and the figure drops further to 5.9 seconds.