Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Mk8 officially debuts – 300 PS and 400 Nm; 0-100 km/h in under six seconds

Just a few months after the debut of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk8, the German automaker has now released a new Clubsport version of its venerable hot hatch. The new model adds more spice to the existing recipe, with more power, improved dynamics and some styling changes.

Don’t get too excited though, because this isn’t as hardcore as the Mk7-based Golf GTI Clubsport S that we saw back in 2016. In fact, Volkswagen says the new Golf GTI Clubsport is positioned between the first Clubsport, which also arrived in 2016 to celebrate the Golf GTI’s 40th anniversary, and the Clubsport S.

Furthermore, this is not a limited-edition model and based on what Volkswagen tells us, very little effort has been made to reduce the vehicle’s weight, so you still get rear seats unlike in the older Clubsport S. It’s best to think of this as a follow-up to the previous Golf GTI TCR, with small gains here and there that provide a more engaging driving experience.

With that out of the way, let’s talk numbers. The new Golf GTI Clubsport uses the same EA888 evo4 engine as the regular Golf GTI, which is a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder. Instead of 245 PS and 370 Nm of torque, the Clubsport serves up 300 PS and 400 Nm, all of which are sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Mk8 officially debuts – 300 PS and 400 Nm; 0-100 km/h in under six seconds

Performance-wise, you’re looking at a zero to 100 km/h time of under six seconds, along with a top speed that is limited to 250 km/h. The Clubsport also uses an upgrade Vehicle Dynamics Manager that integrates the control of the front-axle locking differential (VAQ), the electronic differential locks (XDS), as well as the optional electronically controlled shock absorbers (DCC).

According to Volkswagen, the system is said to provide faster response to minute steering inputs and eliminates the understeer that is typical of front-wheel-drive vehicles. Additionally, the suspension sits 15 mm lower than a standard GTI, and there’s increased positive camber at the front axle and the progressive-rate power steering has been tweaked for a more direct response when dealing with corners.

The Clubsport gets a number of driving modes, including Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual, with a fifth being called Special. The new mode has been adapted to the very specific track characteristics of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is said to be more effective on The Green Hell.

Highlights include a softer suspension setting compared to Sport mode to better deal with the undulating nature of the track, and this allows the Clubsport to be 13 seconds quicker around the track compared to its regular sibling. New brakes too, with larger discs and aluminium brake pots – the latter shaves 600 grams from each corner.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Mk8 officially debuts – 300 PS and 400 Nm; 0-100 km/h in under six seconds

To spot a Clubsport, look for a revised front fascia that is more aggressive, with a honeycomb mesh grille and body-colour, wing-shaped air guide elements. Around back, there’s a two-part roof spoiler, along with a new design for the diffuser and oval-shaped tailpipes.

Other cues include 18-inch five-spoke alloys that are fitted as standard, with larger 19-inch wheels available as an option. Meanwhile, the side sills have been slightly widened and are accompanied by a black stripe graphic at the base of the front doors.

Inside, the Clubsport gets red decorative stitching on the seats, centre armrest, floor mats and steering wheel – the last item sports perforated leather, GTI lettering and red accents. Volkswagen’s ArtVelours fabric upholstery is also used for the seats and door inserts, with perforated leather being offered as an option for the former.

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