We had to wait four years before VW turned the Mk7 Golf GTI into the hotter Clubsport, but for the Golf 8, the German car giant is much keener. Just seven months on from the reveal of the latest GTI, there’s already a livened up, thusly-badged version.
As we’d been expecting thanks to figures leaked earlier in 2020, the new Clubsport is packing a 297bhp, 295lb ft version of the ‘EA888’ inline-four turbo engine, dwarfing the already healthy 245bhp output of the standard GTI. All of that is lobbed through the front wheels via a ‘VAQ’ electronically-controlled locking differential and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Wanting a manual? Tough luck – VW won’t be making one. Nor will there be a hotter Clubsport S – during a digital press conference ahead of the reveal, it was confirmed that there are no plans for such a vehicle. Given how far you need to go to challenge for the front-wheel drive Nurburgring lap record now, we get why.
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In any case, the Clubsport is still quick enough to clock a 7:54 lap on the Nordschleife (13 seconds faster than a standard GTI), and not just because of the extra power, but also because of the chassis changes. It sits 10mm lower, there’s more negative camber at the front, while at the back, there are new wheel hubs.
The VAQ system is mechanically no different to the one available on the regular GTI, but the software is new, and how it behaves is now linked in with the drive modes. Speaking of, there’s a new ‘Nurburgring profile’ which involves the, “optimisation of all systems relevant to the driving dynamics of the route characteristics of the Nürburgring Nordschleife”. Since the ‘Ring is far bumpier and more undulating than the average race track, this might be nicely matched to our beloved but shoddily surfaced British B-roads.
You also get bigger brakes, which live under either 18-inch or 19-inch wheels depending on how the car is specced. Go for the 19s, and it’s possible to option Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres.
Further sprucing up the exterior are some stripes running down the sides of the car, a bespoke front bumper with a lower splitter, and a two-piece rear spoiler. The tailpipes have been pushed 40mm further to the edges of the rear bumper, for no other reason than it looks cool.
No pricing information has been revealed for this hot hatch just yet, but to give you an idea of how much it might cost, a standard GTI is £34,460, plus a further £1500 for its optional DSG gearbox. The Clubsport should come to market before the end of the year.
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