Volkswagen has followed up the launch of the Golf GTI Mk8 swiftly with the introduction of a more powerful and track-oriented Clubsport model, reviving a nameplate last used in 2015.
Unlike the hardcore Clubsport S – which was the last model to carry that name, the new Mk8 Clubsport doesn’t seem to be a limited-production model. Despite that though, it still carries a lot of the Clubsport DNA – most importantly its connection to the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
So what does a made-for-Nurburgring Golf GTI entail? Firstly, it has more power. The EA888 Evo4 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine from the GTI has been uprated to now produce 300 hp and 400 Nm of torque – a 55 hp and 30 Nm increase over the regular GTI, all of which sent to the front wheels only via a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox with Clubsport-specific gear ratios.
The added performance translates to a 0-100 km/h time of “under six seconds” compared to 6.2 seconds on the GTI, though still shares the same electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed.
But of course, you can’t call it a Clubsport with just a boost in output. The new flagship Golf GTI also gets a reworked chassis, equipped with an upgraded vehicle dynamics control system that now also integrates the electromechanical front-axle locking differential, in addition to the electronic differential locks (XDS) and adaptive shock absorbers that was already controlled by the system on the regular GTI.
The new GTI Clubsport also sits 10 mm lower than the regular Mk8 GTI, along with reworked suspension geometries, a more aggressive camber, and tweaked power steering to improve the corner-negotiating capabilities of the flagship hot hatch. VW works driver Benjamin Leuchter – who is also part of the Nurburgring development team for the car – even goes so far to say that the steering feels better than the Clubsport S.
The standout detail on the all-new Golf GTI Clubsport though, at least in respect to the Nurburgring, is the new Special driving mode which was tuned specifically for the Green Hell. In essence, it has everything maxed out at its most aggressive setting, but the suspensions softened to handle the bumpy surfaces of the historic race track.
With all of the performance improvements, along with larger and lighter brakes, the all-new Golf GTI Clubsport laps the Nordschleife a whopping 13 seconds faster than its “normal” sibling – 7:54 vs 8:07.
As for looks, the GTI Clubsport gets a more aggressive front bumper design with a larger honeycomb mesh air-intake surface that seemingly extends to the bottom to the car, along with a Clubsport signature two-tiered roof spoiler that’s said to “significantly increase the downforce” on the hot hatch.
The side skirts have also been widened, while at the rear you get a revised diffuser, bookended by two oval-shaped tailpipes, replacing the round ones on the regular GTI. As standard, the new Clubsport rides on 18-inch wheels, though 19-inch items are available as options.