A prototype ‘GTI Clubsport’ - successor to the TCR -has been spotted hammering around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, displaying some distinct visual touches that set the car apart from its less powerful sibling.
There’s a reshaped front bumper, a larger rear spoiler, a redesigned diffuser and slightly larger oval exhaust pipes. The wheels look like they’re borrowed from the Golf R, but we’re more interested in what’s wrapping them - on closer inspection, the boots appear to be track-friendly Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. That’s a fairly extreme tyre, so as with the GTI TCR and the original Clubsport, we’d expect those to be available optionally rather than specced as standard.
Attempting to unstick those semi-slicks will be the EA888 inline-four turbo engine that’s shared across Golf GTI, GTI Clubsport and R. It’ll sit neatly between the two, but closer to the R in terms of output - the GTI is good for 242bhp, the Clubsport is expected to produce 297bhp and the R should make 329bhp, judging by a recent stats leak.
That leaves a fairly hefty gap between the GTI and the GTI Clubsport, which VW won’t be plugging - there’ll be no ‘GTI Performance’ this time around. So, if you want more go, you’ll have to fully commit and opt for the Clubsport.
Doing so won’t just get you some extra power, flashier looks and the option of better tyres. Judging by the outgoing TCR, the new one is in line for detuned adaptive dampers, a slight drop in ride height and a standard-fit ‘VAQ’ electronically-controlled locking differential. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is likely to be the only gearbox option, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the availability of a six-speed manual too.
Both the Clubsport and the R should be revealed before the year is out.