Volkswagen has revealed full UK specs and prices for the two new Golf flagships, the GTI Clubsport and the R. These two higher-end options will sit above the regular GTI, hybrid GTE and diesel GTD.
The 296bhp GTI Clubsport is a 55bhp-hotter version of the benchmark petrol-powered GTI. With 295lb ft of torque on tap it reduces the 0-62mph sprint to a 5.6-second affair – if you can get a good enough launch. That makes it the fastest Golf GTI ever. No manual gearbox, though.
With a rear spoiler reducing rear axle lift and a ‘Special’ driving mode adapted for the conditions at the Nurburgring, it’s a focused and determined front-wheel drive challenger. No excuse not to head to a touristenfahrten now, then…
It comes with two oval exhaust pipes for a bit more visual separation from the garden-spec GTI. Inside, there are model-specific ArtVelours seats, a fully digital instrument display and a familiar navigation system. Under the skin there’s an electromechanical locking differential at the front and clever XDS tech to fight understeer. Bigger brakes are standard, while DCC adaptive dampers are optional. Prices start from £37,215 on the road.
If you prefer your Golfs to send their power to all four wheels, the new 2021 Golf R is your thing. Positioned as the outright Golf halo car pending any special editions, the 316bhp, 310lb ft R uses the same EA888 engine as has every four-cylinder VW Group hot hatch since about 2008, but it’s DSG-only.
The 0-62mpg sprint is chalked off in just 4.7 seconds, securing the honours for fastest Volkswagen on sale. With the R-Performance Pack the top speed limiter can be raised to 168mph, while the same branding appears on the standard torque vectoring setup that adds a clever limited-slip differential to the rear axle. It controls not just front-rear torque distribution, but also the left-right split. Up to 100 per cent of the engine’s torque can be sent to the outside wheel on a bend if necessary, and yes, there’s a drift mode.
Like the GTI Clubsport it gets a Special driving mode for a Nurburgring-inspired chassis setup. Again, though, Dynamic Chassis Control is optional. Standard fit is the R body kit, quad exhaust tips, a heated steering wheel with an ‘R’ shortcut button to switch drive modes, unique black and blue cloth seats with ArtVelours trim inserts and blue-finished brake calipers.
If you like, you can add a titanium Akrapovic exhaust system, a panoramic sunroof, a Harmon/Kardon stereo and a head-up display. Prices start from a spendy-sounding £39,270 plus options.