When news of VW’s Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 dropped last year, we rather liked what we saw. Naturally, the assumption was that the car - built to celebrate the Golf GTI’s 40th anniversary - would sit somewhere between the regular GTI with Performance Pack and the full-fat Golf R in terms of pricing, and sit between the two it does. But only just, as it’s damn near as expensive as the R.
Order books opened this week with the Clubsport pegged at £30,875, just £245 less than a three-door manual R despite having two less driven wheels and 36bhp less from the same EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. The gap narrows a bit when you take into account the overboost feature - which gives the Edition 40 286bhp for 10 second bursts - but that price is still a lot to stomach.
That said, the Clubsport will be much more exclusive. While there isn’t a specific limit to the number being built, production is “time limited” and VW anticipates that no more than 1000 will make their way over to the UK.
It’s also a lot more interesting than previous anniversary Golfs. As well as the extra power and the standard fitting of VW’s VAQ locking differential, the Clubsport gets overhauled suspension with revised springs, retuned dampers and altered bump stops. On the outside there’s an aero package consisting of a multi-part rear spoiler, a rear diffuser, new side skirts and a completely redesigned front bumper, all coming together to increase downforce.
The inside is treated to a set of Alcantara sports seats - with tartan detailing, of course - although the fabulous looking bucket seats you see about are an optional extra.
£30,875 buys you a manual three-door car, while if you want an extra pair of doors and a DSG twin-clutch gearbox, that rises to £32,945. The first deliveries of UK cars are expected to take place this summer.