You have to feel for the Golf GTI. With everyone raving about - and buying - the four-wheel drive R that sits above it in the range, it feels like the poor girl has been all but forgotten. But VW sure as hell hasn’t forgotten about it; last year we had the GTI Clubsport, and now the ante has been upped further with this, the GTI Clubsport S.
Before we go any further, you should know this: it’s now the fastest front-wheel drive production car to ever lap the Nurburgring. It clocked an astonishing time of 07:49:21, and unlike the previous ‘record holder’ - the Honda Civic Type R which lapped 1.4sec slower - there’s no ‘production ready prototype’ or similar caveat; the car that did the work is the real deal.
That said, the Clubsport S is a rather uncompromising proposition. It’s only a two-seater - the rear bench has been removed to save weight - and a lot of the sound deadening has been removed. The front subframe is now aluminium too, all of which comes together to save about 30kg in total.
In addition to the drop in weight, the S has also gained more power. There’s no overboost figure here as with the standard Clubsport, so the S makes a healthy 306bhp all the time. This gets it from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds if you can row through the six-speed manual gearbox fast enough.
Chassis-wise, there’s still the tried and tested VAQ electronic differential lock at the front, but the S also gets revised suspension with increased negative camber. The car sits on 19-inch wheels, wrapped in super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres.
Want one? You’ll have to get in line: just 400 are being made. No price has been revealed yet, but expect a hefty premium over the regular Clubsport, which costs £30,875.