The Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S flew over the start/finish line of the “Green Hell” like an arrow. With German racing driver Benny Leuchter (age 28) at the wheel, the most powerful Golf GTI ever smashed the existing lap record for front-wheel-drive production cars on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Future contenders will have to beat Leuchter’s time in the GTI: 7 minutes and 49.21 seconds.
This exclusive new hot hatch, based on the Golf GTI Clubsport, was developed to celebrate the GTI’s 40th anniversary. Even that model blurs the boundaries between production and racing cars, with its 265bhp (which can temporarily peak at 290bhp using the boost function) and aerodynamics that has been completely redesigned in many areas for improved downforces.
With the Golf GTI Clubsport S, Volkswagen has topped off the legendary model line with a new crown. The hard performance data of the new Golf GTI flagship is permanently available: 310bhp of horsepower, 380Nm of torque, 0-100km/h acceleration in 5.8 seconds, a top speed of 265km/h (not governed) and an EU unladen weight that has been reduced to 1360kg. However, it is the record lap time around the Nordschleife that really demonstrates how exceptionally fast this car actually is.
The Golf GTI Clubsport S comes with a setting for the most demanding racetrack in the world, which can be accessed using the driving profile selector. In the Individual driving profile, the VW engineers have developed a setting that is fine-tuned to suit the unique conditions of the Nürburgring. Over and above that, the driving profiles Comfort, Normal and Race are also available. Of course the driver can still adjust the settings in the Individual profile, and can revert to the Nürburgring setting at any time before driving onto on the Nordschleife.
The production run of 400 cars is the total worldwide figure, 100 of which will be delivered to customers in Germany. The colours of the limited edition stick to those of the original GTI: Tornado Red, Pure White and Deep Black Pearl Effect, and the roof of the red or white GTI Clubsport S is also painted black. No matter where in the world this car makes an appearance, it will always be a two-door with manual 6-speed transmission.
And this special edition is a two-seater. Doing away with the rear seats, including the central armrest, has accounted for the most noticeable weight saving. A smaller battery, as well as doing withou the insulating material, variable luggage compartment floor, rear parcel shelf, floor mats and bonnet damping pushed the weight down yet further. An aluminium subframe on the front axle and aluminium brake covers resulted in further weight savings.
The development team exploited synergies between motorsport and production vehicles in enhancing the engine performance, as they could draw on their experience with the 330bhp/410Nm Golf GTI TCR – the new racing car for the TCR International Series. This also gave them the opportunity to boost the engine to a permanent 310bhp and 380 Nm, and at the same time include the race setup of the Golf GTI TCR from the Saloon Car Championship.
Each of the 400 Golf GTI Clubsport S cars made will have its production number (001/400 to 400/400) on the centre console. The driver and the front seat passenger sit in racing bucket seats that provide the necessary lateral support while flying over the Nordschleife.
Also on board are the GTI insignia featured in the “normal” Golf GTI Clubsport, including the iconic golf ball gearknob with Alcantara trim, a red line in the safety belts, “Honeycomb 40” design decals (dashboard and doors) as well as elegant accents in Piano Black. Ergonomically designed for optimal performance on the racetrack is the extremely grippy Alcantara-trimmed sport steering wheel with a chrome GTI emblem, red stitching and 12-o’clock marking.
Read our review of the Mk 1 Golf GTI.