The Golf GTi is the undisputed boss of the hot-hatch world. When the Mk1 version hit the streets way back in 1976 it blew people’s minds. It was (for the time) staggeringly fast. It was sharp, direct, it was ludicrous in comparison to everything else on the road. Rich in technology such as fuel injection and a dedicated sport chassis, it was a success from the off.
It still is today, even after many generations and changes (though we’re ignoring the dreadful Mk3). It’s also 40 this year. Something the bods at Wolfsburg are keen to celebrate. Hence this, the Volkswagen Golf GTi Clubsport S. That’s a name that will bore people to death when you say it in full. However, put them in the Clubsport S and they’ll be anything but bored.
So what is it? Well, it’s a hardcore GTi in a nutshell. It’s also the most powerful, too, with 306bhp on tap from the 2.0 turbocharged engine. It’s been tweaked, of course. The power comes between 5800-6500rpm, meaning you have to drive this thing hard to really enjoy it. We’re okay with that. We’re also okay with the lone transmission option of a 6-cog manual. This is a GTi – flappy paddles need not apply.
Power is one thing, but so is being nimble. That’s another area the Golf GTi Clubsport S has covered thanks to a curb weight of just 1,285kg. Lighter materials like a smaller battery and removed parts such as bonnet damping, insulation, luggage floor, parcel shelf and the back seats helped it lose the flab. Though the lack of back seats might seem odd to many, considering the Golf is a family car. Don’t worry, the Clubsport has them, so get one of those instead.
Speaking of the Clubsport, you’d think it would be a more refined option than the S. It’s not though. The S may have bucket seats and a 7m 49.21s lap time around the ‘ring, but it’s still civil to drive, not a crashy, hard, abrasive experience. It’s fun, it’s fast and it’s focused – the perfect embodiment of what the GTi stands for. Apart from the Mk3 of course – hateful thing.
Want one? We bet you do. Well, tough, you can’t, sorry. Only 400 are being built, 150 of which are destined for UK soil. Of those 150, all have been sold. Seems the notion of a family car that can’t actually seat your family is appealing to us Brits. The RRP of £33,995 didn’t put anyone off, but why would it? This car is destined to become a sought after classic in years to come. Just as any GTi (Mk3 notwithstanding) should. Nice work, Volkswagen.