VW Golf GTI Clubsport confirmed with 261bhp

The VW Golf GTI is still one of our favourite hot hatches, but it’s far away from being the most powerful on the market. Hoping to rectify that is a new 261bhp GTI Clubsport concept that will be shown at this year’s Worthersee GTI festival in Austria and will enter production.

Although technically a show concept, in the same vein as Audi’s new TT Clubsport Turbo and the Skoda Fabia estate rally car, the GTI Clubsport has been confirmed for series production in 2016, priced from around £27,000. It’ll take on the Renaultsport Megane 265 and compliment SEAT’s Leon Cupra.

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These official sketches provide a teaser of what to expect for the Clubsport. It’s being built to mark the 40th anniversary of the hot GTI model, now in its seventh variation. The Golf is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the hot hatch boom in the late seventies and early eighties.

It uses the same ‘EA888’ turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit that’s found in the standard GTI and the Leon. Power has been bumped up from 217bhp in the GTI (227 with the Performance Pack) to 261bhp, roughly the same as the base Cupra. An ‘overboost’ function can boost that up to 287bhp for short bursts of acceleration.

A torque output is yet to be revealed but we can expect a slight increase over the healthy 350Nm figure of the standard GTI. The familiar six-speed dual-clutch ‘box will feature, too. Although VW bosses have confirmed there’s less of a market for hotter manual Golfs, such as the four-wheel-drive R, this car’s more focused nature may mean a manual option.

At the front the most evident changes are the enlarged honeycomb-style lower air intake, which is now flanked by two trapezoidal air ducts beside the regular brake cooling vents. The more aggressive look is completed with a more prominent front splitter.

The side view brings a more distinctive wheel design (19-inch on the concept, 18-inch for production) and black graphics wrap around the lower edge of the car, while gloss black door mirrors also feature. At the rear a longer black rear spoiler dominates, while a diffuser style bumper rounds out the styling tweaks.

We can expect the familiar six-speed dual-clutch transmission to feature, although we can’t confirm if Volkswagen plans to offer a manual gearbox. VW bosses have confirmed to us that the market for more powerful Golfs, such as the four-wheel drive Golf R revolves around the DSG, which reflects why they don’t offer a manual on the new estate version.

Now read our full review of the current Volkswagen Golf GTI…

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