The incredible Golf GTI Clubsport S is not coming back, says Volkswagen

Volkswagen just unveiled the Clubsport version of the latest Golf GTI. While it’s not a big departure inside and out, the Clubsport cranks out an extra 54 horsepower and 22 pound-feet of torque and it’s 13 seconds quicker than the standard Golf GTI on the Nurburgring Nordschleife. That’s all excellent news, but if you were hoping for a beefed-up Clubsport S version and a new Nurburgring record, we have bad news: Volkswagen isn’t going to do it.

Volkswagen won’t build another Golf GTI Clubsport S

Volkswagen: A 296-Horsepower Golf Is Enough, Don't Expect a Golf GTI Clubsport S Exterior
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The news comes from Karsten Schebsdat, the company’s head of driving dynamics. Speaking to Autocar ahead of the unveiling of the Golf GTI Clubsport, the official said that a Clubsport S model is "not planned now." This doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t see a Clubsport S sometime in the future, but Volkswagen is probably giving up on setting Nurburgring records for now. At least not with gasoline-powered cars.

Since Dieselgate, Volkswagen has been focusing on developing electric cars and its new I.D. series is expanding as we speak. As technology becomes better and more affordable to produce, I.D. cars will also become much more powerful, so Volkswagen’s record-setting future probably lies in fully electric vehicles. The I.D. R race car has already set records on a few notable race track, so it’s safe to say that VW’s priority now is to develop high-performance EVs for the road rather than high performance versions of existing gas-powered cars.

The previous Clubsport S was the most powerful Golf GTI ever produced

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Introduced in 2016 to celebrate 40 years since the first Golf GTI was built, the Clubsport S is a more aggressive variant of the Clubsport.

Fitted with bucket front seats and stripped of its rear seats, the Clubsport S is 66 pounds lighter than the GTI Clubsport, itself lighter than the regular Golf GTI.

It features a beefed-up 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 306 horsepower. That’s 89 horsepower more than the old Golf GTI and 79 horses more than the old GTI with the Performance Package. Impressively enough, the Clubsport S is also more powerful than the old Golf R, coming with 10 extra horses.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S High Resolution Exterior
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The old Clubsport S is also more powerful than new-generation performance versions of the Golf. It generates 64 horses more than the Golf GTI Mk8, as well as 10 horsepower more than the current Golf Clubsport.

In the absence of a new-generation Golf R, the old Golf GTI Clubsport S remains the most powerful Golf ever built as of October 2020.

The Golf GTI Clubsport was also the fastest production car with front-wheel drive on the Nurburgring in 2016. With a lap time of seven minutes and 49.21 seconds, the German hatch lapped the ’Ring faster than competitors like the Honda Civic Type R, Seat Leon Cupra, and Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R. The Clubsport S has since been dethroned by the Honda Civic Type R and the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, the latter being nine seconds quicker on the German track.

You’ll have to settle for the "standard" VW Golf GTI Clubsport

Volkswagen: A 296-Horsepower Golf Is Enough, Don't Expect a Golf GTI Clubsport S Exterior
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While it’s not as powerful as the old Clubsport S, the new Golf GTI Clubsport is nothing to sneeze at. Rated at 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, it packs an extra 54 horses and 22 pound-feet when compared to the regular Golf GTI. The Clubsport needs "under six seconds" to hit 62 mph, which makes it at least four tenths quicker than the Golf GTI. When it comes to track performance, the Golf GTI Clubsport lapped the Nurburgring in 7:54 minutes, which is 13 seconds quicker than the Golf GTI. That’s also only five seconds slower than the old Clubsport S.

Source: Autocar

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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