2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
The Golf GTI TCR is ready for the 2016 racing seasonby Robert Moore, on LISTEN 08:40
Back in June of 2015, Volkswagen dropped news of the Volkswagen Golf TCR that was basically a 2013 Seat Leon Cup Racer with a Golf body. That car was a concept that was designed to see how the gold could stand up in racing events. Its final testing was completed by Liqui Moly Team Engstler, which led to a win at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in 2015. With that initial testing Volkswagen was able to add the finishing touches to its customer-focused race car, and now we’re graced with this – the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
You’ll notice a striking resemblance to the Golf GTR concept that proved itself at the Red Bull Ring, but the finalized product is a little more refined and sports its own subtle little differences. It still boasts a rather powerful four-cylinder engine and still has the blood of the Seat Leon Cup Racer flowing through veins, but this car will surely find itself right at home at the track, just as the Golf TCR did last year, and the Seat Leon Cup Racer has for the past few.
This car is an exciting development, and if you’ve had a chance to drive the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport or the lesser 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI, you already know why. The road going variants of the Golf are responsive and handle quite well, which is why the Golf – at least in some form – deserves a place on the track. There’s just something about a hatchback racer that works, and this Golf GTI TCR is no exception. Keep reading to find out more about Volkswagen’s new race car.
2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Horsepower @ RPM:330
Torque @ RPM:302
0-60 time:5.2 sec.
Top Speed:143 mph
The same headlights from the Golf TCR carried over to this model, but a red, horizontal stripe runs from the inboard point to the outer edge of the headlight
In comparison to the Golf TCR, the GTI TCR has a few more aerodynamic qualities and some minor changes. Up front, the top and outboard side of the corner vents on the fascia have a large black insert. Three horizontal louvers run across each vent. Down below a small spoiler wraps around the fascia and a horizontal louver now runs across the large air dam toward the top. The same headlights from the Golf TCR carried over to this model, but a red, horizontal stripe runs from the inboard point to the outer edge of the headlight. The circular VW emblem is backed by a honeycomb grille between the headlights with a red horizontal stripe creating a link between the headlights and a red GTI emblem on the passenger side. It looks like the same hood carries over from the GTR, which was already perfect to begin with, so no complaints there.
To the sides that wide body kit provides for the necessary wheel arch extensions over the wheels, allowing the use of much wider wheels and tires compared to the road-going Golf. The side skirts are non-dramatic units, designed solely with aerodynamics in mind. A mild body line connects the front and rear wheel arches, and the mirrors are two tone, with the housing painted in the same finish as the body and the connecting arms painted black.
To the rear, we see the same large, downforce-producing spoiler mounted to the rear hatch. The same taillight units carry over from the Golf TCR, but a red “GTI” badge has been placed on the driver side of the hatch. That large black cladding runs along the rear fascia, curling at the end and doubling back toward the rear diffuser. Reflectors are now positioned along the lower extension of that cladding. The rear diffuser on the GTI TCR is smooth and doesn’t have the vertical fins seen on the TCR from last year. A single exhaust outlet sits at each end of the diffuser.
Altogether, this Golf GTI TCR looks ready for the track, and, to be honest, the aerodynamic design is mild enough that I could even stomach driving it on the street. It would be a little extreme for a daily driver, but it would certainly be nice to look out the office window and see this baby in the parking lot, wouldn’t it?
Volkswagen didn’t release any images of the interior for the Golf GTI TCR, but you can bet that it doesn’t vary much from the Golf TCR that we saw last year. In the press release associated with this car, VW said to expect a racing seat with head protectors, racing safety cage, and an FIA-approved safety tank. If we look at the picture provided with the Golf TCR last year, we get a glimpse of what the interior looks like. The dashboard, for the most part remains, as do the door trim panels, but expect the rest of the car to be gutted to make way for the roll cage. The steering while should be removable, and I expect to see a driver drink system as well as the same 14.5-gallon fuel tank from the A3 Quattro that allows for the straight exhaust exits in the rear.
The Golf GTI TCR can hit the 62 mph sprint in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 143 mph.
The Golf GTI TCR rides on VW’s MQB platform and is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 330 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. For comparison purposes, that is 65 horsepower more than the Volkswagen Gold GTI Clubsport. The engine has direct fuel injection and is an up-rated version of the engine in the Golf R.
All that power is sent to the front wheels via multi-disk sintered clutch, and a six-speed sequential racing transmission that is shifted by paddles located behind the steering wheel. According to VW, the Golf GTI TCR can hit the 62 mph sprint in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 143 mph.
|Type||Straight-four engine with turbocharger and intercooling, transversally mounted in front of the front axle|
|Output||243 kW (330 hp) at 6,200 rpm-1|
|Torque||410 Nm at 2,500 rpm-1|
|Bore/stroke||82.5 mm/92.8 mm|
|Engine control unit||Continental SIMOS|
|Gearbox||Six-speed sequential racing gearbox, shift paddles on steering wheel|
|Gearbox final drive||Front-wheel drive with multi-plate differential|
|Clutch||Multi-disk sintered clutch|
|Acceleration 0–100 km/h||5.2 seconds|
|Top speed||230 km/h|
Volkswagen has yet to drop pricing for its new race car, but Expect it to be priced significantly higher than road-going models. I would expect to see a price tag in at least the $70,000 bracket, if not a little higher. Then again, that is a rough estimate, and I may be way off. We’ll update pricing information as soon as we get it, so check back again soon.
TCR International Racing is so dominated by VAG that most of the competition comes with similar German Engineering. Models like the Seat Leon and Audi TT are the main competition, but there are a few other models out there. One such model is the 2016 Opel Astra TCR, which debuted at the Frankfurt auto show last September. TCR regulations require no more that 2.0-liters of displacement, so as you would suspect, the Astra TCR is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Horsepower output sits at 330 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. That is identical to the Golf GTI TCR, so expect these two to have some epic battles assuming the drivers have what it takes. The last we heard, the Astra TCR was going for $128,220 plus VAT.
Read our full review on the Opel Astra TCR here.
In addition to competing against the Opel Astra TCR, there are a few Honda Civics and Ford Focuses that have also made their appearance in TCR in the past, so I suspect the Golf GTI TCR will likely compete against those this year as well. TCR might not have as much intensity as some, but these smaller 2.0-liter powered cars are surely fun to watch as they whip around a track.
As far as the Golf GTI TCR is concerned, I’m happy to see that Golf is making its way into TCR. I’ve always been a fan of the little hot hatch. The base, road-going models are a little slow for my taste, but they are fun to tune and play with, if you know what you’re doing. Maybe it’s just something about German engineering, but the Golf has always been my favorite hatch, and I sure wouldn’t mind owning one of these little racers. Who knows, maybe my next project will be converting a Golf into a TCR racers. That would be a fun project.