It’s a go-faster GTI with a sexy interior

Volkswagen has just showcased the Golf GTI TCR Concept – a model that will sit between the standard Golf GTI and Golf R as far as power is concerned. On top of an extra 45 horsepower over the standard GTI, the concept shows off an intriguing exterior look and an attractively upholstered cabin. The concept is set to become an official road-going model, despite its classification as a design study, by the end of 2018. As a model that’s derived from motorsport and based on the TCR race car, it’s quite likely the concept will end up being a special-edition model, but it could wind up being the car that fills the gap between the standard Golf GTI and Golf R, two models separated by more than 60 horsepower.

  • 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept
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    2.0 L
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
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Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept Exterior

  • Belvedere 18-inch wheels
  • 19-inch wheels optional
  • Slightly revised front fascia, splitter
  • Side skirts are new and meet the diffuser
  • TCR badging above the skirts
  • Can be customized with the GTI honeycomb design on the side
2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept
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At a glance, it would be hard to mistake the front end of this concept as anything but your standard Golf GTI.

At a glance, it would be hard to mistake the front end of this concept as anything but your standard Golf GTI. Volkswagen even claims that it gave it a new fascia with a new front splitter. What that really means is that the lower lip of the front fascia is a little more pronounced and painted in a glossy black. It’s the same story on the sides where the side skirts have been emphasized a bit and bear the TCR logo – a nice touch but not exactly anything to write home about. The classic GTI honeycomb is plastered on the side, though, giving a nice touch of contrast.

The final touches on the side profile include a pair of 18-inch, Belvedere wheels in gloss black and those red brake calipers, but we’ll talk more about those later. 19-inch wheels are optional as is that honeycomb decal, so don’t expect to get it without ponying up a little extra pocket change. Around back there is a little more going on, thanks to an all-new diffuser with four vertical fins. It also has a new pair of flanged out, chrome tailpipes and a nice overlay that is nearly identical to the insert on the front fascia.

All told, the Golf GTI TCR concept is attractive, but it’s not as good looking as Volkswagen would have you believe if you didn’t actually take a look for yourself. But, there’s a lot more to the concept than looks, so let’s take a closer look at the interior.

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept Interior

  • TCR logo projection on ground when doors open
  • Red illuminated panel trim
  • Premium sports seats wrapped in microfiber material.
  • Door inserts and shifter boot get microfiber too
  • Seat centers and stitching in Flash Red
  • Red contrast stitching on the steering wheel too
  • Red 12 o’clock stripe
2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept
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The interior got a little more treatment than the exterior, with the highlight – arguably- being the new contrast layout on the sport seats.

The interior got a little more treatment than the exterior, with the highlight – arguably- being the new contrast layout on the sport seats. They get the Flash Red stripes in the center to go with red stitching. That red stitching is also found on the steering wheel, armrest, and gear shifter boot. Furthermore, the seats are wrapped in microfiber – the same material found on the shifter boot and door inserts. Finally, steering wheel gets the flat bottom and a 12 O’clock stripe on the top of the steering wheel.

That’s not all, though. The panel trim is illuminated in red for an extra bit of ambiance, and the doors project the TCR logo onto the ground when the doors are opened. Yeah, it’s not as over-the-top as some of you might like, but it’s quite a nice look over that of the standard GTI, and there’s even more going on under the hood. So much so, actually, that it’s enough to sway you to take that one step closer to Golf R territory without dropping the GTI Badge.

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept Drivetrain

  • 285 horsepower
  • 272 pound-feet of torque
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (no manual option)
  • Locking differential
  • High-performance braking system with perforated discs
  • Two extra radiators for engine cooling
  • Top speed 155 mph
  • Top speed can be increased to 164 mph with speed limiter removal option
  • Option for more dynamic sports chassis and adaptive chassis control DCC
  • Option for electrically adjustable shock absorbers (button control)
2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept
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The Gold GTI TCR Concept is powered by a 2.0-liter, gasoline engine, but it’s a bit more powerful than the engine found in the standard GTI.

The Gold GTI TCR Concept is powered by a 2.0-liter, gasoline engine, but it’s a bit more powerful than the engine found in the standard GTI. We’re talking about 290 PS or 285 horsepower – that’s 45 horsepower more than the standard GTI and 20 horsepower less than the Golf R. It also delivers 370 nm (272 pound-feet) of torque, all of which is shunted through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission with a built-in locking differential. Off the production line, the car will be able to hit 250 km/h (155 mph), but that’s electronically limited and can be raised to as high as 264 km/h (164 mph) if you’re willing to pay for it.

To help keep things cool, the Golf GTI TCR Concept, and the production model it represents, have two extra radiators. A high-performance braking system (as seen earlier thanks to those red brake calipers) are also derived from the TCR racecar and will help the hot little hatch come to a stop “effortlessly.” In other words, don’t try to brake with your left foot. Those calipers will have the pleasure of squeezing perforated discs as well, which should help keep the brakes a bit cooler when being put through the paces on the track.

If you’re one of those guys who really likes to go to the track, you can also opt for a more dynamic sports chassis that also includes adaptive chassis control. It’s a little too much technology for me, but if it’s your thing, it might not be a bad upcharge to take on. You’ll also find you can have electronically adjusted shock absorbers that are button controlled to help control ride height and suspension stiffness.

Final Thoughts

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept
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The production model of this concept could turn out to be a big seller as it provides a bridge between the base GTI and the Golf R. However, with it having close to Golf R power, it has to be priced right or something – either the GTI or the R – will be cannibalized as a result. Of course, Volkswagen could produce this a special edition, which is more likely, and could even lead to it coming at a higher cost than the Golf R despite is lower power output. It will be interesting to see what the brand does with this future road-going car, but one thing is for sure, and that is that it’s coming.

  • Leave it
    • Exterior is kind of lazy in typical VW fashion
    • Honeycomb decal should be standard
    • Front fascia is identical to the standard model


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Press release

A new chapter of Golf GTI history has begun: With the world première of the 213 kW / 290 PS1 strong Golf GTI TCR Concept, Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Board Member for Sales, has unveiled the road version of the racing car of the international TCR series of the same name. The première took place today at the legendary GTI meeting at Reifnitz am Wörthersee, Austria. Jürgen Stackmann: "At the moment, the Golf GTI TCR Concept – an athlete derived from racing sport – is a study. But at the end of the year, we want to make this GTI vision come true."

The design, power and performance of the Golf GTI TCR Concept follow pure sports car doctrine. The power of the 370 Nm strong turbocharged engine is already transmitted to the front wheels from 1,600 rpm as standard via a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) and a locking differential. The top speed of the standard version will be 250 km/h, but this can be increased to 264 km/h by opting to remove the electronic Vmax limiter, making this Golf the fastest GTI of the current model range.

Numerous individual features contribute to the particularly sporty character of the new Volkswagen. The future standard version will leave the Wolfsburg plant with 18-inch “Belvedere” forged wheels; 19-inch alloy wheels will also be available as an option. Behind the large wheels there is a high performance braking system with perforated discs that decelerate the production car just as effortlessly as the TCR racing car. The top Golf GTI model features two extra radiators to ensure sufficient cooling for high engine performance.

If desired, particularly enthusiastic drivers can order a package that pushes the performance even further towards the racetrack: besides removal of the Vmax limit and the new 19-inch wheels, it includes an even more dynamic sports chassis and the adaptive chassis control (DCC). It adapts to the characteristics of the electrically adjustable shock absorbers at the touch of a button.

The Golf GTI TCR Concept shows that the future standard version will also prove its outstanding position in terms of looks: at the front, a newly designed bumper with sharply contoured splitter (front spoiler) identifies the Golf GTI as a TCR version. Also new: the newly designed panel attachment on the side, which is continued to the rear. Here, they join a diffuser and the exhaust system tailpipes. In the silhouette, the "TCR" lettering above the sills also attracts attention and is optionally customised with an additional decoration in the typical GTI honeycomb design. The Golf has a particularly inviting effect when opening the front doors: the TCR logo is then projected on to the asphalt. The stainless steel sill panel trim is personalised by means of a red illuminated element.

On the inside, the premium sport seats are finished with newly designed microfibre/fabric covers. The door inserts and gear stick cover have also been finished in microfibre. The seat centre sections are in the contrasting colour “Flash Red”, which is the bridge to the red contrasting stitching on the sports steering wheel. That is - just like racing - provided with a red 12 o’clock stripe.

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