New VW Golf GTI Clubsport to be the fastest FWD Golf ever

The refreshed Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport will be the most powerful front-wheel-drive VW Golf ever made when it arrives later this year, according to the German brand.

Sporting a new, meaner-looking face than its predecessor and fitted with lowered suspension, the track-honed hot hatchback will also be the first UK-market VW to have an illuminated front badge – thanks to a recent local law change.

To be unveiled at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race next Friday, the flagship of the VW Golf GTI range is powered by the new Golf’s reworked turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, rated at 262bhp in the standard GTI.

VW has yet to disclose power figures for the Clubsport, but given the firm’s “most powerful ever” claim, the hatch is expected to arrive with more muscle than the current car’s 296bhp and 295lb ft, potentially pushing to match the Honda Civic Type R’s 310bhp.

Expect this extra power to be achieved by clever tweaks to the four-cylinder engine, such as the current Clubsport’s different turbo and revised cooling over the previous GTI.

Paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the uprated reserves are likely to enable the hatch to better its predecessor’s 5.6sec 0-62mph time. Again, the Civic’s 5.2sec is likely to be the target. Key to this, VW says, will be a new electronically controlled front differential, details of which are still under wraps.

vw golf gti clubsport rear

Although still camouflaged before its official unveiling, the Clubsport is visually a raunchier offering than its already sporty GTI sibling. 

The main changes are at the front, with squatter headlights, a lowered nose and reworked grille design all giving it a rather angry demeanour.

Elsewhere, as before, the Clubsport has a roof-mounted spoiler, reshaped rear end, and a new tail-light design. Sill extensions are fitted to give the car a more planted presence on the road.

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