The covetable Clubsport models
July 2016 saw the arrival of the GTI Clubsport coinciding with 40 years of the Golf GTI. It was basically a Golf R sans all-wheel drive.
Power was upped to 195kW, torque remained at 350Nm – though an overboost function briefly took things to 213kW and 380Nm. The additional grunt shaved time off its acceleration ability: now quoted at 5.9 seconds. Like the Performance Pack, it boasted an electro-mechanical differential lock and DCC.
A meaner exterior package set it apart from lesser GTI models: 18-inch Belvedere wheels (or 19-inch Brescia as an option); redesigned front and rear bumpers, Clubsport lettering down the side, and a rear spoiler. Inside, a velour steering wheel with a red 12 o’ clock mark took focus.
It cost R541,250 and was available exclusively with DSG. If you wanted manual labour, you would have had to wait for the more extreme Clubsport S.
For the purists
Served in three-door, two-seater format, with a manual gearbox, the Clubsport S came to our market in limited numbers. Only 47 of the total 400-unit production run had been allocated. It cost R742,000 at launch in 2017.
It rolled on Michelin Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres and wore the exquisite Pretoria-type alloys (19-inch). It then held the lap record for front wheel-drive production cars around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, posting a time of 07:49:21.
Power was up to 228kW and 380Nm. It was subjected to a rigorous weight reduction programme that saw the removal of insulation material, the luggage compartment cover and spare wheel. It used an aluminium sub-frame, while the chassis was toughened up to deal with track-level velocities and lateral forces.
In May 2017, the Golf 7.5 was launched and the GTI had also been treated to an assortment of subtle revisions. Power in standard form was now up to 169kW.