Analyzing the New Features of the 2021 VW Golf GTI Clubsport

Volkswagen Golf GTI VIII Clubsport 7 photos
Photo: Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen Golf GTI ClubsportVolkswagen Golf GTI ClubsportVolkswagen Golf GTI ClubsportVolkswagen Golf GTI ClubsportVolkswagen Golf GTI ClubsportVolkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport
After a successful reception, the eight-generation Golf received the GTI, GTD, and GTE versions, which were equally well-received, but Volkswagen saved the best for last, recently introducing the most powerful and track-capable version, the GTI Clubsport.
Developed to replace the legendary Beetle, the Golf made its debut in 1973 and quickly became Volkswagen’s best-selling model. Across eight generations, it even made the top 3 best-selling car models of all time.

The latest generation Golf was revealed in 2019, and it was developed on the German carmaker’s MQB platform. It features gasoline, diesel, and hybrid powertrains and it was only available as a five-door hatchback at first.

The three-door chassis was dropped due to poor sales, but a wagon (Variant) version was revealed last month, along with a rugged all-wheel-drive Alltrack version that features a stronger, slightly raised suspension.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport
Photo: Volkswagen AG.
The high-performance versions of the Golf are the diesel-powered 2.0-liter turbocharged 197 hp (147 kW; 200 PS) GTD , the GTI version that features a 2.0-liter TSI gasoline-powered engine that produces 211 hp (180 kW; 245 PS), and the hybrid variant GTE that is capable of delivering the same power as the GTI.

A fourth model was recently revealed and goes all the way to the top of the Golf-chain being the most powerful of them all.

At the heart of the flagship Golf sits the same 2.0-liter inline-four TSI engine that is found under the hood of the standard GTI, being enhanced to produce 296 hp (221 kW; 300PS) and 400Nm (295 ft-lb) of torque.

To handle the increased power, the Clubsport ditches the six-speed manual gearbox available with the standard GTI in favor of the electronically controlled dual-clutch seven-speed DSG. The suspension system was also enhanced, and the car is now 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) lower than the GTI.

A new sport running gear is also available and it is equipped with a new Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which is an integrated vehicle handling system that centrally coordinates all electromechanical running gear functions like steering, adaptive suspension, the electronic differential locks (XDS), and the lateral dynamics components of the adaptive chassis control (DCC).

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport
Photo: Volkswagen AG.
This noticeably improves performance and makes the GTI Clubsport handle much better, especially on the racetrack. For this, the folks at Volkswagen introduced an exclusive driving profile called Nurburgring, which is designed specifically for the famous Nordschleife, the most demanding track in the world.

Also exclusive for this version are modifications to the exterior, like the front bumper that has a wider opening at the bottom, and larger aerodynamic wings. The radiator grille features the same honeycomb design as the GTI version.

On the rear of the Clubsport, we find a new diffuser and an exclusive two-piece roof spoiler. These, along with the front spoiler are not just design features, they exponentially increase downforce.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport
Photo: Volkswagen AG.
Other exclusive features are the new oval tailpipes added to the sports exhaust system, which replace the round ones found on standard GTIs and standard 18-inch alloy wheels.

No noticeable changes from the GTI for the interior of the Clubsport edition, but if we are fair, we should acknowledge that none were needed. It is a beautiful cockpit that features one of the nicest steering wheels VW has ever made, the ArtVelours sport seats are brilliant, offering cornering support and the aluminum pedals feel and look just right.

The Nurburgring-optimized high-performance Golf will be available from 2021, with Volkswagen yet to announce how much it will cost but with the GTI starting at about $28,000 we can expect the Clubsport to be available somewhere north of $40.000.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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