One of the things that I love about Golf GTI is that when you walk back to one on a cold, wet or miserably gray day, it exudes this sense of well being not too aggressive, not too shouty just reassuringly, solid This is welcoming as a faithful Labradoodle.
The only trouble is that in recent years the standard GTI has perhaps lent a little too far in this direction, becoming more of a cozy hatch than a hot hatch.
And I think VW knows this, which is why for the Mark VIII has been very quick to roll out the club sport edition.
The rail Golf GTI please stand up.
First off, this Clubsport just looks so much better I think, than a standard GTI.
It’s so much more aggressive starting with this down here.
They’ve got rid of the foglights opened it up on this side, not on that side, but just on this side for more cooling Then we’ve got these little flick ups here.
It’s just a little thing but to me it makes the whole front look more angular, more aggressive, more like actually Huracan Evo rear wheel drive.
As you move down the side of the car, the whole thing sits 15 millimeters lower, that’s 10 millimeters lower than GTI 15 millimeters lower than the standard.
Mark 8 golf wheels, standard 18 inch Richmond rims, but these are one of two options for 19 inch rims.
So these are the Adelaide design.
pure white is the base colour for this so this is a no cost option colour and then we’ve got the new graphics.
Down the side as well.
At the back of the car there is a new rear wing that strikes a great balance between subtle and full Civic Type R.
It also adds the club sports overall reduction in aerodynamic lift, lower down the tailpipe so overall instead of round and they’re pushed slightly wider apart under the bonnet, well, it might not look like much instead of see a generic white plastic, there’s no sort of GTI logos on this squishy black cover.
Either, but it is quite an uplift over the standard GTI This is still a two litre turbocharged force in the EAA triple eight engine here, Evo four guys, but it’s fed by a larger intercooler.
The turbo which sits in the back down here is different so it’s gone from a Garret item To a continental item, they’re also recommending that you run it on 98.
Wrong fuel is placed in 95 for the standard GTI the result of all this while we’re up to 296 brake horsepower, and 295 pounds for the talk, that’s 54 brake horsepower and 22 pounds foot uplift over the standard GTI As a result, not 62 just 5.6 seconds.
For reference, the standard GTI only manages to do the same sprint in 6.4 seconds.
Anyway, what about the interior?
The nice thing is that once you get into here Trying to find your way out of the multi storey carpark.
quite confusing places aren’t they?
This still feels like a GTI it’s no stripped out Raisa despite being Clubsport.
And you get that lovely, welcoming feeling in here.
There’s something I think perhaps to do with all the blue lighting, which I remember thing came in on the mark for Golf GTI there’s just something Soothing about the atmosphere in here.
And now with a sort of ambient lighting, you’ve gotten the doors as well.
It’s just a lovely place to be and do like the steering wheel.
There’s kind of a bit of GTI badging down there and I sort of read chrome but VW has done good GTI steering wheels ever since.
The Mark five really With just a little bit of a flat bottom to it but they’re good to hold.
Some of it obviously is generic Mark 8 Gulf.
And well, I’ve mentioned it before, so I’m not gonna bang on about it too much, but the touchscreens, not the biggest fan of those and sort of volume controls here.
Got haptic switches on the steering wheel as well, which sort of work quite well, but I’m not their biggest fan I have to say, and lights and things like that.
It just seems like a layer of complication that’s not really needed.
It’s not an improvement as far as I’m concerned in actual usability.
There are some distinctive Clubsport things in here.
Like the seats, you don’t get tartan and here you get this new art verloor covering with a sort of hexagon pattern on the seats and some nice red highlights as well.
One of the things that is sort of club sports specific is the gear selector because this is only available with a seven speed DSG As much as a little lever is a touch apologetic, it’s still easier than buttons when you need to find reverse.
The menus in these screens are reasonably easy to navigate.
The actual screen itself is quite a long way away.
Unfortunately, they haven’t actually changed the graphics on this screen to a Clubsport GCI is just a standard GTI so it’s got that Same from bumper grille which is better shamy.
So it could have done that really.
I do love the screen in here though, you can change the way that it looks by tapping the View button on the steering wheel here.
You can have that two classic dials here or my favorite which is a single big central rev counter with a speed in the middle and then you can configure the ones on the side of it.
Other things well they have also quickened up the steering, and had not overruled so sort 2.1 turns lock to lock but the ratio is now 14 to one Solid the data heads so just just a quick random old story carpark.
Okay which must be able to get out of here say exit>>
because of course hopefully not all your days in a GTI will be grey and spend.
To the multi story car park.
That’s a bit more like it.
The thing I really like about Golf GTI And it’s only applies to this Clubsport is that the maturity really with which they go down the road.
Sort of unflustered, but actually deeply impressive.
It just means you can really throw it out corners and bumps and it remains faithful so you can really dissect a road.
Of course there have been some changes over the standard car.
At the rear.
The club sport has new bearings and the dampers, new wheel mounts and newly configured control arms.
While at the front, the negative camber has been increased to 1.2 degrees.
All of this was overseen by none other than cast and shed stat Man whose impressive pomares includes the first Ford Focus, and the 997 variant of Porsches gt three, feel the urgency about it.
There’s a sharpness of response to all your inputs that’s really definitely just lifts it above the standard GTI quite nice.
<inaudible> Now, obviously, as I mentioned, we’ve got more power and talk in this club sport, but also the DSG and gearbox they’ve given that shorter ratio, which again, adds to the keenness of the call, actually the pedals on the back of head.
</inaudible> [NOISE] They’re better than I remember in the past [NOISE] Yeah there are still little plastic [UNKNOWN] exactly wonderful but, [UNKNOWN] in-depth down there that just made them a little bit nicer to use.
[NOISE] The brakes are now bigger, 357 millimeter diameter disks.
They’re also slightly lighter because of the way they’re built up, which obviously helps with unsprung mass.
They’ve also retune the feel of the brakes, so you don’t get that over sensitive over servo feeling there’s a lot of vag products seem to have and it gives a much nicer, more progressive feel through the pedal travel.>> Let’s talk about how.
Traction is managed in this other than obviously with your right foot.
You see, we’ve got SDS, which is factory sort of a fake Limited slip diff because it uses the brakes to help control traction.
But then we have got a proper mechanical limited slip diff, but electronically actuated Not the VA que Deaf which I’m a big fan of it’s been in golf GTS for quite a while and it just seems to work really well it matches the rest of the car and the way that it it doesn’t instantly sort of grab it.
The front it doesn’t make it really snatchy through corners it just gives it smoothness as you apply the power.
Put simply, you can think of the VA que diff is like a holodeck but applying to the front wheels instead of between the front and rear axles.
With ese on you can definitely feel the the brakes tweaking the car.
This is pretty good actually it’s not woefully sort of intrusive or anything.
But to get the truest feeling of how that the aq diff works you didn’t need to go into here.
Stereo breaks ESC system offers confirm simple in this latest Clubsport the diff isn’t quite as obvious in its deployment you know it’s still there, you know it’s still doing its thing because of the way the cars behaving.
But you don’t get quite as much feedback from it through the starring used to sort of get a bit more sense of it sort of ramping up and really sort of tightening.
Now on the x and the corners, you know, is that but you’re not getting as much through the steering, which I think is a bit of a shame because it was never sort of kicking back through the wheel.
It was just gently sort of wriggling and nice to let him know it was there.
The way that the diff behaves changes with the various modes so we’ve got the button down here and she find it.
There we go we’ve got Eco, fairly self explanatory comfort which is a sort of a normal mode and then sport.
The standard GTI does of course get the VA q diff these days however, whereas the standard cars vehicle dynamics manager only controls the SDS, the club sports VDM controls both next DS and the aq.
I do love a TI.
Now I want to talk about the spec of this car because this is a very early car.
And it is missing.
One, possibly two technically fairly crucial options.
It hasn’t got Michelin Pilot Sport cup two tires, which are an option apparently you should be able to spec them later on.
The other thing that this is missing is DCC, which is dynamic chassis control, we’ll come back to what DCC adds, In a second, so this car is on passive dampers which I like I’m a fan of passive down because you know where you are with a car.
And I think, obviously the setup was going to be a bit of a compromise is pretty good actually.
It’s undeniably firmer than some might want to do everyday stuff, but it’s not jarring or harsh.
However, I think DCC is well, I think it’s pretty much a must have option.
Firstly, why specking you do get that, that breadth of ability within the dampens so, you can have that everyday comfort, as well as the most focused settings with firmness when you really want to go on track for example, you also miss out on with this, the [UNKNOWN] Setting, which was trumpeted an awful lot when they announced this car.
The Nurburgring setting is a subset of sport, actually with slightly softer dampers than than in sport and, I’m not saying it would necessarily be much better than this, but I think when it’s meant to be a standout feature, it’s a shame not to have it in terms of nurburgring lap times, this is 13 seconds quicker than standard GTI on cup twos.
And it’s only five seconds behind the old clubs called x which obviously had no rear seats.
I’m surprised by how good this car’s sports sounds largely.
Got some nice pops and crackles as well.
Interestingly, if you go into the modes and you go into individual, and then you choose to spec your various things, there is a chassis option, which would seem odd given that we haven’t got adaptive dampers.
And there’s another option for steering so it’s not that.
I think if I was gonna go out on a limb, I think that actually might be the Limited Slip diff, just changing the settings on that although there was a separate option for that and the old TCR So, find out when you put it into sport, I think the front end just feels a little bit more hooked up just a little bit tighter.
I really like this Clubsport.
It just strikes.
A really nice blend of the usable and the aggressive.
Is it as good as a Civic Type R?
Possibly not but then you don’t have to put up with the Civic Type RS looks.
We don’t have it over an old 7.5 Golf TCR I’m not sure I’d be necessarily looking to upgrade from that because I still think that car is brilliant but not with a touchscreens either.
I think the steering is a little bit better on the old TCR as well.
But in terms of this or standard GTI it’s definitely this Yes, with over 37,000 pounds this cost 2700 pounds more than an equivalent DSG spec standard GTI.
But I think the change is more than justify the extra outlay.
Because it’s good to have a hot hatch that not only feels comforting on the days But also excites you enough to take it out and go for a drive, just because there might be a good sunset.