VW Golf GTI Clubsport S09.06.2016
Wait, another fast Golf GTI?
Yes, as the hot hatch arms race has intensified with seemingly never-ending one-upmanship to be the King of the Nürburgring, there have been more and more variants of the humble Golf GTI brought into the world.
So what’s this one then?
The Clubsport S, the most powerful production Golf ever. And the fastest ever front-wheel-drive production car to lap the Nürburgring. It’s a £35,000 stripped-out, semi-slicked, uber powerful and aero’d version of the standard Clubsport (now known as the ‘Edition 40’).
Isn’t the Clubsport/Edition 40 a souped up version of the Golf GTI Performance Pack?
You’re right. Which is a more powerful and track-oriented version of the bogoo Golf GTI. We can see how this gets confusing.
Basically, the Clubsport S is the bobby-dazzler of the GTI range and the car that has Renault, Seat and Honda spitting feathers and scratching their heads as to how to go faster round the legendary Nordschleife.
How fast is it?
Very. It managed a 7:49.21sec around the Green Hell – 1.5sec faster than Honda’s Civic Type R – to claim the front-wheel-drive production car lap record. To give you some perspective of how fast these humble hot hatches are getting, that’s quicker than the motorsport-derived Porsche 996 GT3 (a true benchmark of quick), but a whopping 36 seconds a lap quicker than a Performance Pack GTI. Which is monstrous. Like, a full six Vines worth of time.
Jeepers. What have they done to it to make it that quick?
Stripped it, then added power. It’s a simple recipe but weight is always the enemy when trying to go fast.
So, VW engineers were ruthless and binned bits that weren’t deemed necessary. The rear seats, parcel shelf, hidden floor, armrests and some of the noise insulation were all chucked in the skip. In total, 30kg has been ravaged from the standard CS – helped by installing a smaller battery and aluminium front sub-frame.
But where weight is down, power is up. The usual 2.0-litre turbo four (the EA888 TSI unit, suck, squeeze, bang, blow fans) has been fettled to give 306bhp and 280lb ft of torque through the front wheels. Unlike the standard CS (which features an ‘overboost’ function only allowing for maximum power for 10 seconds when the throttle is on the floor) the S gives you all of its beans, all of the time.
It’s also got three pedals and a stick to change gears. Even though a DSG ‘box would swap cogs quicker, it’d also add 20kg to the overall weight of the car – a penalty not worth considering. And a win for the purists. Air con has also been shelved on five per cent of the 400 car limited-run, saving a further 15kg. Plus, the wider diameter exhaust breathes more easily and has got a bit shoutier in the process.
The result is a 1,360kg kerb weight, which alongside the extra power, yields a 0-62mph time of 5.8secs, and a top speed of 165mph. Yep, VW has also thrown away the electronic limiter.
What about the set-up?