2016 VW Golf GTI Clubsport Image: VW
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Price at last! VW Golf GTI Clubsport arrives

  • 40 years of Golf GTI – anniversary of an icon
  • Golf GTI Clubsport develops 213kW (briefly)
  • 0-100km/h? Get there in 5.9 seconds
2016 VW Golf GTI Clubsport Image: VW
2017 VW Golf GTI Clubsport Image: VW / Newspress

Early in 2016 the VW Golf GTI – the ‘hot-hatch’ icon – celebrated 40 years of production. It all began in 1976 when only 5000 units of badged “GTI” were planned. Four decades later more than two-million (62 000 of them in South Africa) have been delivered worldwide and many have become classics.

GTI cars are collected – they embody passion and that is why no other car in this segment even comes close to the GTI’s large fan-base.

The Golf GTI concept has been developed and sharpened through seven generations.

2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress
2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress

“Those who drive a GTI do not need to explain their choice,” VW says. “The car has long been a statement in itself and there are very few automobile name suffixes that have become so well-known.

“Even fewer depict unmistakable superlatives: “GTI” and “Turbo” – there are not many others. Everybody recognises the models and brands behind these names get the GTI has always been an affordable dream.

So, to mark its 40 years, VW has produced the Golf GTI Clubsport – a special edition in a class of its own and the most powerful GTI yet. Its turbo direct-injection engine makes 195kW (26kW more than the current most powerful Golf GTI Performance Pack) though there is more: for about 10 seconds a driver kickdown will boost power by nearly 10% to 213kW and torque from 350Nm (from 1700-5300rpm) to 380Nm.

READ: More features on VW Golf cars
The car is capable of 5.9sec to 100km/h and can continue accelerating to reach 249km/h, helped by a six-speed direct-shift manual/auto transmission.

2.0 TSI 228kW Golf GTI Clubsport S manual – R742 000

The Golf GTI Clubsport S comes standard with a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.

New on the Clubsport are the front bumper, sills, rear diffuser, multi-part roof spoiler and forged alloy wheel rims though, VW says, not merely for visual customisation but rather for more downforce and dynamic performance.

2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress
2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress

Anniversary GTI models were also produced for the 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th anniversaries and, VW says, each has become a classic. The Golf GTI Clubsport has the potential to join that list.

VIDEO: Take a high-speed track ride with the new VW Golf GTI Clubsport

Just as in car racing, the Golf GTI Clubsport accelerates in a controlled manner from stationary with its maximum power of up to 213kW. Launch control works like this: ASR is deactivated by pushing the ESC button, the driver presses the left foot on the brake pedal, the shift lever is set to the “S” position (Sport) or Sport is selected in the driving profile selector, the driver increases engine speed to 3000rpm – then takes the left foot off the brake pedal.

Now the Clubsport starts off at maximum acceleration because in this case the engine’s boost remains active for 20 seconds. After accelerating, ASR is reactivated.

Running gear – handling properties retuned

Like other Golf GTI derivatives, the Clubsport comes with a sport chassis 15mm lower than the standard car. It also has a front differential-lock, XDS+ vehicle dynamics and progressive steering (significantly smaller steering wheel movement required).

The sport chassis was tuned for the Clubsport: handling characteristics perfected by a new spring layout, shock-absorbers tuned, bump stops optimised These measures and the modified aerodynamics aim to achieve agility and steering precision, high-speed stability and predictable vehicle reactions and optimised grip through road curves.

2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress
2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress

The front differential lock, unlike a mechanical lock, has a variable degree of locking to prevent negative effects on steering response and precision and to release the full potential and performance of the car’s dynamics; comfort, VW says, is not impaired under any circumstances.

The lock also prevents the inside wheel losing adhesion through fast curves or if suddenly being on, say, water, sand or grass.

The lock, first used as part of the GTI Performance Pack, also ensures that this wheel does not slip. However, VW adds, the most impressive effects of the lock occurs when accelerating out of a bends by reducing acceleration-related understeer, stabilising oversteer and improving load change behaviour.


The car’s power is transferred to the road via exclusive 18″ ‘Belvedere” rims shod with 225/40 tyres. Optional are 19″ “Brescia” alloy rims with 225/35 tyres.

The lower rear of the car has also been customised. Viewed diagonally from the rear, the observer notices that the line of the wrap-around splitter (beneath the sill) is continued into a large, high-gloss black rear diffuser and the tailpipes are much larger than those of the standard Golf GTI.

2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress
2017 VW Golf Sport Image: VW / Newspress

The cabin, VW says, has iconic details of every Golf GTI: ergonomic leather sports seats, red stitching, black headlining. Bucket seats are an option. Sporty decorative features include velour trim around the gear lever, new lenses for the gearshifter, a very grippy velour-trimmed sport steering wheel (with GTI emblem, red stitching,12 o’clock mark) and customised mats with red piping.

Other standard items include ambient lighting, two-zone auto climate control, a premium multi-function display and a 16.5cm media infotainment system.

Above all that, the Clubsport can be customised with a Discover Pro Radio and satnav, auto high-beam, DynAudio Excite sound system, keyless access/locking and engine starting system, tilting sunroof, parking radar and a rear camera.

Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)
VW Golf GTI 2.0 TSI 162kW – R465 500
VW Golf GTI 2.0 TSI 162kW DSG – R481 500
VW Golf GTI 2.0 TSI 169kW Performance Pack DSG – R501 500
VW Golf GTI 2.0 TSI 195kW Clubsport DSG – R540 200
The Clubsport comes with a five-year or 90 000km service plan, three-year or 120 000km warranty and 12-year anti-rust through guarantee.
Service intervals: 15 000km.

THE 40-YEAR HISTORY OF THE GOLF GTI – 1976-2016 – below image. How many do YOU remember? 

2016 VW Golf GTI Clubsport Image: VW

2017 VW Golf GTI Clubsport Image: VW / Newspress

1976: Launch of the first Golf GTI 1.6 capable of 81kW/182km/h.
1982: Performance boost of the Golf GTI (1.8 litre/82kW). GTI is launched in South Africa (1.8 litre with 82kW).
1983: Introduction of “Pirelli GTI” (officially “Special Model Golf GTI”, features included special wheels).
1984: Debut of second-generation Golf GTI (1.8 litre, 82kW) and introduction of catalytic converter (79kW instead of 82kW).
1985: Facelift, dual headlights and dual tailpipes.
1986: Introduction of the Golf GTI 16V (1.8 with 102kW (95kW with catalytic converter).
1990: Introduction of the Golf GTI G60 (1.8 litre, 118kW). GTI facelift is launched (1.8 eight-valve – later upgraded to two-litre quad valve; Executive version introduced.
1991: Debut of third-generation Golf GTI (2.0, 85kW).
1992: Introduction of Golf GTI 16V (2.0 litre with 110kW); third generation GTI debut in South Africa (two- litre, 85kW).
1993: VR6 128kW six6-cylinder Golf launched in South Africa.
1996: Presentation of anniversary model “20 years of GTI” (two-litre with 85kW and 110kW).
1998: Debut of fourth-generation Golf GTI (1.8 T with 110kW, 2.3 V5 with 110kW).
2000: Fourth generation GTI is introduced in South Africa (1.8 litre 20-valve with 110kW)
2001: Introduction of the Golf GTI “25 years of GTI” (1.8 T with 132kW)
2003: 110kW engine upgraded to 125kW with six-speed transmission; Limited edition GTI R launched to celebrate 25 years of GTI.
2004: Debut of fifth-generation Golf GTI (2.0 TSI with 147kW and optional six6-speed DSG).
2005: Fifth-generation Golf GTI launched in South Africa (2.0 TSI with 147kW and optional six-speed DSG).
2006: Presentation of anniversary model “Golf GTI Edition 30” (2.0 TSI with 169kW).
2007: Presentation of special edition “Golf Pirelli GTI” (2.0 TSI with 169kW).
2008: World premiere of sixth-generation Golf GTI at Paris Motor Show.
2009: Debut of sixth-generation Golf GTI (2.0 TSI with 155kW and optional six6-speed DSG); sixt- generation Golf GTI introduced in South Africa (2.0 TSI with 155kW and optional six-speed DSG).
2011: International presentation of anniversary model “Golf GTI Edition 35” (2.0 TSI with 173kW).
2012: “Golf GTI Edition 35” (2.0 TSI with 173kW) introduced in South Africa.
2013: Debut of seventh-generation Golf GTI (2.0 TSI with 162kW and optional six-speed DSG); seventh generation Golf GTI introduced in South Africa (2.0 TSI with 162kW and optional six-speed DSG).
2015: Golf GTI Performance Pack with 169kW and six-speed DSG transmission introduced.
2016: Golf GTI celebrates 40 years with introduction of special edition GTI Clubsport with 195kW and six-speed DSG; limited edition Golf GTI Clubsport S with 228kW breaks Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record for front wheel-drive cars at 7min49:21

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