In 1976, Volkswagen changed the world’s perception of compact cars by introducing a model that could rival bigger, more powerful offerings. That car was the Golf GTI. For a fraction of the price of most sports cars, the GTI gave its owners equal, if not better, driving dynamics, in a package that could be used for the daily commute.
It has been 40 years since the first Golf GTI, and to mark its 40th birthday, VW will be rolling out a special anniversary model for the occasion. Dubbed the Golf GTI Clubsport, the variant adds a host of upgrades that will make the iconic ride even more desirable.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill has been massaged to churn out 261hp--34hp more than the most powerful GTI Performance model. If this isn’t enough, an overboost function is available by simply pressing down on the accelerator. This ups the juice to as much as 285hp that lasts for roughly 10 seconds. Think of it as a shot of NOS, à la The Fast & The Furious.
Buyers will be able to choose from either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed dual-clutch gearbox called DSG. The former lets the GTI Clubsport sprint from 0 to 100kph in six seconds, while the DSG does the same feat in an even faster 5.9 ticks.
To celebrate this auspicious event in the Golf GTI’s life, VW has dressed up the Clubsport with touches that make it stand out from the regular model. The roof, for instance, is painted in black, a nice contrast especially if the car is ordered in Onyx White. A new front bumper, side sills, multi-part roof spoiler, rear diffuser, and specially designed forged alloy wheels likewise help let the world know you’ve got the 40th-birthday edition.
The Golf GTI Clubsport, however, hasn’t forgotten about its roots. Enthusiasts may recall the Mark I GTI having a wide black stripe on the side of the car, set at bumper level right between the front and rear wheel arches. The special model has this as well, now on the side and continuing all the way to the front airdam, complete with Clubsport lettering to match. More black accents can be seen in the rear diffuser and aforementioned roof spoiler, which, by the way, is larger than on the standard GTI. The look is finished off by high-gloss black side mirror caps.
No GTI upgrade would be complete without enhancing the cabin. Tartan fabric stitching for the sports seats, the signature golf ball shift knob, a black headliner, red accents on the seatbelts, “Honeycomb 40” stripes, and a dash of Alcantara trim give the interior a sporty feel. The seats, in particular, are folding buckets that are clad in Alcantara and have a honeycomb pattern and GTI lettering on the backrests. The steering wheel is likewise in Alcantara and features the GTI logo. Finally, stainless-steel sills with red GTI lettering cap off the racy look.
The Golf GTI Clubsport continues the tradition set by VW of giving the car a special model for its birthdays. It started with the 20th-anniversary model, and VW came out with a unique variant every five years thereafter. The Golf GTI Clubsport will make its global debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.