VW presented its new hardcore Golf GTI Clubsport S that not only gains the title of the fastest front-wheel-drive production car on the Nürburgring, but also eclipses some recent high-output entries like BMW’s M4 and Dodge’s Hellcat.
The Golf GTI Clubsport S completed a full lap on the Nordschleife in 07:49:21, versus the new 306hp (310PS) Honda Civic Type R’s 7:50.63, the 425hp BMW M4’s 7:52 and the 707hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s 7:51.51.
That’s a pretty impressive feat given that the hottest ever production Golf GTI makes a whole lot less power than either of those two rear-wheel drive models, with the re-tuned 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumping out 306hp (310PS) and 380Nm (280 lb-ft) of peak torque at between 1,700 and 5,300 rpm.
One of the secrets behind the Golf GTI Clubsport S’ track capabilities is a 30kg (66 pounds) reduction over the already slimmed down GTI Clubsport pushing its curb weight down to 1,280kg (2,821 lbs) and the power-to-weight ratio to 4.15 kg/PS. This was achieved by removing the rear-seat bench, adding a smaller battery and aluminum subframe and brake covers, and doing away with pesky details such as the insulating material, the variable luggage compartment floor, the rear parcel shelf, the floor mats and the bonnet damping.
For the same reason, VW fitted the car with a six-speed manual gearbox, as the company claims that any shift time gains from the use of a DSG dual-clutch transmission would have been eclipsed by the 20kg (44 lbs) increase in weight.
The hottest GTI’s other weapon is the specially tuned chassis and electronics, with VW’s engineers going as far as creating the world’s first ‘Nürburgring Setting’ accessed through the Dynamic Chassis Control system, which configures the suspension and steering profiles.
The car comes with 19-inch alloy wheels (“Pretoria”) and semi-slick tires, while other important elements include the XDS+ vehicle dynamics function and the front differential lock, as well as the new exhaust system that VW says, produces a “wonderful and deliberate ‘backfire’ when braking”.
Like the regular Golf GTI Clubsport, the ‘S’ gets bespoke bumpers and other aero enhancements on the body, while inside, along with a number plaque on the center console, it gains a pair of racing bucket seats, ball gear knob with Alcantara trim, a red line in the safety belts, “Honeycomb 40” design decals, Alcantara trimmed steering wheel and stainless steel door sill plates.
Now, for the bad news; Volkswagen will only build 400 examples of the Golf GTI Clubsport S, with 100 of those earmarked for Germany and surprisingly, 150 for the UK, and the rest to select other markets, which do not include North America. VW has yet to release a sales date or prices, but we may learn more tomorrow at the Worthersee Tour in Austria where it will have its world premiere.