Friday, July 31, 2015

THE Volkswagen Golf Gil is still one of our favourite hot hatches

THE Volkswagen Golf Gil is still one of our favourite hot hatches, but it lags behind rivals for outright power. Hoping to rectify that is a new 261bhp GTI Clubsport concept, shown here in a pair of official sketches ahead of its debut at this week's Wdrthersee GTI festival in Austria. And it isn't just fantasy—the brand has confirmed to Auto Express that you'll be able to buy one.
The GTI Clubsport is set to be revealed alongside Audi's new TT Clubsport Turbo (Page 15), and has been confirmed for series production next year, priced from around £27,000. It'll rival the 261bhp Renaultsport Megane and 276bhp SEAT Leon Cupra.
VW has revealed the concept to mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic GTI during that time, seven generations of the standard Golf have been given the hot hatch treatment. The Clubsport uses the same 'EA888' 2.0-litre petrol turbo as the regular GTI (as well as the Leon), but power is hiked from 217bhp (227bhp with the Performance Pack) to 261bhp, giving it a fighting chance against its front-wheel-drive rivals.
An ‘overboost’ function can boost that to 287bhp for short bursts of acceleration. And while the torque output is yet to be revealed, we can expect a slight increase over the healthy 350Nm figure of the standard GTI — although it won't be much.
At the front, the most evident changes are the enlarged honeycomb-style lower air intake, which is now flanked by two trapezoidal air ducts beside the regular brake cooling vents. The more aggressive look is completed by a more prominent front splitter. The side view brings a more distinctive wheel design (19 inches on the concept; 18 inches for production), and black graphics wrap around the lower edge of the car, while gloss black door mirrors also feature. At the rear, a longer black spoiler dominates, with a diffuser-style bumper rounding out the styling tweaks.
We can expect the familiar six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission to feature, although we can't confirm ifVW plans to offer a manual box. Bosses have told us that the market for more potent Golfs, such as the four-wheel-drive Golf R, revolves around the DSG. That's why a manual version of the new Golf R Estate isn't offered.
And the Clubsport isn't the only hot Golf in the pipeline. A production version of the R400 concept (below) has been mooted for some time, but if online rumours are to be believed, VW is poised to give it the green light in 2016. Featuring a 2.0 TFSI engine, which sends 394bhp to all four wheels, it would eclipse the Audi RS3 and Mercedes A 45 AMG at the top of the hot hatch class.

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