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Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Arrives in Frankfurt with 286 HP

A 40th birthday present to the GTI.

Celebrating a 40th birthday is a big deal, so as the Volkswagen Golf GTI hits that milestone early next year, Volkswagen will introduce a high-performance Clubsport version of the hot hatch. Making its public debut next week at the Frankfurt auto show, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport will be sold in Europe but will be verboten to U.S. customers. The car was previewed earlier this year by the Clubsport concept shown at the annual Worthersee Volkswagen festival.

The headlining upgrade to the car is a power increase for its 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine. The engine is now rated at 261 hp, up from the 210 hp the car comes with as standard and the 220 hp offered in the GTI's Performance package. But the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport actually has even more power, as an overboost function, available at full throttle for up to 10 seconds at a time, can briefly push output to an impressive 286 hp. That's not far behind the output of the all-wheel-drive Golf R, which has 292 hp.

When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport rockets to 62 mph in 6.0 seconds, while opting for the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic shaves one-tenth of that figure.

To distinguish the Clubsport from other versions of the GTI, Volkswagen develop a new front fascia, new side skirts, a new rear diffuser, new 18- and 19-inch wheels, and a new roof spoiler. The spoiler is finished in gloss black on the bottom of white on top, and it has been tuned in a wind tunnel to help keep the GTI planted to the road. Enlarged, chrome-trimmed exhaust tips and smoked LED taillights complete the look of the car's tail.

An Alcantara-wrapped sports steering wheel with a red line delineating the 12-o'clock position highlights the interior changes, along with Alcantara racing bucket seats and new "Honeycomb 40" trim pieces for the dashboard and door cards.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes on sale in Europe next year. While the U.S. market has been privy to previous special-edition GTIs -- Volkswagen has built special cars for the nameplate's 20th, 25th, 30th, and 35th birthdays -- this one unfortunately won't make the trip to our shores. Console yourself by checking out the GTI Clubsport up close in the gallery below.