The Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S made its official debut at Wörthersee this week. The new hot hatch also just broke the record for front-wheel-drive production cars on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a lap time of 7 minutes, 49.21 seconds — faster, for reference, than a BMW M2‘s 7:58 lap.
The model benefits from Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a few other exterior modifications, but most changes happen under the sheetmetal. With its upgraded 2.0-liter turbo-four engine producing 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, the car is able to hit 62 mph in 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 162 mph, VW says.
To bring weight down 66 pounds over the traditional Golf GTI Clubsport, VW ditched the rear seat, center armrest, rear parcel shelf, floor mats, and insulation. The car also offers a smaller battery and a lightweight manual transmission as the only gearbox option. Aluminum brake covers decrease the unsprung mass of each wheel by 22 pounds, reducing weight and improving handling. Unladen weight now comes in at 2,833 pounds.
On top of the weight improvements, special brake pads are said to improve braking. A special sport chassis, upgraded exhaust system, and new fuel pump also boost performance.
To achieve its record-breaking time, VW made use of a special Nürburgring Nordschleife driver profile. By selecting the “Individual” driving mode, where drivers normally configure multiple settings like engine and steering to their liking, VW put in a special configuration tailored to the difficult stretch of the Nürburgring. This unique configuration switches Sound, Engine, and Steering parameters to “Race,” leaving Dynamic Chassis Control at “Comfort” to help cope with the excessive bumpiness of the track surface.
Inside the cabin are racing bucket seats, a golf ball shifter knob in Alcantara trim, and red-trimmed seat belts. Also look for piano black accents, “Honeycomb 40” decals on the dashboard and doors, and an Alcantara-trimmed sport steering wheel.
VW will sell 400 copies, 100 of which will go to Germany. Buyers around the world will be able to choose from three colors: Tornado Red, Pure White, and Deep Black Pearl Effect. Roofs are painted black, and all models are offered in two-door configuration.