Cars We Can’t Have – VW Golf GTI Clubsport S

As is usual America gets starved of some pretty nice hot hatches, in particular Europe’s GTI Clubsport, however you can turn a darker shade of green now as the 305-hp version of the Clubsport is available at a European dealer near you. Ours would be 5,679 miles away in Lisbon, Portugal. Volkswagen says that the new variant will be a “full-production Golf,” rather than a limited-run special, and that it will went on sale Europe last fall. In VW’s words it’s the raciest, most track-focused version of the Mark VII Volkswagen Golf GTI to date.

The current Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport, without the S, is no slouch, its 2.0-liter turbo engine upgraded to push out 261 hp to the front wheels — and 286 hp during over-boost for up to ten seconds at a time. The Clubsport also wears a sportier body kit, has a lower ride height, stiffer suspension springs, and more aggressive tires. It is, essentially, an exciting middle-ground between a regular Golf GTI and the all-wheel-drive Golf R.

2017 VW Golf Clubsport S

With 306bhp the VW Golf GTI Clubsport S becomes the most powerful Golf ever, as well as the fastest, surpassing the Golf R, but only just. It uses the same EA888 2-litre, four-cylinder turbo unit that powers all high performance Golfs, breathed on by engineers to deliver its peak output @ 6500 rpm, with 280 lb ft of torque available from 1850 rpm. You aren’t going to beat a Golf R in a drag race though as this one is is a manual only…….which is great news as long as you expect to be a few tenths behind. We estimate this will be hitting 60 from standstill in 5.2 seconds, some 6 tenths slower than the DSG R we tested earlier this year. Drive is sent to the front wheels and controlled by an electronically controlled limited slip differential.

The Golf GTI Clubsport S is fitted as standard with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) and a driving profile selector. In the ‘Individual’ driving profile, the engineers have developed a setting that is fine-tuned to suit the unique conditions of the Nürburgring. Over and above that, the Comfort, Normal and Race settings are also available. The driver can still adjust the settings in the Individual profile, as usual, and can revert to the Nürburgring setting by resetting the Individual profile on the touchscreen menu. This unique configuration switches the Sound, Engine and Steering parameters in the Race profile as well as DCC to Comfort.

Sadly the production run will be limited to 400 cars worldwide, 100 of which will be delivered to customers in Germany. Colors will be limited to those of the original GTI: “Tornado Red”, “Pure White” and “Deep Black Pearl Effect”, with the roof painted black. The Clubsport S is based on the two-door model with a manual transmission, in order to keep the weight as low as possible.

The Clubsport S is a pure two-seater, so no taking granny and her friends to bingo, all in the name of saving weight, including a smaller battery, no insulation, and an aluminum sub-frame for the front suspension. To keep you on the road 235/35 ZR Michelin tires mounted on 19-inch “Pretoria” aluminium-alloy wheels and standard. Curb eight is 2,833 pounds, resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 9.14 pounds per horsepower.


Other changes for this most exclusive Golf GTI include tinted rear windows that absorb 65 percent of the light, “Clubsport S” type plates, Bi-Xenon headlights with cornering lights and LED daytime running lights. The brake system was also modified to withstand the high temperatures inflicted at a racetrack. To further improve the braking performance, the Golf GTI Clubsport S has special brake pads.


Each of the 400 Golf GTI Clubsport S cars made will have its production number on the center console in the front. The driver and the front seat passenger sit in racing bucket seats that provide good lateral support while flying around the Nordschleife. The car also features GTI insignia that’s featured in the “normal” Golf GTI Clubsport, including the iconic golf ball shifter knob with Alcantara trim, a red line in the safety belts, “Honeycomb 40” design decals on the dashboard and doors, and elegant Piano Black accents. The extremely grippy Alcantara-trimmed sport steering wheel, which has a chrome GTI emblem, red stitching and the 12-o’clock position marked out, was designed to be ergonomically perfect for the track.

Where Can I Get One?

Soauto Expo – Concessionário Volkswagen in Lisbon, Portugal.