The Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport has returned, packing a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and available only with a seven-speed DSG.

Although it’s not bound for Australia, the Clubsport does point to how a special-edition GTI could look in our market.

“Special editions are absolutely an important part of our Golf line and we can spec our own,” a spokesperson from Volkswagen Australia said.

“There will be special editions like this going forward but it might not take this form or be called a Clubsport.”

The regular GTI will launch in the first quarter of next year alongside the rest of the Mk8 Golf range.

The special edition model produces 221kW of power and 400Nm of torque, 41kW and 30Nm more than the Mk8 GTI.

Volkswagen claims a 0-100km/h time of under six seconds. The regular GTI has a claimed time of 6.3 seconds.

The GTI Clubsport sits 15mm lower than the GTI, with Volkswagen engineers increasing the positive camber on the front axle to allow for higher cornering speeds.

Adaptive chassis control is optional on the Clubsport, while an electromechanical front-axle locking differential is standard.

In addition to Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual, it also includes a Special drive mode designed to specifically adapt the Clubsport for driving on the legendary Nordschliefe.

Special actually softens the suspension compared to Sport mode, to compensate for the undulating nature of the track.

Volkswagen claims to have completely eliminated the understeer typical of front-wheel drive vehicles, saying the Clubsport offers “neutral handling even when driven through the demanding corners and hairpins of the Nürburgring Nordschleife at extreme speeds”.

Exterior tweaks include a new front spoiler, finished in matte black to match the grille. There’s a unique spoiler, finished in gloss black, that reduces lift at the rear.

Exhaust outlets are ovoid instead of circular like the normal GTI, and are positioned 40mm further outboard.

The GTI Clubsport uses an 18-inch alloy wheel design dubbed Richmond, with a two-tone burnished and gloss black appearance. 19-inch alloys are optional.

The Clubsport name was last used in 2016 on the Mk7 Golf, though we knew it here as the 40 Years.

It featured a more powerful version of the GTI’s 2.0-litre turbo four, producing 195kW of power. That was more even than the GTI Performance, which had 169kW, and could be temporarily increased to 213kW when using the overboost function.

It also featured Alcantara interior trim, a gloss black roof, darkened tail lights and a larger exhaust. Just 500 units were offered here.

A hotter Clubsport S followed, a stripped-back track special with 228kW of power and various weight-saving measures including the deletion of the rear seats, a smaller battery and the removal of insulation and floor mats.

While it went to the Nürburgring and set a record lap time for a front-wheel drive vehicle, it didn’t make the trip to Australia.

William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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