Volkswagen has dropped a teaser for a mysterious, sporty Golf variant.
It published a single, shadowy image on social media, with a caption reading: “We’re launching an NFT (Notably Fast Transporter). Coming February 2022.”
That doesn’t tell us much, other than Volkswagen, like the rest of us, keeps hearing about NFTs on social media of late. It’s also a bit awkward, as Volkswagen sells a commercial van called the Transporter…
It’s possible this teased Golf is a more track-focused model, given the hint to its speed plus that large rear spoiler, the only difference that’s easy to see in this dark image.
With Volkswagen having already revealed a GTI-based variant – the GTI Clubsport – that could mean this model is based on the Golf R.
The current flagship of the Golf line, the R – due here in April – packs a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 235kW of power and 4Motion all-wheel drive.
It produces 420Nm of torque in European-market versions plus the local-spec wagon, though the hatch will initially launch with a 400Nm tune of this engine.
However, there’s room above the R in this segment, given the presence of the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and its monster 310kW/500Nm boosted four.
Alternatively, this could be a TCR version of the Mk8 GTI.
The Mk7.5 GTI TCR brought Volkswagen’s front-wheel drive hot hatch in line with the all-wheel drive R in terms of power output, while also riding 5mm lower, featuring a bespoke suspension tune, and packing a performance front brake system with drilled rotors, a more aggressive bodykit, and a different exhaust tune.
During the Mk7’s run, Volkswagen introduced both a Golf Clubsport (known here as the 40 Years) and an even racier Clubsport S.
The latter was a stripped-back track special, available only with the three-door hatch body and a six-speed manual transmission, with less insulation and no rear seats, floor mats, parcel shelf or split load floor.
It weighed 30kg less than the Golf Clubsport and pumped out 228kW of power, setting a record for the fastest front-drive production vehicle around the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
Volkswagen hasn’t revealed a Mk8 Clubsport S, though it revealed a Clubsport in late 2020 plus a special Clubsport 45 in 2021 to celebrate 45 years of the Golf GTI.
The company ruled out a local launch for the Clubsport, but committed to offering special-edition Golfs here.
The Clubsport 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 Nordschleife.
Special actually softens the suspension compared to Sport mode, to compensate for the undulating nature of the famed German circuit.
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”.
Visually, it’s distinguished from the regular GTI through its ovoid exhaust outlets, positioned 40mm further outboard, plus unique 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels and new spoilers front and rear.
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