In the automotive world, many brands are the ones that want to hang the medal of the first ‘hot-hatch’ of the world. The segment, essentially, consists of taking a small utility car and putting a powerful engine in it.
The small size and weight make for an exceptional horsepower-per-kilogram ratio and, therefore, driving fun as well. These types of cars were more expensive than their standard versions, but they did not have major differences except for the engine and they were an access route to reasonable features for customers without much economic muscle.
Therefore, they occupy a place close to the hearts of many people. And one of the first, and most beloved, models was the Volkswagen Golf GTI, which appeared in the second generation of the successful Golf. The directors of the consortium, cautious and conservative, were reluctant to give the green light to the Sport Golf project and allowed 5,000 units to be built in 1976.
When they wanted to renew the car for its next generation, they had sold 456,690. Enough to realize that it was something really special and guarantee a sports model at the top of the range.
However, as Volkswagen cars have evolved, they have incorporated additional equipment, technologies, aids and luxuries that make them more comfortable to live and drive, but distance them from the Spartan roots that they once represented.
The original GTI was basically the same car with different upholstery and a more powerful engine. The current ones have a list of standard equipment considerably greater than that of their base version. They have to have it, to justify the price difference between the 32,160 euros of the Golf Life 1.0 and the 53,340 euros of the GTI Clubsport.
The GTI Clubsport is the “Golf GTI GTI”, a more powerful version of the “base GTI”. The VW Group launched a GTI for the most recent generation of the Golf, the eighth, which delivered 245 horsepower. All the fans protested, for costing 48,490 euros, it did not have driving sensations sporty enough to carry the legendary emblem of the three letters.
For this reason, the consortium released a more powerful version, called Clubsport, with 300 horsepower. Now yes. This does have the behavior expected of a Golf GTI: dynamic, agile, almost like a pitbull puppy, full of energy and always ready to play.
However, the Clubsport is located too close to the Golf that dominates the pack, the R. In the fourth generation of these models, Volkswagen introduced an even more powerful finish, with four-wheel drive and dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission.
Today, this model delivers 320 HP and starts at 59,215 euros –71,655 if you opt for the 20th anniversary edition. It maintains four-wheel drive but shares the gearbox with the Clubsport.
But this is what makes the GTI Clubsport the best option. The R is too serious, too capable. It’s more powerful, yes, but the all-wheel drive makes it feel under control at all times. And that, in a ‘hot-hatch’ where fun prevails, is practically going ‘against nature’.