FASTEST GTI YET: 'The Clubsport sports an incredibly quick, accurate and easy DSG gearbox,' writes Egmont Sippel as he tests Volkswagen's latest hot hatch. Image: Wheels24 / Sean Parker
Wheels24 correspondent Egmont Sippel names his top 10 cars of 2016. Below is his review of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport.
Cape Town - It took the S-iteration of the Golf GTI Clubsport to beat Honda’s Nürburgring lap record for front wheel drive cars, established in 2014 by the then new Type R.
The Clubsport S musters 228 kW, exactly the same as the Type R. The S is stripped of its back seats, though; the Type R not.
Full complement of seats
The Clubsport, without the S, also carries a full complement of seats, whilst pumping 195kW to the front wheels, compared to the GTI’s 162 - both from VW’s ubiquitous EA888 2.0-litre turbo unit (which, incidentally, also drives the Clubsport S and the 206kW Golf R, the latter with all-wheel drive).
READ: Top 10 cars of 2016 : Type R, Cayman, Rolls-Royce Dawn and more!
So, in a comparison between the Type R and Clubsport, 228 plays 195. That’s a significant difference, right there.
Here’s another: gearboxes. The Type R’s is a manual; the Clubsport sports an incredibly quick, accurate and easy DSG, or double clutch box.
Very easy drive
Here’s a third difference: the Type R is all on the front end; the Clubsport yields a bit of rear end play as well, resulting from greater on-road stability after a bit of aero tinkering inverted the GTI’s negative lift of 60kg to positive downforce.
All of this - less power, a robotized box, slightly more pliant suspension and some rear end enthusiasm as well - makes the Clubsport much easier to drive than the Type R.
READ: Hot hatch showdown - GTI Clubsport vs. Civic Type R vs. Focus RS
It is, in fact, utterly benign, even on the limit.
But is it as rewarding as the Type R? Therein lies the question.