New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport revealed: 296bhp hot hatch facelifted

Range-topping VW Golf GTI dons sharper styling and promises a more engaging drive to boot...

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport front cornering

On sale Late 2024 | Price from £38,000 (est)

Within the world of hot hatches, we challenge you to find a name more iconic than Volkswagen Golf GTI. Ever since the ‘70s original, its expert mix of performance and practicality has garnered it critical and commercial acclaim. The VW Golf GTI Clubsport has been the most powerful GTI offering since 2020 and now a revised version has made its debut. 

It joins the rest of the VW Golf range in being facelifted, hence it features some familiar changes. Naturally, there are some Clubsport-specific features to talk about, too. 

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport rear driving

On the outside, it has an angrier looking front bumper over both the previous GTI Clubsport and facelifted regular GTI. Its rear spoiler is larger than the regular GTI’s, too. The Clubsport now gets gloss black on the front bumper, side skirts and rear bumper – that used to be reserved for the range-topping VW Golf R. The old Clubsport used dark grey plastics (and the regular GTI still uses them). 

On the GTI and GTI Clubsport, the ‘GTI’ badge on the side has now moved from the front wing to the front door. The lettering is larger as well. Both models are available with optional 19in wheels (pictured) that hark back to the fifth-generation Golf GTI, although the normal GTI will come as standard with 17in wheels and the Clubsport 18in ones. 

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport front static

Under the skin, the GTI Clubsport is much the same as before – and that goes for its turbocharged 296bhp 2.0-litre engine and subsequent 0-60mph time of 5.6sec. Some parts, while not completely new, have been tweaked by VW, though, with the aim of serving up a sharper drive. 

For instance, the optional adaptive suspension – VW calls it DCC adaptive chassis control – has been worked on with the aim of more responsive steering inputs. In other words, the suspension will tighten up quicker when you enter a corner, making the car feel more agile. VW says that the steering itself (of which is already respectably accurate and confidence inspiring) has been made even more linear and precise, too.

Like before, you’ll still be able to pay extra for a ‘race pack’ that gets you a factory-fitted sports exhaust system from Akrapovic.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport interior

On the inside, the Clubsport differs from the regular GTI via a set of Clubsport-specific front sports seats. This was the case with pre-facelift versions, too. 

You’ll also find VW’s latest infotainment system in place of the old one. Mind you, while the standard Golf’s screen size is rising from 10.0in to 10.4in via the facelift, the GTI and GTI Clubsport are going from 10.0in to 12.9in. 

What’s more, the steering wheel now wears individual, physical buttons, instead of the rather fiddly touch-sensitive ones it had previously. Both this and the new infotainment should make for a welcomed improvement in user-friendliness – something the latest-generation Golf has scored poorly for before. 

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport side driving

The facelifted GTI Clubsport is set to arrive sometime later this year, with prices expected to rise only slightly over the outgoing version. At roughly £38,000, it'll undercut the Honda Civic Type R by around £12,000, while lining up well against arguably its chief rival, the Ford Focus ST.  

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