When a car maker starts introducing special edition models, it’s often a clue that the cool winds of change are a-comin’. And it’s true, an all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI will blowing in next year, which is why the regular GTI has been discontinued in favour of faster Performance and TCR versions.
Don’t let the fact it’s so close to the end put you off, though, because over the years, run-out versions of Volkswagen’s iconic hot hatch have earned a reputation for being truly special, rather than just cynical marketing exercises.
In the case of the Performance, power comes from a 2.0-litre turbo engine which produces 242bhp (up from the standard car’s 227bhp), while a limited-slip differential is fitted to maximise traction out of corners.
Then, using the Performance as a baseline, the TCR (which stands for Touring Car Racing, unashamedly milking the repute of Volkswagen’s successful racer that carries the same designation) brings a further 44bhp, upgraded brakes, more look-at-me design details and two optional packs.
Go for the first of these, and you get 19in black alloys (the standard wheels are 18in), a derestricted top speed of 162mph and adaptive suspension with revised springs and dampers. Meanwhile, the second includes all of this, plus stickier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
To find out, we’ll be using this review to look at everything from what the Golf GTI is like to drive and how practical it is, to how much it will cost you to buy and run. In short, everything you need to know before you visit our New Car Buying pages to see how much we can save you on a new GTI.