Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Driving Impressions
Volkswagen has developed the Golf GTI Clubsport (based on the Golf GTI 2013) to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Golf GTI. Volkswagen put it up for sale in early 2016 and, as of today, some units are still in stock. It can be chosen with a body of three or five doors and with manual or automatic gear shifting. The starting price is 38,060 euros (with three-door bodywork and manual gearbox, all prices) therefore it is more expensive than its alternatives (list of passenger cars between 4.1 and 4.6 meters in length with engine Of gas between 260 and 330 horsepower).
Regarding the model from which it derives, it has modifications in the engine to reach 290 CV (during a maximum time of 10 seconds, after 265 hp), in the bodywork and in the equipment. The body touches include new bumper, heel, rear spoiler and a new aerodynamic diffuser. Some of these changes improve aerodynamic support, as well as increase airflow to the engine and brakes. Above Golf Clubsport is the Golf GTI Clubsport S of 310 hp (which is also based on the GTI 2013), which is much more exclusive because only 400 units were manufactured.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport does not become a radical car like a Honda Civic Type R, whose suspension is clearly more uncomfortable, maneuver worse and the access and exit of its passenger compartment is more complicated. The Honda Civic Type R is for racing vehicle fans. The Clubsport, although it is noisier than the normal GTI, achieves a good balance between sportsmanship and comfort. From my point of view, it is very convenient for anyone who wants to have fun driving and to use every day.
I made a displacement of 900 kilometers in a single day, with three companions and by routes that were generally in good condition. None made any comment that had to do with the comfort of the ride (I always drove with the Comfort and Normal modes). The only thing that stood out with surprise, is that – at the exit of the tolls – the exhaust system clearly fired at each gear change (the unit tested had DSG change). The exhaust noise is also apparent under strong acceleration, but at sustained speed, it is not annoying. A Ford Focus RS is somewhat more comfortable than this Golf GTI, not so much because the suspension is softer (something I’m not sure of) but because it further isolates the driver from the roughness of the asphalt and inside the rolling noise and Aerodynamics are inferior.
The suspension is hard even in the most comfortable modes, but it has the right point of softness to absorb the small irregularities and is not dry. The impression transmitted by this car on the fast road is firmness, great aplomb, great precision and safety. Another of the things that I found very comfortable, and also highlighted by passengers, have been xenon headlamps, which illuminate very well both in the cross-over as in the long range.
On curvy roads I found an effective, easy-to-carry and fast-response car. As it has a firm suspension, it rests almost immediately and its balance is very small. It has very good traction capacity (the self-locking differential has an exemplary performance) and is easy to carry wherever you want thanks to the steering has a good feel. Volkswagen has put in this GTI a steering wheel upholstered in Alcantara (image) on a hard hoop, without just padding, so that the driver does not lose an iota of information. I do not know what maintenance is required for this material, but the touch it offers is better than traditional leather and reminiscent of racing cars. The Clubsport interior has other important differentiating details, such as optional baquet seats.
Volkswagen gives you two types of tires and three tires. The tires can be 18 (with 225/40 tires) or 19 inches. If they are 19 inches, the tires can be measures 225/35 R19 or 235/35 R19. The latter tires are “semi-slick” intended for combined road and circuit use. What Volkswagen says about it is that “they are specially optimized for use on dry pavement. They comply with all legal requirements and are approved for the public highway. On wet pavement a much more prudent and delicate driving is recommended, as there may be a risk of the vehicle suffering aquaplaning.
It is very possible that the choice of normal or sportier wheels will greatly determine the behavior of the car and the level of grip. We have tested the Golf GTI Clubsport with 225/35 R19 tires (ie the normal ones, a Pirelli PZero) and the cornering reactions have reminded me a lot of the GTI of 220 horses I tested months ago with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx wheels GT 225/40 ZR18 92Y. It is possible that the Clubsport responded with a little more promptness and immediacy at the wheel, which may be due to the difference of wheels, but I can not assure it.
What we did not do with the Volkswagen Golf GTI of 220 horses were the dodge and slalom maneuvers. Yes we have done with the Clubsport. In the case of avoidance, the results have been worse than expected. We have passed the test at a maximum speed of 76 kilometers per hour, which is rather low compared to other vehicles with a similar approach. Several drivers tried the same exercise at greater speed (77 and 78 kilometers per hour) and what happened was that, after the second movement of the steering wheel, the car destabilizes and began to overtake more than 76 km / h, which prevented Correctly facing the last zone of cones. The exercise always performed with the stability control connected in normal mode (there is also a sporty mode, which we did not try), but our impression is that it went into operation too late and that is why the car began to skid and become less controllable. That critical behavior to the limit we only experience it in that test; In the slalom I reacted with security, as well as in circuit and mountain road.
The unit we tested had the automatic gear shift (which includes a Launch control function to go from stopped to maximum acceleration). According to our performance, the acceleration has been very good, having needed a minimum of 3.2 seconds to go from 80 to 120 km / h (the Volkswagen Golf GTI of 220 hp needed 3.7 seconds). This time puts the GTI Clubsport to the height of the previous Golf R, of 300 CV, with which it shares motor (Golf R 2017 has 310) that is heavier to have total traction. Comparative table of benefits.
The acceleration of this car is good partly because it benefits from the fact that the total weight is moderate in absolute terms (1395 kg, which gives a weight to power ratio of 4.8 kg / hp). Interestingly, the 349-horsepower Ford Focus RS was slower with better weight-to-power ratio (4.6 kg / hp). The Honda Civic Type R, which has been the fastest of the three, has a weight-to-power ratio of 4.7 kg / hp).
Volkswagen does not say whether the maximum power delivered by the engine (290 hp for 10 seconds) depends on the driving mode chosen. We have obtained the best registrations in the Sport mode (by choosing it, the operation of the gearshift, the steering, the suspension, the self-locking differential response and the throttle response are altered). In normal driving mode, we have completed the same maneuver in 3.4 seconds. The car may have been faster in Sport mode because the self-locking differential has worked more effectively, but I can not say for sure.
With the braking capability (by the way, the brakes are the same as the GTI, but better cooled according to Volkswagen) we have also obtained better data in Sport mode than normal. I made four brakes from 120 km / h with cooling time in between, first in Normal mode (55.4 meters), second in Sport mode (53.9 meters), third in Normal mode (54.5 Meters) and fourth in Sport mode (53.7 meters). Although narrowly, it has always been better in Sport mode.
From my point of view, the least practical of this car is that the stops to refuel are frequent. Assuming that you travel at normal pace, you have to refuel every 500 – 550 kilometers. When I have driven at a moderate pace (not slow) traveling more kilometers per city than by road, consumption has been around 9.0 l / 100 km. In our test of consumption of 143.3 kilometers by a highway with a strong slope and at an average of 120 km / h, spent 8.9 l / 100 km, which is rather much. The Golf GTI of 220 hp consumed 7.1 l / 100 km, the Honda Civic Type R about 7.6 and the Ford Focus RS, 9.0.