In 1976, Volkswagen virtually gave birth to the hot hatchback segment with the first GTI. And today, 45 years and eight generations later, VW has taken the wraps off the Golf GTI Clubsport 45.
The GTI Clubsport 45 is an even more spiced-up version of the GTI Clubsport, itself already faster that the "regular" GTI. The Clubsport 45 is made more unique with a new exhaust, trick suspension, and accessories.
The GTI Clubsport 45 took the Clubsport's two-liter turbo four engine packing 300hp and 400Nm of torque, but not the speed limiter feature, so now the 45 has a top speed of 268kph. Its zero-to-100kph time is 5.6 seconds.
The new exhaust is an Akrapovič titanium sports exhaust, which VW said augments the car’s engine note while saving on weight and improving exhaust flow.
All of these is paired to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic, and a front-wheel drive (FWD) system.
The Clubsport 45 retains the "built-in agility" of the Clubsport, thanks to its Vehicle Dynamics Manager which works with electronically controlled running gear. That gear includes an electromechanical front-axle locking differential and XDS electronic differential lock.
The differentials aim to reduce the understeer often associated with FWD cars. This is complemented by a larger braking system, and can be further enhanced with the addition of the optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive damper system.
Meanwhile, more GTI Clubsport 45 specialties are a set of dynamic 19-inch Scottsdale alloy wheels, which feature a high-gloss black finish and a Tredpinstripe around the rim.
The car’s special status is further marked out by 45 insignia on the side sill panels, and a metallic black finish to the door mirror covers, and upper part of the spoiler.
The car's uniquely styled bumpers and performance rear spoiler are not just for aesthetic purposes, as Volkswagen said they all "improve aerodynamics and downforce of the car to sharpen the model’s already dynamic drive."
Inside, GTI lettering appears on the backrests of the front sports seats. A "45" emblem is featured in the center spoke of the steering wheel – a constant reminder to the driver that he or she is "driving a part of hot hatchback history."
Fancy fabric called "artvelours" in the door panels, and a leatherette arm support add further sporting luxury to the GTI Clubsport 45 interior.
“The Clubsport 45 is a piece of Volkswagen heritage in motion, the latest chapter in the ongoing Golf GTI story, 45 years and counting," Golf Product Manager of Volkswagen United Kingdom Lisa Hartley said.
"It is no exaggeration to call the GTI an automotive icon,” she added.
The Clubsport 45 will go on sale in the UK with a price of just below £40,000 (about P2.6 million).
Special-edition Golf GTI anniversary models started with the Golf GTI 20th Anniversary Edition in 1996, which was based on the third-generation Golf.
Special Golf GTI cars continued with succeeding generations, VW added, with the previous seventh-gen car introducing the GTI Clubsport and Clubsport S. These cars celebrated the GTI's 40th anniversary.
That seventh-gen GTI came to the country in 2015, before Volkswagen Philippines shifted to an all-VW China lineup. It had a two-liter turbocharged mill that made 220hp and 350Nm of torque, which were managed by a seven-speed dual clutch auto.
When new, the car had a price tag of P2,290,000, and it barely lost its value in the used car market. That goes to show the automotive icon status of the GTI.
Photos from Volkswagen