Big fenders. Big wings. Big – or relatively big – horsepower. The first two have never really been synonymous with the Volkswagen GTI over the last 40 years, but that’s all about to change.
Wolfsburg has introduced the official version of last year’s wildly popular Volkswagen Golf Racecar concept and hung the GTI nameplate on it with the new VW Golf GTI TCR. Upon seeing it, you might be tempted to think the GTI is entering a midlife crisis, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
Massive fenders covering wide 18-inch wheels and a monster wing floating from the back of the car tell you immediately this isn’t your average GTI. This car looks like it means business. With a Golf R engine that has been worked over to produce 330 hp and over 300 lb/ft of torque, a full roll cage, sequential transmission and stripped interior, it’s bound to back up its looks with performance.
Want one? That’s too bad, because all 20 cars have already been sold to their respective race teams, who take delivery in early March and will be racing in the FIA TCR International Series shortly thereafter. SEAT will be lending their extensive racing knowledge to the program, making service and logistics on and off the track much more efficient.
Don’t be too upset that you’ll never own one, though. VW is about to drop the 265 hp Golf GTI Clubsport on the streets of the world in celebration of the GTI’s 40th birthday. That gives you a 45 horsepower boost over the current GTI, and it includes a lot of the same aggressive styling touches. US fans are still stuck out in the cold though, as the Clubsport is not slated for our showrooms. Still, the Golf R is a fine consolation prize if you want a Hot Hatch with a German badge on the nose.
Forty years may feel old to some, but for the GTI it’s the best age of all.