New Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 pictures, specs and release date

Special lighter, faster and more focused GTI model on sale now

To mark the 40th anniversary of the GTI name, the start of 2016 will see Volkswagen launch a new 286bhp Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40. The powerful hatchback, which will slot into the line-up between the standard GTI and the even more powerful Volkswagen Golf R, is available to order now and is priced from £30,875. Just 1,000 of these special-edition models, marking 40 years of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, will come to the UK, however.

That price tag and power output put it in direct competition with the Renaultsport Megane 275, Honda Civic Type R, SEAT Leon Cupra and, to a certain extent, the VW Golf R itself. Thanks to its limited run, however, you can expect the Edition 40 to be considerably rarer than any of these models, while its residual values are likley to be strong, too.

The Golf GTI Clubsport is, in effect, an enhanced version of the standard Golf GTI. It’ll come with a range of additions, including aerodynamic extras such as a new front skirt, an improved rear splitter and large rear wing to increase grip.

The car’s 2.0-litre engine has been tweaked to produce 261bhp rather than the 217bhp of the standard GTI (or 227bhp of the optional Performance Pack), although this can be increased to up to 286bhp for short periods of 'overboost' lasting 10 seconds under heavy loads, such as when you're overtaking. Power is sent to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or the optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic DSG gearbox.

In terms of running costs, official tests see all versions (three or five doors and with manual or dual-clutch) average around 40mpg mark, while CO2 emissions are rated at between 158 and 162g/km (with the exact figure again depending on the number of doors and type of gearbox you go for), which means all versions are liable for a £185 annual road-tax bill.

As well as power and aerodynamic improvements, the GTI Clubsport also benefits from modified suspension parts, which make the car slightly stiffer than the normal GTI. All the changes are intended to impress driving purists and on a dry race circuit the Clubsport is reportedly quicker than the more expensive Golf R.

Golf R owners shouldn’t get too downhearted at the news of the Clubsport’s introduction, though; the R is still around a second quicker from 0-62mph (4.9 seconds versus the Clubsport’s 5.9) and its four-wheel-drive setup means it’s likely to remain top dog as far as Golf models are concerned in the often-rainy UK.

Cosmetic changes that set the Clubsport apart from the standard GTI include gloss-black body trim, black graphics, 18-inch or optional 19-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, smoked rear lights and parking sensors.

Inside, there are model-specific bucket seats, dashboard, sill plates and floor mats, plus an Alcantara steering wheel and gearknob, as well as red seatbelts.

All of the Clubsport-specific kit comes on top of the standard GTI specification, which includes xenon headlights, climate control and sat nav.

Semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres will be offered as an option for those planning to explore the capabilities of their GTI Clubsport on track.

Just 1,000 of these will be coming to the UK, however and are priced from £30,875 for an entry-level three-door model with a manual gearbox, rising to £32,945 for the top-of-the-range five-door model with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. First deliveries are expected in the summer.

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