How the Volkswagen Golf R Compares to the GTI Clubsport

By Product Expert | Posted in Golf R, VW Golf on Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 2:17 pm

2016 Volkswagen Golf R vs Golf GTI Clubsport

To celebrate 40 years of the GTI, Volkswagen is releasing the GTI Clubsport, a special edition hot hatch that the German automaker is calling “the most powerful production GTI ever.” Unfortunately, the powerful new edition to the GTI stable will not be making its way to the states, meaning the Golf R will remain as the only high-output front-drive VW available here. That’s not a bad thing, as the Golf R is still an impressive specimen, but it would be nice if VW would throw us a bone and deliver us the Clubsport.

We understand that the Golf R is not a GTI, but as members of the Golf family, the two are cut from the same cloth, and they offer a number of similarities. To clear up any questions about which of the two is superior, and in an attempt to cheer us up about the fact that we won’t ever see the Clubsport, we thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at how the 2016 Golf R compares to the GTI Clubsport.

Golf R vs Golf R400

Volkswagen Golf R vs Golf R400

Before the release of the Golf R420, let’s see how the current R400 concept compares to the real-world Golf R.

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Golf R vs GTI Clubsport

Golf R
Golf GTI
2.0L I-4
2.0L I-4
4.5 Seconds
5.9 Seconds

Benefits of the VW Golf R

Despite the fact that the both Golf R and GTI Clubsport equip turbocharged, direct injection 2.0-liter four-cylinders, when it comes to power, it’s the Golf R that manages to come out on top. With a peak horsepower rating of 292 horsepower, it dominates the 261-horsepower Clubsport. It is worth noting, however, that the Clubsport has an overboost function that allows it to churn out as much as 286 horsepower for short bursts when the throttle is fully engaged, helping it to achieve R-like power.

With more power stemming from its turbo-four, it’s not much of a surprise that the Golf R is able to run the zero-to-sixty almost a second-and-a-half quicker than the Clubsport. The sprint time of the R is consistent with both transmissions, but in order for the Clubsport to achieve the 5.9-second time that we have listed, the six-speed dual-clutch automatic must be installed. When outfitted with the available manual transmission, the Clubpsort takes an extra tenth of a second, giving it a time of six seconds flat.

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Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is the drivetrain. In an effort to better compete with the other high-performance compact cars in its class, such as the Subaru WRX and the upcoming Ford Focus RS, the Golf R comes standard with the revolutionary 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

The Clubsport keeps with GTI tradition and sends all of its power to the front wheels. Although there is no arguing that an AWD version of the Clubsport would sell like mad, in the last 40 years the Golf GTI has only even been offered with front-wheel drive, and there are some things you just can’t change—especially when the model in question is an anniversary edition serving as an homage to the original.

Even though the Golf R manages to best the GTI Clubsport in all of the categories that matter, we are still envious of the fact that we will never get to see one of the special edition hot hatches on U.S. soil.

If you are like us and want to continue to learn more about the Clubsport, despite the fact that we will never see one, we encourage you to check back here on the Hall Volkswagen blog, as we will continue to cover the upcoming 40th anniversary model. It is set to be officially unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show on September 15, and we will most likely have more information and pictures for you to check out, so be sure to check back soon for more on the most powerful production GTI in existence.




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