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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport detailed: Hyundai i30 N-crushing hot hatch lobs with more potent performance

Although the Clubsport will likely not be offered in Australia looking like this, more special-edition Golf GTIs are expected.

Volkswagen has gifted the world with a more hardcore version of the eighth-generation Golf GTI, debuting the new Clubsport that is designed to tame the trickiest racetracks around the world.

However, the special-edition Clubsport is unlikely to make its way to Australia in its current form.

As before, Volkswagen Australia is open to bespoke editions of its upcoming Golf GTI like it has done in the past – such as the GTI 40 Years, GTI Original and R Final Edition – but will likely pick and choose components and features to build its own unique version.

Powering the new Clubsport – like the standard Golf GTI – is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, but VW has extracted an extra 41kW/30Nm to raise its outputs to a Golf R-rivalling 221kW/400Nm.

Though the next-generation Golf R is yet to be revealed, the current Mk7.5 version punches out 213kW/380Nn.

It is expected however, that new Golf R based on the Mk8 Golf will output 228kW/400Nm like its Audi S3 cousin after VW Group’s reclassification of Australia’s hot-weather climate.

Though the Golf R sends drive to all four wheels, the Clubsport remains a strictly front-drive model with power fed to the road via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, resulting in a zero-to-100km/h sprint under 6.0 seconds.

However, VW also improved the Clubsport’s handling thanks to a variable-locking front differential and adaptive suspension.

The Clubsport also rides on 15mm lower suspension, while steering and wheel alignments have also been tweaked for better cornering ability.

Though Australia might miss out on this iteration of the Clubsport, the standard Golf GTI is scheduled to touch down in local showrooms in the second quarter of 2021 after being pushed back from its original 2020 release date.

Australian versions will be fitted as standard with a performance limited-slip differential, while also available with the aforementioned seven-speed DCT or six-speed manual gearbox.

Based on the new Golf, the GTI picks up a honeycomb air intake grille, sharper exterior styling and dual-exhaust outlets to boost its on-road presence.

Inside, the new Golf GTI can be kitted out in its signature tartan cloth upholstery, while a 10.0-inch multimedia system and 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster also features.

The Golf GTI will go toe-to-toe with the refreshed Hyundai i30 N also due in 2021, which packs a 206kW/392Nm punch from a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and new eight-speed DCT option.