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VW’s 286bhp Clubsport is the most powerful Golf GTI ever

Germany’s iconic hot hatch receives racy bits and more power for its 40th birthday

Just yesterday, with the unveiling of the Seat Leon Cupra 290, we declared Planet Hot Hatch an official warzone.

Today, the battle continues, as it appears Volkswagen is unhappy that its Spanish VW Group stablemate has upped power to 286bhp.

So, celebrate the Golf GTI’s 40th birthday in style, the German giant has boosted its venerable hot hatch to, yes, 286bhp, making this Clubsport edition the most powerful production GTI ever.

However, unlike the stealthy Seat, the near-on 300bhp that’s wrapped up in this track-focused anniversary special is only available when the overboost taps are open. The extra power only lasts for a fleeting ten-second shot, and only if your right foot is flat to the floor.

For the rest of the time, you’ll have to settle for a measly 261bhp – a 44bhp increase on the boggo GTI.

Even so, this more track-focused Golf can still do 0-62mph in 5.9 second with the six-speed DSG double-clutcher fitted, or a tenth slower if you have the manual.

Cosmetically, there’s a meaner front bumper, complete with a new jutted gloss black chin and wider, more aggressive cooling ducts for the brakes.

At the side, a graphics pack tells everyone on the street that your Golf is better than theirs, and there’s a new rear diffuser, roof spoiler and set of spangly commemorative alloys.

Inside, hip-hugging race buckets and a swanky alcantara steering wheel, complete with this-way-up red stripe, have been bolted in. That last one will be useful for when the front wheels are scrambling for grip on a cold winter morning – yes, the GTI Clubsport remains firmly front-drive.

You’ll be able to see the GTI Clubsport for yourself at next week’s Frankfurt motor show, where it’ll presumably be breathing down the neck of the less track-focused, but slightly more powerful, four-wheel-drive Golf R. 

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