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The TCR is a 164mph Volkswagen Golf GTI
VW's Worthersee show car is a quicker, punchier Golf GTI. Watch out i30N?
This is the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR. It’s VW’s headline act for the Worthersee show, but rather than being an unrealistic, cartoonish concept, it’s a car we’ll actually be able to buy.
If you’re gutted you missed out on the wonderful old Golf GTI Clubsport S, though, this is something a bit different. It’s got a bit less power, for starters, while it only comes with a paddleshift gearbox.
That’s because it’s inspired by the Golf TCR touring car, so it’s all been prepped for being quick on track. It takes the regular Golf GTI’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, and adds about 45bhp, taking its output to 286bhp. No acceleration figures have been announced yet, but it should take a healthy chunk out of its base car’s 6.2sec 0-62mph time.
The top speed depends on you. As standard, the car has 18in forged wheels and a 155mph, electronically limited vmax. Spec an optional pack, though, and you’ll get 19in wheels, 20mm-lower adjustable sports suspension and a 164mph top speed. Not quite the 169mph of the Honda Civic Type R, but it gets closer than any other front-wheel-drive hot hatch.
All TCRs have a proper locking differential up front and bigger brakes than standard, while you can spec an optional Akrapovic titanium exhaust. Inside, there are cloth sports seats and nerdy touches like a steering wheel centre stripe.
Each time you suspect it’s a lightweight special, though – like that Clubsport S – there’s a feature that tips the balance the other way. Your only transmission option being a seven-speed DSG (no manual), there are still five seats, and the doors project TCR logos onto the ground when you open them. Bulbs don’t weigh much, of course, but it seems frivolous nonetheless.
Still, there’s no denying it’s a pretty desirable spec sheet, and it has the potential to be quicker and more exciting than a Golf R in the right hands. While it’s officially a concept for now, it’s described as ‘nearly production ready’.
Essentially, a car exactly like this will launch later this year in Europe. While no prices have been hinted at yet, the Clubsport S suggests you should save up at least £35,000. And even then, you might be fighting a lot of people for a place on the waiting list.
The hot hatch market has moved on a lot of late, with Hyundai and Renault among a number of carmakers producing something far punchier than a good old Golf GTI. Reckon the TCR will put VW back on the map?