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The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR is now real

The mk7 Golf GTI will bow out with a slightly conflicted special edition

Published: 16 Jan 2019

This is the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR. It’s a run-out special for the mk7 Golf GTI, and is basically the TCR concept from last year’s Worthersee show made real. In fact, it looks like they’ve merely Tipp-Exed the word ‘concept’ from its number plate.

While VW describes it as “a Golf with the genes of a racecar”, the truth isn’t quite so simple. While the TCR name comes from the touring car series VW competes in, the car itself comes exclusively with a DSG automatic gearbox and has frivolities like TFT instruments and ‘TCR’ puddle lighting as standard. There’s even a front assist safety system, which will surely implode with anger if you take the touring car name too seriously and attempt contact-sport gaps when following cars into corners.

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The stats are promising, though. Its 2.0-litre turbo engine produces 286bhp – 44bhp more than the next Golf GTI down – while at 5.6secs, it’ll complete 0-62mph quicker than any front-wheel-drive Golf before it. Yep, stripped-out, track-ready GTI Clubsport S included, though the TCR can probably thank its slick-shifting DSG for that.

Other tech highlights include VW’s limited-slip differential-mimicking electronics and bigger brakes. Inside, there’s good stuff (a motorsport-esque 12’o’clock marker on the steering wheel) and questionable stuff (the punchy red pattern on the seats).

UK prices and specs haven’t yet been confirmed, but buying a TCR in its German home market seems dizzying, with several options packs and four different alloy wheels, one of which – amusingly – is called ‘Milton Keynes’. Perhaps the double-barrelled name of VW’s UK headquarters sounds fancy overseas, much like Los Angeles or San Marino does here?

The pack you really want, though, adds 3,200 euros to the 38,950-euro price tag and brings more focused suspension, 19in wheels wrapped in semi-slick tyres and a rise in top speed from 155 to 161mph. An inconsequential difference on British shores, but absolutely vital if you want to shake off diesel Audi A4s on the autobahn.

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UK specs are yet to be confirmed, but we drive the TCR next week, when we’ll know much more. Not least how close it gets to replicating the sheer joy of that Clubsport S.

Based on German pricing, though, we’d suggest the TCR will start just below £35,000. More than a Golf R, but you’ll be getting a hot hatch that’s more specialist. Keep your eyes peeled next week for the TG verdict…

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