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It's VW's big-arched, 350bhp Golf racer

Golf GTI touring car gets an update for 2017, with more power and bigger arches. Yes

Alerting wannabe racers: there’s a new Volkswagen Golf touring car. VW has updated the Golf GTI TCR for 2017, with a host of aerodynamic tweaks to help it build upon success in 2016.

TCR is intended to be a more accessible form of touring car competition, with eligible cars including this Golf as well as a Peugeot 308, Seat Leon and Vauxhall Astra. There’s even a TCR-spec Lada. They can compete in individual TCR championships around the world.

And the Golf’s not too shabby at it, taking a total of 17 race wins and two international championships in 2016. First up, there’s now 350bhp available from its 2.0-litre turbo engine, up on last year’s 325bhp.

Aerodynamics have improved, too. There are new front wings, which are much more aggressive than before, while the wheel arches are squarer and far, far more aggressive. If only VW could make a road car that looks this mean…

The end result is better aero performance on faster sections of circuit, with more downforce than before. VW has also sharpened up the sequential gearbox, fitted a new electric power steering system and improved the durability of the Golf GTI TCR’s parts. All detail stuff, but given both the car’s success and the championship’s limiting technical regulations, big changes are unlikely.

Want one? It’s 90,000 euros plus VAT. Or around £95,000. So yes, it’s a VW Golf for Porsche 911 GTS money. But it’s also a bona fide racecar, and therefore not as spectacularly priced as it might first appear. VW shifted 20 last year, and expects to deliver around 30 this year, so it’s clearly going down a treat, too…

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