Most of us would be thrilled to capture a lap record at the Nürburgring. Not Volkswagen. Although the company set a new record earlier this year, for the quickest lap by a production front-wheel-drive car, VW couldn’t let that record stand, and went back to the Green Hell in October in a bid to outdo its own record.
The first record, set by a Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S in April, was a time of 7 minutes and 49.21 seconds. Six months later, VW smashed that record and ran a lap in 7 minutes and 47.19 seconds. The record attempt took place on October 26 in 8°C (46°F) conditions, which VW said were perfect for keeping the car’s engine and tires working at their best.
That time puts the GTI Clubsport S in some serious company, ahead of the 7:58 lap time set by a BMW M2, for instance. The Honda Civic Type R, perhaps the Clubsport’s most similar competitor, took a comparatively leisurely 7 minutes and 50.63 seconds to lap the ’Ring.
What does it take for a VW hatchback to lap the famed race track that fast? Well, the Clubsport S is no ordinary GTI. Well, the car builds on the existing 265-horsepower GTI Clubsport but with a lightweighting regiment and even more power. The 2.0-liter turbo-four engine gets 310 hp, while the back seats have been removed, a lightweight battery installed, an aluminum front subframe fitted, and a pair of lightweight race seats bolted in up front. Along with other tricks, that trims the Clubsport S’s curb weight by about 66 pounds versus the non-S model. Nineteen-inch wheels wear Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, and a special “Nürburgring” mode in the driving profile selector adjusts the car’s suspension and engine for optimal performance on the challenging track.
Sadly, it won’t be easy to get your hands on this car. Volkswagen produced only 400 examples of the Golf GTI Clubsport S, of which 100 copies were reserved for Germany. And in the U.K. at least, the car has long been sold out.