If you’ve been saving up to buy a hardcore Volkswagen Golf GTI, you’ll be happy to hear the track-only TCR version is going to receive a road-legal equivalent in the near future. Debuting on May 9 during the annual GTI meeting at Wörthersee, the Golf GTI TCR is billed as being a special edition, so there’s a pretty good chance it will end up as a limited-run hot hatch.
For the time being, we are only given the chance to check out a section of the car’s rear end through an appealing digital sketch showing off the aggressive fins of the diffuser flanked by a pair of fat exhaust tips. The Golf GTI TCR appears to have full-LED taillights and it rides on what looks to be a large set of wheels, likely measuring at least 18 inches.
Power will be provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine dialed to develop a meaty 286 hp (213 kW) from 6,800 rpm and a peak torque of 273 pound-feet (370 Newton-meters) attainable from 1,600 rpm. The TSI unit will be hooked up to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox offered as standard equipment, just like the front axle differential lock. As a refresher, the race car is substantially more powerful by packing 345 hp and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm).
As standard, VW will install an electronic speed limiter programmed to kick in at 155 mph (250 kph), but if you’ll ask them nicely, they’ll take it off to unlock a maximum velocity of 164 mph (264 kph). The unrestricted version will effectively become the fastest Golf GTI ever made, eclipsing by 2 mph even the more powerful Clubsport S unveiled at the same Wörthersee show a couple of years ago.
Programmed to go on sale towards the end of the year, the road-legal TCR version will continue the successful Golf GTI story that started in 1976 with the original model. Since then, VW has sold an impressive 2.2 million cars.
Gallery: VW Golf GTI TCR road car teaser
The countdown has started: the new Golf GTI top model is set to be the highlight of this year's GTI meeting at Wörthersee
- Strong performance: the Golf GTI TCR1 delivers 213 kW / 290 PS and offers perfect traction thanks to the front axle locking differential
- New addition to the series: the Golf GTI TCR is the road version of the 275 kW / 350 PS TCR race series Golf GTI
- The fastest Golf GTI: the Vmax limiter in the GTI TCR to be launched at the end of 2018 can be removed as desired to increase the maximum speed from 250 to 264 km/h
Wednesday 9 May will see the largest GTI meeting in the world get underway. The location: Reifnitz am Wörthersee. Last year, 7,300 cars and around 125,000 visitors turned the Austrian town into the Mecca of the GTI world. Figures of this magnitude are expected again this year. Volkswagen will also present a special highlight to the participants and visitors: the new Golf GTI TCR, which is nearly ready for production. As a tribute to fans, the 290 PS GTI will be unveiled in a world première at Wörthersee. The future top model in the Golf GTI series, which has sold more than 2.2 million units worldwide, will be launched at the end of the year.
The special edition is the road version of the two-time overall winner of the international TCR race series: the Golf GTI TCR of the same name. The touring racing car’s specs make the new top model a dominating presence: design, power and performance are intrinsic to the pure sports car doctrine. The turbo engine of the new Golf GTI TCR delivers the 290 PS (213 kW) mentioned above at between 5,000 and 6,800 rpm. The TSI balances its maximum torque of 370 Nm towards the front axle in a speed range of 1,600 rpm; this value remains consistently high up to 4,300 rpm. A 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) and a front axle differential lock (both standard) are responsible for power transmission and excellent traction.
The maximum speed is 250 km/h, but can be increased to 264 km/h as stated above by opting to remove the electronic Vmax limiter. This makes the new GTI TCR the fastest Golf GTI. Thanks to its drive performance, the production car achieves similar ranges as the 275 kW / 350 PS Golf GTI TCR racing car.
With more than 2.2 million units sold, the Golf GTI2-5 has become one of the world's most successful compact sports cars. It all started life in 1976 as a 110 PS front-wheel drive car, which made high driving dynamics affordable. Originally, only 5,000 cars of the original GTI were to be built – 4,400 times as many have now been produced.