It may not be the most powerful Golf GTI that Volkswagen has ever built (that role is reserved to the 306-hp Clubsport S), but it’s the fastest. Meet the TCR version, which although carries the suffix of a track-only race car, it’s in fact a road-legal hot hatchback. Debuting today at Wörthersee, the new hardcore Golf GTI is characterized as a concept, though we’re expecting the final car to look virtually the same inside and out.
As standard, VW installs a top speed limiter programmed to kick in at the usual 155 mph (250 kph). Should you want to drive your Golf GTI TCR beyond that velocity on a race track or at the Autobahn where there still are unrestricted sections, VW will be more than happy to get rid of the limiter. Without the electronic top-speed limiter in place, the car will top out at an impressive 164 mph (264 kph) to make it the fastest Golf GTI in history. That’s right, it’s even faster than the more powerful Clubsport S, which maxes out at 162 mph (260 kph).
At the heart of the new VW Golf GTI TCR is the same turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine found inside all of the other GTI flavors of the Golf. For this new application, it has been configured to develop 286 horsepower (213 kilowatts) from 6,800 rpm and 370 Newton-meters (273 pound-feet) of torque from 1,600 rpm. It goes without saying that being a GTI, output is channeled to the front wheels. Purists will be sad to hear there’s no manual gearbox as the car will only be sold with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic.
As standard, VW installs 18-inch forged alloy wheels, but those willing to fork out more money can go for the optional 19-inch in a fresh design. Those perforated brake discs are a little bit more special than those you’ll find in the regular Golf GTI as these have bespoke calipers and pads aiming to provide the same braking power as those in the race car counterpart.
There are other options to trick out the new Golf GTI TCR as VW will be more than happy to sell you an optional pack encompassing a sport chassis and adaptive damping with electronically adjustable dampers. These will be configurable by the simple touch of a button to allow the drive effortlessly pick between normal, comfort, and sporty settings.
Beyond the mechanical changes, the hot hatch has also gone through a visual makeover by getting a redesigned front bumper feeding air into the two extra radiators. The bumper is joined by a prominent front splitter, while the side skirt extension continues at the back of the car where you’ll notice the new diffuser with two generously sized exhaust finishers. That black “TCR” lettering just above the side skirts can be complemented by an optional honeycomb pattern as featured here.
VW also went through the trouble of tweaking the interior where the Golf GTI TCR’s sports seats have a new look with a red central area also seen on the steering wheel and shifter where the contrasting stitching has a similar red finish. As a final touch, opening the door will light up the stainless steel side sill in red and the TCR logo is projected onto the ground.
VW plans to introduce the production-ready model by the end of the year.
Gallery: 2018 VW Golf GTI TCR concept
RACING-INSPIRED GOLF GTI TCR CONCEPT DEBUTS AT WÖRTHERSEE FESTIVAL
The near-production-ready, roadgoing version of the TCR racecar delivers 286 horsepower and a top speed of 164 mph
Wolfsburg / Reifnitz, May 2018 At this year’s GTI Meeting at Wörthersee from May 9-12, Volkswagen will present a new milestone in the history of the cult compact car: the Golf GTI TCR Concept, which has a top speed of 164 mph and is almost ready for production. The special edition is a roadgoing version of the racing car with the same name.
Unveiling the GTI TCR concept, Jürgen Stackmann, Sales, Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, said: “At the moment, the Golf GTI TCR Concept – an athlete derived from racing – is a study. But at the end of the year, we want to make this GTI vision come true.”
The new top GTI is a compelling expression of design, power and performance. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine of the new Golf GTI TCR delivers 290 PS/286 horsepower, with maximum torque of 273 pound-feet produced from 1,600 rpm. Power is transmitted to the front wheels via a standard 7-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and a limited-slip differential. The factory-set maximum speed is 155 mph, but this can be increased to 164 mph by opting to remove the electronic top-speed limiter.
Numerous individual features add to the Golf GTI TCR’s sporty character. The new top Golf GTI model has 18-inch “Belvedere” forged aluminum-alloy wheels as standard, with newly designed 19-inch alloys as an option. Lurking behind the large aluminum-alloy wheels are perforated brake discs together with special calipers and pads that are designed to slow the production vehicle just as effortlessly as the race car.
If desired, particularly enthusiastic drivers can order a package that pushes the performance of the Golf GTI TCR even higher: In addition to removing the speed limiter and the availability of 19-inch wheels, it includes a sports chassis setting and DCC® adaptive damping. It allows the electronically adjustable dampers to be adjusted at the touch of a button and provides the option to choose between sporty, comfort or normal chassis settings.
Externally, the most powerful GTI yet has a new front bumper that feeds air into the vehicle’s two additional radiators and also features a sharply contoured front splitter. A new side skirt extension is continued through the rear of the car, joining the distinctively designed diffuser and the integrated exhaust tailpipes. TCR lettering above the side skirts is also featured, along with optional GTI-style honeycomb trim for the side of the vehicle.
Inside, the sport seats have unique microfiber and fabric covers, with a red central motif that is repeated with the contrast stitching on the steering wheel and shifter. When the doors are opened, the TCR logo is projected on to the ground and the stainless steel rocker trim has a red illuminated element.