Spoiler Alert: this one is really close.
We don’t have to tell you that the wonderful world of hot hatchbacks is flooded with offerings from just about any automaker you can think of. However, it all started with vehicles like the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf GTI. And that’s convenient because Sport Auto’s latest video features a showdown between the two modern classics at the Hockenheim race circuit.
Before we start, we’d be remiss not to mention that the Clubsport variant of the GTI isn’t available in the U.S. – the standard GTI can only cough up 242 horsepower (180 kilowatts) compared to the Clubsport’s 296 hp (221 kW). Meanwhile, on paper, the two competitors in the video are a close match.
Gallery: Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI Clubsport (2021)
It’s true that both vehicles are front-wheel-drive and produce roughly 300 hp (223.7 kW) from a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. However, the only discernible difference between the examples in the video is that the Honda sports a manual gearbox while the VW has a dual-clutch automatic.
Therefore, it may not come as a surprise that both cars set nearly identical lap times; the German offering put down a time of 2:02.7 while the Japanese competitor was a hair slower at 2:02.8. Honda fans will likely be disappointed, but it speaks volumes about the difference a DSG gearbox can make on a power-hungry circuit like Hockenheim.
Before we start a massive war in the comments section, both laps show just how far the hot hatchback has advanced in its lifetime. Front-wheel drive gets its fair share of flack from time to time, so it’s always refreshing to see videos like these where the stop-watch does the talking.