2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Edition 40 – Locking Diff, Slicks and Aerokit for R-powered Front-Driver

Dead On Arrival’ is a better cliche than VW’s botched choice words to introduce this car:

VW Says:  “””  ‘ Iconic’ is, perhaps, a word bandied around all too freely but, when applied to the mould-breaking Golf GTI, it can be used with genuine justification. “””  

Forgive the slight lack of enthusiasm here.  But the GTI Clubsport Edition 40 is really not doing it for me.  A bump in power to 265 ponies, and 290 on a brief turbo overboost, is great from the Golf R-derived turbo 2.0-liter four.  The car delivers a seriously underwhelming 6.3-second sprint to 62-mph in all its body and transmission styles:  three or five-door, and stick or DSG transmissions.  A 155-mph capped Vmax is also shared among the whole crew.

Why does that seem so, so slow?  In a world of 4.7-second Subaru WRXs, even this hottest GTI is so off the pace that it is hardly worth comparing it any more.

The Clubsport Edition 40 drive promises much more enthusiasm, however, thanks to a new locking differential and XDS+ quick adaptive steering.  Lighter alloys in an exclusive style are standard, while some sexy black upgrades and semi-slick tires are also Clubsport Edition 40 exclusives.   They really help the car visually.  As does the optional painted black roof.

Beyond those tweaks, the new style from VW is already very tired after what feels like 10 concepts wearing similar IROC-Z-style fake vents up front.  The entire front bumper, sills and rear diffuser are claimed to be new, but we’re dubious about how new they really are beyond the wide-mouth front end.  The side and rear ends, for example, are tweaked only ever-so-slightly with black plastic extension pieces.

Perhaps the single best design element, and best way to spot this machine on the roads?  The flip of rear spoiler!  This integrated trailing edge stays body-color to extend the lines of the rear quarter panel up and over the roof in a chic and fresh way.

Overall, though, this is definitely one that will lure more current devotees than new arrivals to the brand, in our opinion.  Luckily, after 40 years of GTI, there are plenty of those loyalists around!

In Europe, mind you. This car is not coming to America.


2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Edition 40




  • Landmark day for Golf GTI as order books open for GTI Clubsport Edition 40
  • Most potent GTI to date with up to 290 PS; 0-62 mph in 6.3 seconds 
  • Special edition model priced from £30,875 (RRP OTR)

‘Iconic’ is, perhaps, a word bandied around all too freely but, when applied to the mould-breaking Golf GTI, it can be used with genuine justification.  The car that popularised the ‘hot hatch’ phenomenon is 40 years old in 2016 and, to mark the occasion, Volkswagen has created the most potent iteration of the GTI to date.

Available to order in Volkswagen UK Retailers now, the specially commissioned Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 celebrates four decades of a true automotive icon.

Powering this addition to the GTI range is a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine that delivers 265 PS, making it the most powerful Golf GTI yet. But that’s not the whole story. Accelerate hard in third gear or higher and, for up to 10 seconds, an additional ‘overboost’ function increases the engine power to 290 PS.

The engine – which delivers its 265 PS between 5,350 and 6,600 rpm – is technically based on the 1,984 cc TSI engine that appears in the award-winning Golf R.  This is a third generation EA 888 unit boasting technical refinements such as a water-cooled exhaust channel to the turbocharger that is integrated in the cylinder head, and variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment.  Maximum torque, under boost, is 350 Nm.

In the new Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 this power is channelled entirely to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed DSG. The lightweight front-wheel drive system that is typical of the Golf GTI offers tremendous agility, working as it does in conjunction with an electronically controlled front differential lock and the XDS+ vehicle dynamics function.

The DSG version of the car is also equipped with launch control as standard.  Just as with a track racer the Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 – which boasts an unladen weight of as little as 1,375 kg, depending on bodystyle – accelerates in a controlled manner from standstill using its maximum overboost power of up to 290 PS.

Top speed is limited to 155 mph and the 0-62 mph time for both three- and five-door versions – either manual or DSG – is a brisk 6.3 seconds. CO2 emissions* range between 158 g/km and 162 g/km depending on bodystyle and transmission choice, while combined fuel economy* similarly varies between 40.9 mpg and 40.4 mpg.

Power and precision

As with all Golf GTIs, the new Clubsport Edition 40 is equipped with a sport chassis with 15 mm lower ride height as standard.  Up front, MacPherson suspension provides precise tracking while the modular performance suspension does the same job at the rear.

Equipped with a front differential lock as well as the XDS+ vehicle dynamics function and progressive steering – which means significantly smaller steering inputs are required – the latest Golf GTI is all the more agile because the familiar sport chassis has been tuned to its more powerful nature.

Specifically, its handling characteristics have been perfected by virtue of a new spring layout, newly tuned dampers and optimised bump stops.  These measures, working alongside the specially modified aerodynamics, combine to deliver high levels of agility and steering precision along with extremely precise driving stability at high speed, linear and predictable vehicle reactions and optimised grip.

The anniversary model is also available with DCC dynamic chassis control as an option.  This, too, has been adapted to the high power potential of the anniversary model via new control algorithms.  The result is a car whose handling is more intuitive than ever.

Power is transferred to the road via 18-inch alloy wheels that are offered as standard with 225/40 tyres.  These exclusive “Quaranta” forged wheels are nearly 3 kg lighter per wheel than conventional alloys.  Optionally, the GTI Clubsport Edition 40 may be ordered with 19-inch “Brescia “ alloy wheels with 235/35 tyres.  Another option: street-approved semi-slick 235/35 R 19 tyres on eight-inch wide “Pretoria” wheels.

Motorsport-style downforce

For this very special Golf GTI, Volkswagen exterior designers have created a completely new front bumper, new side sills, a rear diffuser that is also new, a new multi-part roof spoiler and exclusive forged alloy wheels.  The goal was not to just help the car stand out from its siblings but, more importantly, to deliver valuable downforce on both axles and, thereby, improve the car’s dynamic handling still further.

At the front, the new design offers improvements in air supply to the engine, aerodynamics and downforce.  The new bumper features high-gloss black air deflectors which route a portion of the airflow – guided by three additional bars – through a narrowing air duct (air curtain) on each side and thereby through the bumper.  This optimises air flow around the bumper and front wheels.  The air then exits in the wheel housings without striking the wheels directly.  The central cooling air intake – in characteristic GTI honeycomb design – has also been further refined with two additional air intakes flanking the radiator grille trim.  Beneath the bumper there is a front spoiler that is designed as a sharp splitter in high-gloss black.  It optimises downforce at the front axle.

At the back, the much larger, multi-part redesigned roof edge spoiler has been aerodynamically perfected in the wind tunnel.  The two-part roof edge spoiler extends upward above the roof line while at the sides the spoiler merges homogeneously into the high-gloss black flaps on the tailgate.  Multi-part spoilers of this type are complex components that perfectly fulfil the aerodynamic tasks assigned to them: to significantly increase downforce on the rear axle.

Unmistakably GTI

Inside, the new car features iconic details that are essential for every GTI.  These include the ergonomic sports seats with a tailor-made look featuring Alcantara and black cloth upholstery; red topstitching; a gear knob in golf ball design; and a black headliner.

Optional ergonomic sports bucket seats with prominent lateral support provide optimal comfort and stability when cornering and are stylishly finished in part Alcantara/part cloth, with the GTI lettering sitting proudly on the backrest.  Meanwhile, black honeycomb patterned backrests and seat centre section with red seaming perfectly complement the dynamic and sporty interior.

New trim strips in “Honeycomb 40” design (instrument strip, centre console and doors) give the interior an even more exclusive appearance.  Sporty decorative features include Alcantara trim on the gear lever, an Alcantara-clad sport steering wheel (with GTI emblem, red seam and 12 o’clock marking) and customised floor mats with red edging.  When the driver and front passenger open the doors, they see the exclusive stainless steel door sill plates with red GTI lettering.

The anniversary model is being offered with optional black painted roof which is combined with one of the body colours: Pure White; Tornado Red; Oryx White mother of pearl effect; Reflex Silver; Carbon Grey Metallic; or Urano Grey.  The solid colour Deep Black pearl effect is also available.

Production of the new Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 is time limited, and it is anticipated that no more than 1,000 examples of the latest ‘collector’s item’ GTI will be made available to UK buyers.

The new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 is available to order now, priced from £30,875 (RRP OTR), with deliveries of first customer cars expected this summer.  For more details please visit www.volkswagen.co.uk.

Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40
Bodystyle Engine Gearbox Power CO2 (g/km) RRP
Three-door 2.0 TSI Six-speed manual up to 290 PS 162* £30,875.00
Three-door 2.0 TSI Six-speed DSG up to 290 PS 158* £32,290.00
Five-door 2.0 TSI Six-speed manual up to 290 PS 162* £31,530.00
Five-door 2.0 TSI Six-speed DSG up to 290 PS 160* £32,945.00

About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.