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.