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2025 VW Golf GTI Clubsport with 296 hp

Volkswagen used the 24-hour endurance race at the Nürburgring last weekend as an opportunity to present a new generation of its limited Golf GTI Clubsport Edition.

The hardcore hatchback is based on the updated 2025 Golf GTI, which is expected to hit U.S. showrooms later this year, and is equipped with that car's 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, but with power boosted to 296 hp, which is the highest output of any GTI. The current GTI has 241 hp, and the updated 2025 model is rated at 262 hp in Europe. U.S. specs for the updated GTI will be announced closer to launch.

As with all GTIs, the GTI Clubsport is driven exclusively to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electronically controlled differential lock. The specified performance figures include acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h as standard or 267 km/h with the optional Race package. VW has not revealed what else is included in the Race package.

Another feature designed to enhance the Golf GTI Clubsport's performance is VW's DCC drive mode selector. Unique to the Clubsport is a drive mode designed for driving on the Nürburgring. It controls things like the suspension and steering and is specifically tuned for the bumps and curves of the German race track, according to the automaker.

The Clubsport also differs from the standard GTI with a new front end with a simplified design. The VW logo at the front is illuminated for the first time, and the inner parts of the lights at both ends have also been revised. VW has also introduced a new 19-inch wheel design with the Clubsport, with a design inspired by the Golf GTI's iconic Detroit wheels. For additional performance, VW also offers a forged 19-inch wheel that weighs just 17 pounds. The upgrade reduces unsprung mass, which improves handling.

The last Golf GTI Clubsport was launched in 2021 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the launch of the first GTI in 1976. Likewise, the latest version this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Golf nameplate.

Don't expect the Clubsport version to be available in the U.S., as the last version was never sold here. However, for local buyers who want more power than the updated Golf GTI offers, VW has an updated Golf R coming this summer. Like the updated GTI, it should be available in the U.S. in 2025.

VW also entered a specially prepared GTI Clubsport 24h race car in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. The car's engine was boosted to 343bhp, aided by a new E20 fuel developed by Shell with 20% ethanol, which the Max Kruse Racing race car tested during the weekend's race. The car finished first in its class in the race, which was interrupted for 14 hours and eventually abandoned early due to heavy fog.