The original GTI arrived in 1976, and in 2021 Volkswagen wants to charge you more money for a hatch that more or less came out in 2016. But VW has a good excuse for doing it this year: the GTI’s 45th birthday.
The German carmaker announced the release of its GTI Clubsport 45 to commemorate the near half-century that the GTI has been around. The hot hatch will have a limited release and will start at €47,790 EUR in Germany, or roughly $57,500 USD. Before you get too worked up: No plans to offer it in the U.S. have been announced
Besides the upgraded 296-horsepower turbo TSI motor, all those euros buy you a pretty nifty “special driving mode for racetracks,” and the following, according to VW:
Visual highlights of the Clubsport include larger air intakes (delivering more oxygen to the TSI), a specially designed open roof spoiler to allow improved airflow (greater downforce), and a separate sport exhaust system.
With the Race package, which is available as standard and exclusive to the Golf GTI Clubsport 45, equipment includes 19-inch Scottsdale alloy wheels in a high-gloss black finish, with a narrow accent pinstripe detail in Tornado Red. The Race package also includes a sport exhaust system and removal of the Vmax limiter (otherwise top speed is limited to 250 km/h). Lettering on the side sill panel and the “45” added to the lettering on the boot lid underpin the impression of dynamism.
If you’re comparing it with the 2016 Clubsport, you will get a whole black roof and spoiler instead of the black rear window from the 2016 release and the original GTI. I think it’s a welcome evolution since the rear black window could be easily lost, and hey, who doesn’t love a two-tone roof finish?
And of course, it has the classic GTI badge with the the same typography the GTI has worn during its tenure as VW’s spicy hatch. I know, I know — it’s hot hatch, but I can only say that so many times before I get tongue tied. Killer interior, though.
I’m giving the carmaker grief, as well I should. That high a price is not necessarily true to the spirit of the Golf as a reliable and affordable hatchback. But if I’m being honest, for fans of the GTI this is a pretty rad release.
If I were as crazy about the GTI badge as I am the “ti” badge on BMWs, I’m sure I’d be pretty stoked about this release, maybe even tempted to move overseas just to own one.