The VW Golf GTI TCR Is a Great Hot Hatch But It Could Be Hotter

Photo: VW

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR is a GTI bumped up to 286 horsepower with a top speed 161 mph. It’s something of a send-off to the seventh-generation Golf, and it’s inspired from the Touring Car racing series. Or at least it’s supposed to be.

One would think that a production car supposedly spawned from a heavily-modified road-car racing series would be absolutely ballistic to drive on a regular road. The suspension would only be tuned for quick driving, the engine would be tweaked within an inch of its life, and the entire driving experience would shout, “I wasn’t rich enough to get into racing when I was younger but I’m making up for it with this!”

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But that’s not quite what the new GTI TCR is, as Carfection points out in its latest review:

No, instead, the TCR is more of the same from what we’ve come to expect from this generation GTI. Of course, it’s still a fantastic hot hatch—from my experiences, probably the best all-around you can get. But the promise of taking that fantastic GTI formula and amplifying it to a race-car-for-the-road level just doesn’t come through on this TCR model, Carfection reports.

As the video demonstrates, they didn’t quite have it in the best conditions, with wet roads and snowy weather. That also meant they couldn’t test the car on its available Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

But it’s also not very likely that better conditions and different tires would help justify the car’s posturing as a racing-inspired road car. As Henry Catchpole asks: where’s the racy body kit? Why not more power? Why not a more racing-tuned suspension? If I want a car I’m comfortable living with, I’ll get a GTI or a Golf R. If you’re offering me a race car, make it feel like one.

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Regardless, we don’t get the TCR in the States, and that’s sad because it is another good Golf, and the more the merrier.

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