Editor: Jason “The Bok” – Date: 10 Aug 2016
The phrase “hot hatch” was in essence coined for one very special vehicle, the Volkswagen Golf GTi. Some forty years ago in the month of June 1976 the very first Golf GTi went on sale in Germany. Set to bring a bit of extra spice to the hatchback market, Volkswagen could not have been aware at the time just how much impact to date that the GTi would have on petrolheads throughout the planet.
Fast forward a few years to the 07 August 2016. Volkswagen invited a very fortunate few motoring journalists to drive a few very special models which feature within the GTi line-up. I was very fortunate to be amongst the group of motoring journalists who would get to spend a day in the driving seat of Volkswagens’:
– Golf GTi with Performance Kit
– Golf GTi R
– Golf GTi Clubsport Edition
– Scirocco R
To start the day, I set off from the Cape Town International airport in the highly revered and respected Volkswagen Golf R. With its 206 Kw of Power and 380 Nm of torque all sent through its all-wheel drive system, power delivery is smooth and immediate. Despite some sharp bends and tight corners, the Golf R simply never fails to hold on to the road surface no matter what it is dealt.
The all-wheel drive system does increase the vehicle’s weight, something which you can feel when compared to a standard GTi, this is however quickly forgotten with its mass of power and its sense of immediacy thanks to its earth-shattering road holding abilities. 0 -100 Km/h is dealt with in a mere 5,2 seconds and the Golf R will easily achieve its electronically governed top speed of 250 Km/h.
Having driven the Golf R to start the morning off, I was wide awake by the time we made our way to the first driver change point, I then jumped straight into the hottest Scirocco which money can buy, the Scirocco R. With its 188 Kw Sportline engine, sending power through its 6-speed DSG (dual clutch) automated transmission, the performance is something else! Perhaps the most impressive part is the noise which it produces. It is hard to explain the engine burble which the Scirocco R produces, if you can picture the sounds of a volcanic eruption, this is perhaps the best way to imagine the intensity and pure thrilling emotion invoked when you bury your foot to the floor of a Scirocco R.
The phenomenal engine sound, coupled with its super slick, wide and low profile body, make the Scirocco a very exciting car from the outside on to the inside. Despite the fact that we have had the Scirocco line-up on our markets for seven years already, it still looks as imposing and attractive as ever. With the Scirocco R dressed in the Rising Blue paint scheme, it simply still just looks unbelievably impressive!
The next part of the journey saw the group stopping nearby the picturesque town of Ceres in the Western Cape. After a light refreshment stop, we were back on the road to continue our breakfast run. This time, I managed to get behind the wheel of what Volkswagen claim to be the most powerful GTi ever made according to their own press release. I was simply boiling with excitement to get behind the suede steering wheel worn by the Golf GTi Clubsport.
The Golf GTi Clubsport is not just simply another GTi in the line-up. Everything about this car screams performance. From its fiery red paint, its new nose and wing which create further downforce, keeping you tightly in its large bucket race-inspired seats and wearing Clubsport branding on the doors, this vehicle is an absolute thriller from the moment you first lay your eye’s on it.
Looks cam be impressive, but the truth about the pudding is always in the eating. Having stepped into the Clubsport, I soldiered on to our next stop point. I was expecting an energetic and gripping ride, but in truth, I had absolutely no idea what I was about to experience!
The Golf GTi Clubsport is amongst a rare selection of vehicles in which I have had a “cargasm” during a driver test day. This is more than just another hot hatchback, what it really is, is a:
– Hot hatchback
– Practical family transporter
and just simply the very best of GTi. Through every weave, bump and hairpin on our route to Gabrielskloof Wine Estate the Clubsport managed to keep me smiling, giggling and having the kind of drive which represents the essence being a true petrolhead. The 2.0T engine produces 195 Kw of power with, but an over-boost function pushes it to 213 Kw of power, torque is also upped to 380 Nm, but the truth is none of this matters when you have something which makes you feel quite as special as the Clubsport.
Heart and soul full of passion, performance and exhilaration, I made my journey back towards the Cape Town international airport to return from the journey. For the return drive, I was behind the wheel of the standard Golf GTi with a performance pack. With this 2016 model offering up all of the spicy hot hatchback performance that started off the GTi legendary namesake and was so pivotal in helping create the motoring category “hot hatches” forty years ago.
A massive thank you to the team at Volkswagen SA for creating this incredibly memorable experience. Watch the below video to get a taste of some highlight moments during the run: