2021 Volkswagen Golf R and GTI Clubsport: power, performance and prices

New Volkswagen Golf family joined by two extreme hot hatch models: the 300hp GTI Clubsport, and the even faster 320hp Golf R

James Allen
Feb 11, 2021

Ever since the new Golf hatchback went on sale in late 2019, Volkswagen has been adding more and more versions to the range - from the bigger-booted estate and super-efficient plug-in hybrid engine options, to sportier models like the Golf GTI. Now, VW has introduced the two high-performance Golf models to the line-up: the new Golf R and Golf GTI Clubsport.

Being the sporty flagships of the Golf range, the pair of hot hatchbacks have plenty of power at their disposal - 300hp for the GTI Clubsport and 320hp for the Golf R. All of the punch means the two VW Golfs have plenty of performance for the public road. According to VW, the GTI Clubsport can accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds - and, thanks to the extra traction from its all-wheel drive setup, the Golf R can complete the sprint in a sports car-rivalling 4.7 seconds.

While the Golf R has the edge in the on-paper performance specs, both hot Golfs should be plenty of fun to drive on the road. The wider tyres and bigger brakes fitted mean that the Golf R and GTI Clubsport should have much better braking performance than a regular Golf, and both cars are also available with an optional adaptive suspension system that can help reduce body lean when cornering - offering different modes depending on the type of driving you're doing.

All of these go-faster parts do mean the pair of hot hatchbacks are by far the most expensive new VW Golfs on sale currently. Prices for the GTI Clubsport start from just over £37,000, and the Golf R is dearer still at around £39,000. Those are big price tags, but then both of these cars are high-tech, high-performance machines.

Quick facts

  • 300hp for GTI Clubsport; 320hp for Golf R
  • Seven-speed automatic gearbox only
  • Top speed of up to 168mph
  • 0-62mph in as little as 4.7 seconds
  • Prices from £37,215
  • On sale now

2021 VW Golf R and GTI Clubsport performance

At face value, the Golf R and GTI Clubsport seem pretty similar on the engine front. After all, they both have 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines, and they both send the power to the driven wheels through a seven-gear automatic gearbox.

However, there are bigger differences when it comes to performance. While the GTI Clubsport’s output of 300hp and 400Nm of torque is very impressive in isolation (and even more so when compared with the regular 245hp/370Nm Golf GTI), they are pipped to the post by the 320hp and 420Nm that the Golf R extracts from the same basic engine.

There are differences with how the two hot Golfs transmit power to the road, too. While the GTI Clubsport sends all of its power to the front wheels, the Golf R is all-wheel drive, which helps to minimise the amount of wheelspin under acceleration and should mean you can power out of corners faster. Volkswagen says this is especially apparent when accelerating from a standstill: the GTI Clubsport’s 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds is by no means slow, but it’s some way off the 4.7-second time VW quotes for the Golf R.

VW Golf GTI Clubsport

VW Golf R

Power

300hp

320hp

Torque

400Nm

420Nm

0-62mph

5.6 seconds

4.7 seconds

Top speed

155mph

155mph (168mph with 

R-Performance Package)

Fuel economy

37.7 - 38.2mpg

35.3 - 36.2mpg

 

2021 VW Golf R and GTI Clubsport specifications

Being performance-focused models, the Golf R and GTI Clubsport have unsurprisingly been lavished with kit that makes them faster and more fun to drive than a regular Golf hatchback. In addition to the powerful engines, both cars come with bigger brakes with more stopping power than those on the standard Golf. The pair also come with an electronic differential setup, which helps to minimise wheelspin under acceleration and help the car go around corners better with more traction.

While neither the Golf R or GTI Clubsport have the tartan-covered fabric seats from the Golf GTI, they do get in their place a set sporty and supportive front seats, with lots of side bolstering to stop you sloshing from side to side when cornering. Both the Golf R and GTI Clubsport also come as standard with a large touchscreen media system on the dashboard, and a fully digital instrument cluster.

Additional features are also available as optional extras, such as an adaptive suspension system that lets you adjust the setup depending whether you're after greater comfort levels or a more planted feel around corners. If your budget stretches far enough, there’s a Golf R-exclusive R-Performance Package, too, which raises the car’s top speed to 168mph and even has a driving mode specifically tailored to the highly challenging Nurburgring Nordschleife race track in Germany. However, as the R-Performance Package costs £2,000, it’s only worth going for if you’re seriously into your driving.

2021 VW Golf R and GTI Clubsport dimensions

Volkswagen isn’t yet quoting full dimensions data for its new pair of fast Golfs. However, as they’re based on the regular hatchback, they shouldn’t be too dissimilar when it comes to practicality. As a result, there should be good amounts of interior space for passengers in the front and rear seats, and in-car storage should be pretty decent, too.

The big difference you’ll notice if you’re planning on using a Golf R or a GTI Clubsport as your daily driver, will be in the boot. According to Volkswagen, the GTI Clubsport has 374 litres of luggage volume, which is a little bit down on the 380 litres of space on offer in the standard Golf. The Golf R’s boot capacity hasn’t been announced yet, but - using the previous-generation Golf R as a guide - expect the boot to be quite a bit smaller, as a result of the extra parts needed for the all-wheel drive system taking up space under the boot floor.

2021 VW Golf R and GTI Clubsport prices

Both the new Golf R and GTI Clubsport hot hatches are available to order now. Prices vary, depending on which high-performance VW Golf you go for - the GTI Clubsport starts from £37,215, whereas the Golf R is a bit dearer at £39,270 upwards.

 

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