- Iconic cars united at the circuit in Portimão: Golf GTI Pirelli and Golf GTI Clubsport
But that's then it already with things they have in common: for while the first anniversary model, the Golf GTI Pirelli, came onto the market in 1983 with 112 PS, the latest anniversary model, the Golf GTI Clubsport, has a much more powerful engine, delivering 265 PS.
Portimão, a race circuit in southern Portugal is the perfect place in the autumn to compare and contrast the two protagonists. With its 1.8-litre engine the Pirelli Golf represented cutting-edge engineering in 1983 and shortly before production of the Golf Mk1 GTI ended rolled off the line as a limited edition special series. The Golf GTI Clubsport is its counterpart.
Volkswagen is bringing out this treat for GTI fans to coincide with the 40th birthday of the Golf GTI next year. In normal mode the 265 PS 2.0-litre TSI engine develops an impressive 350 Newton metres of torque. However, the special feature of the latest anniversary model is the temporary boost function, which enables 290 PS and 380 Newton metres of torque to be delivered for up to ten seconds. This extra power is accessed by kicking down on the throttle. The result is acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, which makes it the most powerful full-production GTI of all time.
The version with a dual clutch gearbox (DSG) is additionally equipped with 'Launch Control', which – in similar fashion to motorsport – accelerates the car away from a standing start with maximum power in a controlled manner.
Volkswagen has not only made the Clubsport's turbo engine more powerful, but has also perfectly adapted the car's design, aerodynamics and trim. Motorsport-style downforce levels are provided by a new front bumper, a striking rear spoiler and a diffuser. Semi-slicks, approved for use on the road, are being offered by Volkswagen as an option. Nor are the ergonomics overlooked: available for the Golf GTI Clubsport are either standard sports bucket seats or classic GTI sports seats. Volkswagen is also selling the new model with two-tone paintwork as standard.
The Golf GTI Clubsport and the Golf GTI Pirelli are not the only GTI special series ever produced. On the car's 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th birthdays Volkswagen also dedicated an anniversary model to the GTI icon of the time. The Golf GTI Clubsport will set pulses racing – and for some time to come will set new standards as well…