Volkswagen has marked the 45th anniversary of the Mk1 Golf GTI in the customary way - with a new celebratory model called the Clubsport 45. Based on the 300hp, front-drive underpinnings of the regular Clubsport, the 45 model gains optional extras including the Race pack that adds 19-inch Scottsdale alloy wheels and deletes the 155mph top speed limiter. Unlike the last celebratory GTI from five years ago, however, the 45 doesn’t slot beneath a track-focused Clubsport S variant, meaning it officially ranks as the top model in VW’s front-drive Mk8 Golf line-up. At least for now.
While the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine under its bonnet produces the same 300hp and 295lb ft as the Clubsport, the 45 does gain a new Akrapovic exhaust system, which presumably gives it a more distinctive voice. It shares the same electromechanical front-axle locking differential for boosted traction, as well as the a default seven-speed DSG auto. There’s also nothing at this stage on the chassis options, but it's safe to assume that the cars get the same DCC settings as the Clubsport, including the (B-road friendly) Nurburgring mode that was used to set that record time.
What the 45 does get is a new styling pack to signal its rank, including a standard-fit black roof and black spoiler paying homage to the black-framed rear window of the first Golf GTI. The 45-specific Race package also adds a high-gloss black finish to the exterior trim, with Tornado Red pinstriping to contrast. Lettering on the sides panel and a 45 badge on boot lid finish off the new look. That’s on top of the usual Golf GTI extras, like LED matrix headlights that feature a red strip in the glass housing. Inside, it’s a similar mix of top-spec GTI trimmings with 45-specific badges and logos.
While the car is only confirmed for Germany, where it’s on sale from €47,790 (£41.5k), it’s expected to go on sale in the UK by April - and may yet cost less than £40k. You won’t need us to tell you that Britain has accounted for a decent portion of the 2.3-million VW Golf GTI sales to date, and the anniversary edition cars have typically proved popular. With any luck, it might convince the VW board that it’s worth making a successor to the already legendary Clubsport S. The FK8 Civic Type R could use the challenge...
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