Volkswagen has developed a lightweight version of its recently unveiled Golf GTI Clubsport through to production maturity at the company’s Braunschweig research and development centre in Germany, a high-ranking official has revealed.
However, concerns over the 296bhp hot hatchback’s overtly sporting image at a time when VW is attempting to keep a low profile in the midst of the diesel emission manipulation scandal mean the racy two-seater may never be offered to customers.
The new, front-wheel-drive Golf GTI Clubsport Lightweight was conceived as a road-legal race car in a bid to attract customers seeking a suitable offering for track day events, motorkhanas and hill climbs. Inspiration for the new model is claimed to have come from the Porsche 911 GT3 Clubsport.
Prototypes of the motorsport-inspired Volkswagen run a reworked version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder EA888 engine used in the standard Golf GTI Clubsport, mated to either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox as well as an electronic differential.
Among the changes to the engine is an increase in turbocharger boost pressure and a higher ignition cut-out, with the result being a nominal power increase of 20bhp.
“We’ve increased the threshold so it delivers a permanent 300ps [296bhp], which is only achieved momentarily on the overboost in the Golf GTI Clubsport,” sources revealed.
The torque loading of the engine is said to remain the same at 280lb ft.
Further modifications are focused within the interior, which eschews the standard rear seat of the Golf GTi Clubsport. VW has also reduced the amount of sound deadening material in a bid to lower the standard car’s 1375kg kerb weight.
In standard trim, the £29,000 Golf GTI Clubsport boasts a 0-62mph time of 5.7sec and a limited 155mph top speed. With similar gearing, the secret new Lightweight version is claimed to offer even sharper performance.
A decision on whether the car will go into production rests with VW’s newly elected supervisory board, which is said to be concerned about the message the new car will project at a time when the company is under intense scrutiny following the diesel emissions scandal revelations.
Despite these concerns, Autocar understands VW may show the new Golf GTI Clubsport Lightweight at the Wörthersee fan meet to be held between 4 and 7 May before deciding whether it will be granted a definitive production green light.
If it does get the go-ahead, production will likely be limited to fewer than 100 examples.