There are two elements to the Golf GTI Clubsport S’s performance.
Firstly, what it’ll do in a straight line. And secondly, what it’ll do on a dry race circuit.
The first of those can, if you only look at the headline performance figure, seem a bit disappointing.
VW claims the Clubsport S can hit 62mph from rest in 5.8sec, which for the life of us – although we test two up and full of fuel – we couldn’t quite match, at 6.1sec.
And given that we managed to coax 5.5sec from a Honda Civic Type R on the same stretch of asphalt, that might look a bit limp.
It’s not, though. Not a bit of it. The initial getaway is fine, matching the Type R to 30mph, but whether you slip the clutch, drive from low revs or allow some wheelspin, either the ESC or the active diff reins the action in when the revs begin to rise in first gear and inevitably trouble the traction – even with the former of the two systems apparently disengaged.
But look at the broader picture and the VW trumps the Honda in most respects. In gear, its every 20mph increment is quicker than the Type R’s. And it’ll cover the standing quarter mile in 14.3sec at 107mph, rather than 14.7sec at 104mph.