In light of the way that it was launched, we shouldn’t be surprised that the Clubsport S conducts itself with the high-speed stability and damping sophistication that a racing driver would need in order to set a lap record at the old Nürburgring.
Compared with the most recent rival with which you might compare it, namely Renault’s awesome Mégane RS Trophy-R, the Golf is no less grippy but slightly less rabidly incisive in its handling responses – more softly suspended but no less purposeful in its own way.
While the Renault felt pent up and unflinchingly aggressive on the road and wonderfully unhinged and liberated on track, the Volkswagen is much more at home on a typical uneven British B-road – and yet it can still hold its own on a circuit.
So whether you might prefer one to the other will depend in large part on the kind of use you have in mind for it.
Put the Golf’s adaptive dampers in Comfort mode and they’ll soak up as much punishment as UK cross-country motoring can throw at them.
They’ll never make the car pitch or bounce, keeping it faithfully on course at all times and making it an easy thing in which to cover ground at speed.