VW has teased the new Golf GTI Clubsport, the Mk8.5, ahead of its full unveiling at the Nurburgring 24 Hours on May 31st. It promises to be the most powerful Golf GTI ever.

When we say teased, we quite literally mean that. There’s not much info to go on, but VW has shown us the new Golf GTI Clubsport Mk8.5, which is said to become the fastest Golf GTI ever. By that measure, we can safely assume that the Mk8 Clubsport’s 296bhp will be eclipsed, but will VW venture past the old Clubsport S that had 310hp? Dare it put it that close to the current generation R? After all, the Golf that will be competing in the Nurburgring 24 Hours features 348bhp. Surely it can’t be that powerful.

What we do know is that the new VW Golf GTI Clubsport will feature VW’s latest AI infotainment system, like the regular GTI Mk8.5, which is said to aid the driver in controlling certain aspects of the car. It will also do away with the truly horrible haptic-feedback steering wheel, opting for one with physical buttons. Hoorah! Aside from that, you also get a new drive mode, Nurburgring. That being said, to get the benefit from this mode, you have to opt for the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) dampers that allows for changeable rates. On the plus side, the Nurburgring mode tends to work well here in the UK on our back roads!

Mk8 Golfs and Mk1 Golf

What else is new on the VW Golf GTI Clubsport?

While information is limited ahead of the full reveal on May 31st, we do also know that the Clubsport will get a redesigned front bumper, presumably to improve aero or reduce drag. Alongside that are new lights and some wicked looking 19-inch wheels. These Queenstown wheels are said to emulate that of the Detroit rims featured on the Mk5 Golf. For those wanting a lighter option, for the first time ever there will be an optional forged wheel. These 19-inch Warmenau wheels are said to weigh just 8kg each, meaning there’s some hefty weight savings to be had from the factory.

The cherry on top for the midlife update is a new ‘modified lateral dynamics setup’ for the onboard Vehicle Dynamics Manager. Not entirely sure what that means in reality, but hey, it sounds fancy enough so hopefully it delivers an exciting drive.

Mk8.5 Golf GTI Clubsport race car
Mk1 Golf racing

Golf GTI 1st Generation

Mk1 Golf GTIs racing at N24

Before the main Nurburgring 24 hours race, three Mk1 Golf GTIs will race for the KWL Motorsport team, who is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2024, alongside 50 years of the Golf. The team from Burscheid will enter a legendary Golf GTI 16S Oettinger (Group 4) from 1981 that has an output of 208 PS. Just as legendary: a 1978 Golf GTI Kamei (Group 2) with 183 PS. The third Mk1 is wrapped in the GTI camouflage design (with the ‘50 years of Golf’ logo): a 1980 Golf GTI from Group 2 with an output of 184 PS.

Check back in a week’s time where we’ll bring you all the information from the full unveiling. And if you love German cars, why not check out our premier German Car Festival event