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That day - the one when you look in the mirror and notice you're no longer young. Your youthful vibrancy has departed. In its place, the signs of experience and good times (and those you'd rather forget), all remain as tales of your journey. You’re not 'old' - old in the sense that you've moved into Shady Pines old age home. No, not like that. Rather, you've got some grey hair, laugh lines and experience. You know what you want and what you don't. You've experienced and tried things, making you somewhat wise.

 

Although you're not vintage, you are a decade away from being half a century old. So, you'd like people to know that you aren't quite passed your sell-by date; not ready to fall into the cracks of non-importance, but rather you're ready to fight. 

 

Looking back, it is hard to believe that you’re 40. 40-years old - it is a milestone, and so too is the legendary Golf GTI. Seven incarnations down the road, it's the benchmark by which all other hatchbacks are measured. The GTI is the halo car in the Golf range, despite not being the range topper - this title goes to the Golf R. The GTI is the family favourite, and the best seller in the range locally. It's also the car that VW have modified to be the best GTI ever. It's the midlife crisis that VW have badged - the Clubsport. 

 

Pumped up and more powerful than the standard GTI that puts out an already impressive 162kW getting you to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds. Instead, power is between a stonking 195kW to 213kW and a sprint to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds. That's 26kW more power, if you're counting. 

 

As part of the upgrade, the proverbial collar is popped, the Clubsport struts its stuff with new front bumpers, rear spoiler and diffuser generate downforces similar to those of a race car. Additionally, it features enlarged chrome tailpipes – the new Golf GTI Clubsport doesn’t play around. Featuring 18-inch "Belvedere" alloy wheels, and Bi-Xenon headlights with darkened LED taillights, the GTI Clubsport will undoubtedly turn heads.

 

It's zooped-up 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is good friends with a Motorsport 6-speed double-clutch gearbox that splices through its gears like a Michelin star chef through a juicy cucumber - quickly. 

 

Muscles buffed and bolder attire aside, this Clubsport is more than just aggressive good looks. It floats on an outstanding chassis; redefining agility. It is the consummate "hot-hatch" with a naughty launch control function that allows the engine to push out almost 10% more power for 10 seconds, essentially giving you the edge over 99% of all other road-going four-wheeled users - like superhero powers. If Superman drove a hot-hatch, it would be the Clubsport. 

Besides its astounding sprinting and cornering abilities, it's a practical bugger too. Really practical - it seats five adults in comfort on sporty leather-trimmed seats. Its electronic vehicle management system allows you to adjust the car's character - eco-friendly, comfortable haven to racing demon.  When driven in a sedated manner, it's also economical. I was able to achieve figures of around 8-liters/100km on an urban cycle - for a high-performance car this is great. Unfortunately, hitting the chrome plated speed pedal means you’re hitting fuel consumption hard too. So you can't have your fun and have it cost little. 

Talking of cost, a standard GTI DSG is R485 000. A GTI Clubsport DSG R544 000. That's R59 000 more. Essentially R60k for a special addition GTI that's faster, more distinctive and a limited edition vehicle (produced only within its anniversary year). 

Likes

Outstanding performance.

Exhilarating drive.

Comfortable day to day commuter.

Practical. 

 

Dislikes

Overt styling which is likened to a boy-racer persona. 

Thirsty when driven fast.

Forgiving, but raw when driven fast. The Golf R's all-wheel-drive system does a better job of putting this power on the asphalt. 

 

The competition 

Honda Civic Type R and BMW M135i.

 

Pricing

GTI Manual R470 000.

GTI DSG R485 000.

GTI Performance Pack DSG R505 000.

GTI Clubsport DSG R544 000.

 

Service and warranty 

The new Golf GTI Clubsport comes standard with a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.

 

My choice

GTI Clubsport DSG R544 000.

 

 

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