Sadly, America isn't invited to the Golf GTI's birthday party.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of an automotive icon. In 1976, Volkswagen launched the world's first hot hatchback: the groundbreaking Golf GTI. Since then, the Golf GTI has become one of the most successful compact sports cars of all time, with 2.3 million units produced. Eight generations later, the Golf GTI still sets the gold standard for the segment. Now, Volkswagen is celebrating the hot hatchback's 45th anniversary in style with a new special edition model dubbed the "Golf GTI Clubsport 45".
Based on the new track-focused Golf GTI Clubsport, the commemorative hot hatch features an assortment of exterior enhancements including larger air intakes, a unique roof spoiler generating more downforce, and a sport exhaust system.
As a homage to the first Golf GTI's black-framed rear window, the roof is painted black and is fitted with a black roof spoiler. As standard, the Golf GTI Clubsport comes equipped with a Race package that includes 19-inch high-gloss black wheels with red accents, and an increased top speed, which is usually limited to 155 mph in the standard car.
Commemorative "45" badging is also added to the side sills and trunk lettering, while VW's IQ.Light LED matrix headlights with red trim are fitted as standard. Inside, the retro theme continues with GTI lettering on the front seat backrests and "45" lettering on the steering wheel center spoke.
No mechanical modifications have been made under the hood, but the regular Clubsport is already more powerful than the standard GTI. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine generating 292 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, up from 238 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque in the standard Golf GTI.
Sadly, America isn't invited to the Golf GTI's birthday party because VW has no plans to sell the commemorative Clubsport 45 in the US. This isn't a huge surprise since the original Golf GTI Clubsport launched to celebrate the hot hatchback's 40th anniversary was never sold in the US either. Sales for the regular 2022 Golf GTI are expected to start later this year in America.