VW Golf GTI TCR Is A Hot Hatch With Race Car Genes

Hot Hatch

Let's hope it comes to America.

Volkswagen certainly caught our attention when it revealed the Golf GTI TCR concept during its hot-hatch festival at Worthersee in Austria last spring. Now it's put the concept into production, but it doesn't look any more likely to reach US showrooms than it did when it was still a show car. And that's a bit of a shame.

Inspired by the tin-top racing model of the same name, the Golf GTI TCR edition packs a smattering of upgrades to take it to near-Golf R levels of power and performance – not the least of which can be found under the hood.

VW's upgraded the 2.0-liter turbo four from the 217 horsepower it makes in standard guise and the 227 hp it makes with the Performance package to a handsome 286 hp. That's just ten shy of the 296 hp it makes in the heavier (but grippier) all-wheel-drive Golf R.

The 0-62 time has been cut down as a result to 5.6 seconds – nearly a second quicker than the existing GTI (but still off the Golf R's pace of 4.9 seconds). At 161.5 mph, the top speed is also higher than any Golf to date.

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The power's routed to the front set of 18-inch alloys through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a locking front differential. The aero package has been upgraded as well with a new front splitter, roof spoiler, diffuser, and side skirts. And it's all summoned up from a cockpit with a fresh, striped take on the GTI's signature plaid upholstery, trimmed in grippy microfiber, and a perforated leather steering wheel with a red center mark at 12 o'clock. But none of that comes cheap. The order books have just opened in Germany at €38,950, which is close to the Golf R's €41,175 sticker.

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