To celebrate 45 years since introducing the original Grand Touring Injection, Volkswagen unveiled earlier this year a "45" special edition of its most hardcore front-wheel-drive Golf to date – the Clubsport. Offered exclusively with a DCT in charge of sending 296 horses to the front axle, the limited-run model comes with a lot of track-friendly toys, including a variable-locking front differential and adaptive shocks.
Sport Auto's test driver Christian Gebhardt put those goodies to the test for a lap of the gruelling Nürburgring with the GTI Clubsport 45 riding on grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. He completed a lap of the Green Hell in 8 minutes and 2.66 seconds, thus making it significantly slower than the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R. The very same Christian crossed the finish line in the French hot hatch in 7 minutes and 55.12 seconds.
Gallery: VW Golf GTI Clubsport 45
How does the Golf GTI Clubsport 45's lap time compare to other similarly sized performance compact cars? Well, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S was considerably faster, with Christian lapping the 'Ring in only 7 minutes and 48.8 seconds. The range-topping FWD Golf was slightly faster than its predecessor, the Golf Mk7-based GTI TCR, which lapped the Nürburgring last year in 8 minutes and 4.92 seconds.
VW has ruled out making a GTI Clubsport S, so it looks like the folks from Wolfsburg are no longer interested in reclaiming the title for the fastest front-wheel-drive production car at the 'Ring. For the time being, the Megane RS Trophy-R holds that title with a lap time of 7 minutes and 40.1 seconds achieved in 2019 by Renault Sport’s Laurent Hurgon.
Bear in mind there's a new Civic Type R on the horizon, and if history has taught us anything, it's that Honda will aim to recapture a title it once held for the Lord of the (FWD) Ring. The official reveal is scheduled to take place in 2022 when we might hear something about a record-breaking attempt.