It was in late 2020 when Volkswagen introduced the most potent version among all front-wheel-drive Golfs from the Mk8 era. We're talking about the Clubsport, which bridges the gap between the regular Grand Tourer Injection and the all-paw R. Even though it has nearly 300 bhp on tap, it doesn't necessarily excel in terms of top speed since it's still electronically capped at 250 km/h (155 mph).
However, in certain circumstances, the hot hatch can be faster than what the specs sheet says. No, we’re not talking about tuning its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine or removing the limiter. With a bit of help from gravity, this GTI Clubsport almost smashed the 300-km/h barrier or 186 mph. It topped out at 296 km/h according to the digital speedometer, while the GPS measurement of the real speed showed an impressive velocity of 292 km/h. That works out to 184 mph and 181 mph, respectively.
Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI Clubsport (2021)
How was this all possible? By going downhill while the car was doing 240 km/h (149 mph). A top speed limiter relies on sensors to detect how fast the vehicle is going. Once a pre-established threshold is reached, those sensors send the information to the engine's computer, which then restricts the flow of fuel and air. However, if physics is your ally as was the case here with the GTI Clubsport, you can almost hit supercar levels of speed with a completely stock Golf.
Bear in mind VW did build a faster and more powerful GTI than the current Clubsport. During the Mk7, the GTI Clubsport S pushed out 306 bhp and was able to reach a maximum speed of 266 km/h (165 mph). The folks from Wolfsburg have already ruled out doing a hotter S version for the latest-generation Golf Clubsport.
Consequently, you'll have to step up to the Golf R for better performance. The AWD-equipped hatch with 315 hp can do 270 km/h (167 mph) provided it has the Performance Package.