We always say, hot hatches drive us crazy. And if we talk about Golf we are even happier. This is why we are so happy, in fact we have a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR in our hands for a review. Yes, exactly, TCR like the Golf’s most famous racing version. Bet on it: the expectations are really high this time.
Presented in 2018 at the famous annual event at Wörthersee, as the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept, it had left everyone amazed: a last version of the Golf VII GTI directly derived from the racing counterpart. Compared to the GTI Performance, this TCR version raises power bringing the 2.0 TSI from the standard 245 horsepower to 290 horsepower, with a maximum torque of 380nm. The most obvious result? The 0-100 is now covered in 5.6 seconds and the maximum speed goes to 260km/h.
However, all this power requires a more efficient cooling system, which is why Volkswagen has decided to add two additional radiators; exactly like on the Golf R. The gearbox available for this version is the 7-speed DSG and the front limited slip differential is offered as standard. We have now learned how good is the combination of the 2.0 TSI with the DSG gearbox, a symbiosis that is capable of making the car perfect for every use at any time. The differences with a “traditional” GTI are not only on the mechanical side, but also aesthetically with a lot of nice details.
In fact, we find all the details of a GTI: sports bumpers, double tailpipes, GTI logos everywhere and finally the traditional red line on the front that immediately takes us back in time by 40 years. Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR adds more, in fact it has exclusive black skirts, side TCR badges and a small rear spoiler. The test model then offers optional 19-inch Reifnitz black wheels which, combined with the pearl Oryx White of the bodywork, create a contrast that makes this Golf even more fascinating. Furthermore, once the front door is opened, the TCR logo is projected on the ground, a real treat.
The interiors also change, we now find sports seats upholstered in microfiber / fabric with a different texture and made specifically for this celebratory version. The sides of the seat are anthracite, while the central bands of the fabric seats have a red texture. The passenger compartment is also embellished with a three-spoke sports steering wheel covered in perforated leather and with an aggressive red notch at 12 o’clock.
After all this praise, however, the time has come to try it on the road, how will it be? Well, it’s the usual Golf and much more! As soon as you sit down, you immediately find the driving position, it almost seems to have always driven it. Everything is where you expect to find it, it’s very rational, in full German style. The technology on board is satisfactory, we find the Discover Pro combined with the Active Info Display. The car is also equipped with LED headlights, front and rear, with dynamic arrows.
Once started, however, you immediately realize that there is something different. If for the GTI Performance we had felt a sound a bit too humble, this is another story altogether, right from the start. The more kilometers I grind in a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, the more I find this car spectacular. At low revs the engine is elastic, the gearbox is fluid and consumption is not even that prohibitive. However, when you set the Sport mode, pops and bangs will be the soundtrack of your journeys, the strong accelerations will leave you speechless and, as soon as you will find nice corners, the limited slip differential will work perfectly ensuring precise cornering. Tremendously effective.
An package like this is difficult to find, despite the 20mm less and the 19 rims, thanks also to the DCC, it manages to be a multifaceted car. It is never too rigid on too many bumps on Italian roads and at the same time when you are looking for performance it is really a great drive. Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR is charm, tradition, character, power, fun, technology and much more. All in a form factor that, on the scales, marks just over 1400kg. It would take many more adjectives to describe how much we liked this car. Expectations met? I would say yes!