There are two letters guaranteed to get fast Ford fans excited: RS. They stand for Rallye Sport, and after the famous badge debuted on 1970â€™s Escort RS1600, it has been reserved for the hottest Fords ever since.
The latest addition to the family is the new Focus RS. This go-faster family hatchback is the most powerful ever, thanks to a thumping 345bhp turbocharged 2.3-litre engine. Itâ€™s also the first RS since the rally-bred Escort RS Cosworth to feature a four-wheel-drive system, although this trick transmission has been designed to boost driver fun, not just to improve grip and traction.
Yet despite the incredible power and hi-tech hardware, the new Focus RS hasnâ€™t forgotten its blue-collar roots. With a price thatâ€™s a whisker under Â£30,000, it promises plenty of performance per pound.
Here, it faces two fierce rivals. The Audi RS3 was used as a benchmark by Fordâ€™s engineers when developing the Focus, and its 362bhp looks good on paper. It also has plenty of upmarket appeal, albeit with a price to match.
The Volkswagen Golf R doesnâ€™t shout nearly as loudly as its rivals here, plus itâ€™s a little down on outright power. However, itâ€™s competitively priced and is recognised as the handling benchmark for four-wheel-drive hot hatches. Until this point, at least.
So which of our heavy-hitting pocket rockets will land the knock-out punch? We hit the tortuous mountain roads above Barcelona in Spain to find out.
Head to head
The Ford and VW borrow their engines from other models. So the 2.3-litre in the Focus is also used in the Mustang, but tweaks to the internals and turbo boost power to 345bhp. Under the Golfâ€™s bonnet is a GTI engine, with power increased from 217bhp to 296bhp.
The Audiâ€™s engine appeared in the old-shape TT RS, and also features in the RS Q3 crossover.
Ford has toned down the Focusâ€™s styling in an attempt to rival the premium brands, but there are still plenty of RS cues, including the gaping grille and large tailgate spoiler. The Audiâ€™s potential is equally obvious, but its additions arenâ€™t as aggressive. By comparison, the Volkswagen is low key and could be confused with a cheaper R-Line model.
The Golf comes with a choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or a Â£1,415 twin-clutch DSG automatic. All RS3s feature Audiâ€™s seven-speed twin-clutch S tronic, while the Focus is only offered with a six-speed manual â€“ although Ford hasnâ€™t ruled out introducing its PowerShift auto box to the RS at a later date.
1st place: Ford Focus RS
With its eye-catching price tag and blistering performance, the Focus RS is a fast Ford in the finest tradition. Yet itâ€™s the carâ€™s trick four-wheel-drive system and honed suspension that star, giving the Focus incredible agility and delivering more than enough driver involvement. It also looks and sounds the part. The only black marks are reserved for the small boot and firm low-speed ride.
2nd place: Volkswagen Golf R
The Golf misses out by the narrowest of margins in this encounter. Itâ€™s faster than its power deficit would suggest and it attacks twisting back roads with incredible composure. Itâ€™s also the easiest car to live with day to day and has the most versatile interior. Yet it just lacks the excitement and involvement of the Focus â€“ and in this class, that counts for a lot.
3rd place: Audi RS3
If this test was based purely on engine sound and straight-line performance, then the Audi RS3 would carry off the spoils. It also benefits from having easily the best cabin here and comes with most standard equipment. However, its handling feels a little lead-footed in this company, and thereâ€™s no getting away from that hefty price tag.
VWâ€™s head of powertrain development, Dr. Heinz-Jakob NeuÃŸer, has confirmed that the facelifted Volkswagen Golf will feature gesture control technology when it arrives at the end of 2016. This is a first for the family hatchback segment and part of a growing trend for advanced connectivity and control technology making its way into more affordable cars.
NeuÃŸer confirmed the news at CES in Shanghai, where the German manufacturer also rolled out its VW Golf R Touch concept. The gesture control technology that will be used on the facelifted Golf will be borrowed from the concept.
â€œThe interior features a preview of future VW interior technologies, with smartphone applications redefined for automotive use,â€ NeuÃŸer told Auto Express. â€œThe gesture control will become reality in the Golf at the end of next year.â€
The new infotainment and gesture control system which will make its way into the Golf is likely to be made up of three digital displays and 5 in-car sensors. A larger 13-inch hi-res colour display will replace the conventional screen housed in the dash of the current Golf. A smaller 8-inch screen will replace the traditional instrument cluster, with gesture control being used to operate the volume settings, temperature controls and sunroof operation instead of traditional controls.
The cabin will become largely â€œbutton-lessâ€, with the functions not able to be operated via gesture control being accessed on the new digital displays which will feature haptic feedback.
We did think the VW Golf would get a facelift towards the end of 2016, but it seems like its arriving somewhat earlier and will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The facelift wonâ€™t be a huge one cosmetically â€“ probably the usual bumpers, lights, colour and trim options â€“ but it will be a bit more extensive on the technology front.
Auto Bild reports the 2016 Golf will be getting LED headlights across the range, digital instruments on the higher end models and a heads-up display too.
Other changes include the adoption of the electric powertrain in the Passat GTE for the Golf GTE, which will see an improvement for the Golf in both power and torque, and more three-cylinder engines to improve economy and emissions.
It also seems the early arrival of the facelifted Golf will mean an early arrival for the Golf R420 too.
It was reported last summer that the Volkswagen Golf R420 was due to arrive as a production take on the R400 Concept â€“ becoming the quickest production Golf ever â€“ by 2017, but it seems it will now arrive this year instead.
All of which may help shine a slightly more positive light on VW at Geneva. Unless we have any more damaging dieselgate news in the meantime!!
Each and every Volkswagen Golf to date has been flanked by a hot GTI version, with the current car pumping out as much as 286bhp in flagship Clubsport form. The Mk8 will be no different, and the GTI is likely to feature a new 2.0 TSI engine with as much as 325bhp.
The new hot Golf, which is due shortly after the standard car, in 2019, will get a significant power hike, with even the entry-level model producing in the region of 260bhp. There will be a more powerful Performance Pack car with 300bhp, as well as an evolution of the Clubsport version with 325bhp.
â€¢ Best hot hatchbacks to buy
Our exclusive images reveal how the GTI could look, although itâ€™s likely to be subject to subtle changes given the new details portrayed in our pictures. Yet expect all the usual sporty styling cues â€“ like the beefed-up bumpers and red detailing, along with the trademark tartan seats.
This being a GTI, all versions will be front-wheel drive, and with a choice of six-speed manual or DSG auto boxes. However, the DSG wonâ€™t be a rehash of the old six or seven-speed units, but the worldâ€™s first 10-speed twin-clutch set-up.
Itâ€™s a similar size and weight as the current seven-speed DSG, and designed to work with the Golfâ€™s MQB architecture, and is being engineered not only for snappy shifts and a sporty feel, but to cut fuel consumption significantly. Capable of handling up to 550Nm of torque, itâ€™s set to be used in the Mk8 Golf GTI, Golf GTD and Golf R; lesser models will make do with the more cost-effective seven-speeder.
VW has been dropping hints about the look of future sporty Golfs, and the common thread is more aggression, while retaining classic GTI cues. In 2013, the Golf Design Vision GTI Concept wowed the WÃ¶rthersee tuning show in Austria with its bigger wheels, sculpted body and sharp, exaggerated nose.
And we may not have to wait long before VW shows its cards. Rumours abound that it will present a new concept at Januaryâ€™s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This technology demonstrator, possibly with a full electric powertrain, could also give a big clue towards the styling of the Golf Mk8
So the various versions of the new GTI will look sharper, be faster and use far less fuel â€“ and thatâ€™s not entirely down to the more powerful engines. VW is expected to use innovative new steel-polymer sandwich tech for selected body panels, cutting weight for those components by as much as 30 per cent. By sticking thin sheets of steel either side of a polymer core, the weight of the Golfâ€™s bonnet, for example, can be reduced by 2kg or so. Carbon fibre is still much lighter and more rigid, of course, but costs much more.
â€¢ VW Golf GTE Sport concept
With the GTI family covering so much more of the hot hatch market than before, the big question is where this leaves the even hotter and traditionally four-wheel-drive Golf R. The word from Wolfsburg is that there are several options, all explored in recent concept cars.
The most obvious option, and current front runner, is to use a version of the highly strung 395bhp 2.0 TSI engine from 2014â€™s R400 concept, with four-wheel drive and a 10-speed DSG box. An R400 version (spotted below) of the current Golf is expected to go on sale in 2016, so the next Golf R could take things even further, extracting around 420bhp from the turbocharged four-cylinder.
Other alternatives include fitting the new twin-turbo 3.0-litre VR6 engine, showcased in 496bhp form in 2013â€™s Golf Design Vision GTI concept. It would be a popular move with US customers who still value cylinder count and cubic capacity, but could be seen as a regressive step by bosses in Germany.
â€¢ VW Golf R Touch concept revealed at CES 2015
The third and most radical idea is to use the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Golf GTE Sport concept. This combines a 295bhp 1.6 TSI engine derived from the Polo WRC rally car with two electric motors on the rear axle for a total of 395bhp and 670Nm of torque, and gave the concept 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and 141mpg economy.
Whatever VW chooses, one thingâ€™s clear: a hot hatch power war is in full swing, and with its trio of GTIs, producing a minimum of 260bhp, plus a ballistic Golf R in the pipeline, the brand has all the firepower it needs to see off the competition.
Last summerâ€™s diesel emissions scandal rocked the motor industry and shook the VW Group. Damage to the brandâ€™s reputation and loss of customer confidence have been hard to quantify in recent months, but the consequences are set to be huge â€“ and theyâ€™re likely to impact on the next-generation Golf, revealed in exclusive images.
Volkswagen has hatched a masterplan to save 1billion Euros per year, while making a clear commitment to electromobility and a new generation of â€˜cleanâ€™ diesel engines.
Various all-electric VW projects are in the pipeline, with a new Phaeton and Microbus concepts spearheading the brandâ€™s emission-free future. On top of that, the German giant will now take a closer look at other areas of the business that it thinks can return significant savings â€“ both financially and environmentally.
Top of that list is the next Golf. The current Mk7 car is available in several shapes and sizes, with power ranging from small turbo petrols to hot diesels and plug-in hybrids. Thereâ€™s even an all-electric e-Golf, capable of up to 118 miles on battery power alone.
Although the Mk7 will get a mild facelift this year, the new car â€“ due in 2018 â€“ will build on this. Itâ€™ll be more practical, more powerful and, most importantly, more fuel efficient. VW will stick with its versatile MQB platform for the eighth-generation Golf, and despite the fact these underpinnings will be more than eight years old when the next model hits the market, the scalable platform is expected to live on until at least 2025.
We understand the new Golf will be between 35kg and 70kg lighter than the current car, and like the new Tiguan, will be both lower and wider. Plus, there will be more space inside thanks to more efficient packaging, as well as innovative features like gesture control and the Passatâ€™s TFT dash.
In terms of styling, the new Mk8 model is likely to follow VWâ€™s pattern of evolution rather than revolution. As always, itâ€™ll be immediately recognisable as a Golf, with smart LED headlamps and a sharper, more sculpted grille. Weâ€™re expecting to see some deeper creases in the bumper and bodywork, as well as a reprofiled rear end. Also set to appear is a more upmarket interior â€“ with plenty of brushed metals, leathers and high-quality plastics.
Under the bonnet, VW will introduce a series of super-efficient three-cylinder 1.5-litre TDI diesels â€“ ranging from 74bhp to 120bhp. These are likely to feature in the new Golf as well as numerous future models, and emit less than 85g/km of CO2. The engines will also be modular, meaning each cylinder of 500cc will make it more cost efficient for VW to develop larger and more powerful units such as 3.0-litre V6 diesels â€“ for cars like the next Touareg SUV â€“ at a later date.
The Golf Mk8 will, of course, arrive on the market as a hatchback first, but an Estate spin-off, as well as hotter GTI, GTD and R versions will follow. Weâ€™ve not heard about any plans for a Cabriolet model, though, and one is unlikely to arrive before at least 2020.
Elsewhere at the VW Group, bosses have outlined their intentions for an Audi Q6 SUV in 2018, followed by the Porsche Mission E saloon before the end of the decade â€“ both of which will adopt all-electric drivetrains.
The Groupâ€™s new electric MEB architecture to be employed by both the Audi and Porsche will also underpin the upcoming all-electric VW Phaeton limousine, which is due by 2020, too.
Volkswagen has used the 2016 CES platform to reveal an evolution of its gesture control functionality which was first shown at last yearâ€™s CES in the form of its Golf R Touch concept.
This time around, however, the German automaker is showing a near production-ready 9.2-inch infotainment system, a first for compact cars.VW says this technology, which is showcased via an â€œe-Golf Touchâ€ concept, will be incorporated in future mass-market models. The configurable modular infotainment system (MIB) has a high-resolution screen and 10 different functions like Music or Phone.
Itâ€™s not often that non-luxury automakers cater to the needs of rear-seat passengers, but Volkswagen introduced a series of features that make road trips better for those in the back.
The first is an â€œelectronic voice amplificationâ€ function to allow for better communication with back-seat passengers. This sounds highly practical when you consider all the times youâ€™ve had to strain to hear the front-seat occupantsâ€™ conversation. It could also mean Volkswagen is admitting to road and wind noise in its vehicle cabins, but letâ€™s give them the benefit of the doubt. The second addition is wireless charging for smartphones in the back seat via the rear armrests. Finally, the e-Golf Touch is equipped with a USB Type-C port for high-speed USB data transfer while charging the phone much faster than standard speeds.
Rounding out the tech. announcements is VWâ€™s â€œPersonalization 2.0,â€ allowing drivers to configure setting to be saved to a user account in the cloud via Volkswagen Car-Net ID. Then, when a driver hops into another VW model, they can download their settings and use them like in their own car.
Worldwide, Volkswagen said 11 million vehicles â€” including almost half a million in the U.S. and an unknown number in Canada â€” have been equipped with a "defeat device" aimed at fooling emissions tests while secretly allowing the cars to belch out far more pollutants than advertised under real-world conditions.
Although the company still doesn't know exactly how many vehicles in Canada are affected, Environment Canada estimates there are about 100,000 Volkswagen diesel engines on the road in Canada, many of which may be included. VW has made a list of all the models and model-years that may be impacted, which includes a searchable VIN database for drivers to see if their cars are known to have the defeat device installed.
Canadian owners of affected 2.0L TDI diesel vehicles were informed by the company recently if they are eligible for a package of credits that includes:
$500 for use at Volkswagen dealerships.
A further $500 for use at their Volkswagen dealership or anywhere credit cards are accepted.
No-charge 24-hour roadside assistance for three years, with unlimited mileage.
Monday is the first day that Volkswagen owners are able to sign up for the program, which had been previously reported on with vague details. But as of Monday, owners are instructed to input their information at a website Volkswagen Canada has set up to handle the problem in Canada, and the company says signing up for the program does not forfeit the owner's right to take part in lawsuits or other forms of compensation.
The move is an olive branch to angry VW drivers with cars they paid a premium to own that are now mired in a dark cloud.
But almost three months after problems with VW engines were first uncovered, the company still has no actual fix for the engines themselves.
Environment Canada is working with U.S. regulators including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board on a potential fix for the engines, but so far neither the regulators nor the company itself have offered any sort of concrete plan or timeline for that.
"At the present time, there is no firm timeline as to when a fix will be in place," VW spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff told CBC News recently. "Our engineers continue to work diligently with regulators to develop an effective solution and, once in place, we will communicate directly with our customers."
Even if a fix comes soon, drivers face another problem down the line in that it is extremely unlikely that the company will come up with a remedy that doesn't ultimately negatively impact engine performance, either in terms of fuel economy or power â€” two factors Volkswagen owners paid a premium for.
And ultimately, while governments can to varying degrees mandate car companies to issue recalls, there's technically no easy legal way for the companies to force drivers to come in and have their cars equipped with new software or technology that would likely make the vehicle perform worse than the drivers were used to on some level.
High-performance estate cars are all the rage these days. Not so long ago, go-faster load-carriers were the preserve of premium brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. In recent years, though, mainstream makers have been getting in on the act and sending their workaday wagons to the gym for a muscular makeover.
The latest addition to the fray is the Golf R Estate, which takes the potent turbo and all-wheel-drive transmission of the hatch and wraps it in a more practical body. Boasting a heady 296bhp and a 605-litre boot, it promises to perfectly blend performance and practicality. However, this tempting combination doesnâ€™t come cheap, starting at Â£33,585. Plus, unlike the hatch version of the R, the Estate is available only with the brandâ€™s six-speed DSG twin-clutch gearbox.
Squaring up to the Golf is a closely related rapid rival: the SEAT Leon ST Cupra. Weâ€™re already big fans of the five-door, which scooped Hot Hatch honours in our 2015 New Car Awards, so an estate should be even more appealing. With the same MQB underpinnings as the Golf, a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo, uprated suspension and a trick diff, the Leon will represent a stern test for the VW. Even more so when you consider its eye-catching Â£29,205 price. So, which of our hard-hitting estate cars is going to carry off the winnerâ€™s trophy in this encounter?
These cars are as much about practicality as performance, and the Golf takes first blood with its larger 605-litre boot. It extends its advantage with the seats folded.
Yet the Leon hits back with its thoughtfully laid-out load bay that features remote release handles and an underfloor area for storing the load cover when itâ€™s not in use.
Trip computers and built-in lap timers show that both models are designed to hit the track.
However, the SEAT goes one stage further with its optional Sub8 pack, which adds bigger brakes, subtle aero tweaks, lighter alloy wheels and super-sticky Michelin tyres.
A six-speed DSG automatic is standard on the Golf R Estate, while the Leon gets a six-speed manual. Cupra buyers can add a twin-clutch set-up for Â£1,355 â€“ and like the unit on the VW, it brings a launch control system for consistently fast starts.
1st. Volkswagen Golf R Estate
Itâ€™s expensive to buy and trails the Leon on kit, but the Golf is one of the ultimate all-rounders. It has huge performance, engaging handling, great all-weather composure and is very practical. Whether youâ€™re commuting to work, on the school run, taking a family holiday, blasting down a slippery back road or attacking a track, the VW has it covered. Strong residuals offset the price premium, too.
2nd. SEAT Leon ST Cupra 280
The Leon misses out on victory by the narrowest margin. On paper, it really appeals. Itâ€™s cheaper to buy, better equipped, nearly as fast and just as practical. It also looks great and rivals the Golfâ€™s premium feel. Yet this test is as much about pace and driving fun as boot space and the bottom line, and the SEAT doesnâ€™t have the VWâ€™s dynamic polish and all-weather security.
Martin Winterkorn appeared in a video to insist he was â€œendless sorryâ€ for the events at the end of a day in which VW was forced to deny a report in Germany that he will leave as chief executive this Friday, to be replaced by Matthias MÃ¼ller, the chairman of its sister company Porsche.
He spoke after the German company revealed the potential financial liabilities for the first time. It is putting aside â‚¬6.5bn (Â£4.7bn) to deal with the potential costs of the crisis, prompting a further 20% fall in its share price.
Live UK calls for probe into VW scandal as Merkel seeks 'transparency' - live updates
German automaker admits 11 million cars affected by emissions scandal, and sets aside â‚¬6.5bn to cover the costs
About â‚¬25bn, or a third, has now been wiped off the value of Volkswagenâ€™s shares in the two days of trading since the scandal erupted. Shares in other car manufacturers have also fallen heavily, with Peugeot down 7%, BMW down 5% and Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, also down 5%. Johnson Matthey, which makes catalytic converters, has fallen nearly 7% in London.
The VW financial update was issued on Tuesday after its US chief said on Monday night that the company had â€œtotally screwed upâ€ over the emissions scandal. Michael Horn admitted at an event in New York that VW had been dishonest with regulators and the public.
The number of cars affected dwarfs the 482,000 VWs and Audis recalled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The figure is also higher than the number of cars VW sells in a year worldwide, reflecting the scale of the crisis.
While tthe VW boss was defiant, there was a separate intervention by Olaf Lies, a member of VWâ€™s supervisory board and also the economy minister for the state of Lower Saxony, which controls 20% of the company. He said there were likely to be management changes as a result of the scandal.
â€œI am sure that there will be personnel consequences in the end, there is no question about it,â€ he told Reuters.
Angela Merkel has also commented on the growing crisis. â€œGiven the difficult situation, this is about showing complete transparency, clearing up the entire case,â€ the German chancellor said in Finland. â€œThe transport minister is in close contact with the company, Volkswagen, and I hope that the facts will be put on the table as quickly as possible.â€
VW could face a fine of up to $18bn (Â£11.6bn), as well as criminal charges for its executives and legal action from customers and shareholders amid claims in the US that it used a device to falsify emissions data. The device recognises when the car is being tested and immediately cuts emissions to a level much lower than normal and which would be unsustainable under normal driving conditions.
In a statement, VW said: â€œDiscrepancies relate to vehicles with type EA 189 engines, involving some 11m vehicles worldwide. A noticeable deviation between bench test results and actual road use was established solely for this type of engine.
â€œVolkswagen is working intensely to eliminate these deviations through technical measures. The company is therefore in contact with the relevant authorities and the German federal motor transport authority.â€
The carmaker insisted in the statement that new diesel vehicles available in the European Union with EU 6 diesel engines â€œcomply with legal requirements and environmental standardsâ€.
It added: â€œThe software in question does not affect handling, consumption or emissions. This gives clarity to customers and dealers.â€
The German company said it was putting aside a provisional â‚¬6.5bn to â€œcover the necessary service measures and other efforts to win back the trust of our customersâ€.
It added: â€œVolkswagen does not tolerate any kind of violation of laws whatsoever. It is and remains the top priority of the board of management to win back lost trust and to avert damage to our customers. The group will inform the public on the further progress of the investigations constantly and transparently.â€
Analysts warned that the crisis could affect other carmakers, with shares down heavily across the sector.
Max Warburton at Bernstein warned it could spell the end for diesel cars. The analyst, who on Sunday called VW the â€œLance Armstrong of automakersâ€, said: â€œDiesel has been under growing pressure in recent years, as regulators recognise that it is still not as clean as gasoline, despite meeting official tests.
â€œThe move against VW is going to act as a catalyst to speed up the fall in diesel market share in Europe and halt it in the US. In fact, regulators will now be much more conservative about what they permit and much tougher real world tests may prove either too difficult â€“ or too expensive â€“ for diesel to meet.â€
In further developments, Britain and France called for a Europe-wide investigation into diesel cars to reassure the public.
Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said: â€œWe are closely monitoring the situation and have been pushing for action at a European level for more accurate tests that reflect driving on the road. Itâ€™s vital that the public has confidence in vehicle emissions tests and I am calling for the European commission to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency.â€
A spokesman for the commission said it was â€œprematureâ€ to comment on whether there would be a European investigation into VW.
South Korea said on Tuesday it would investigate emissions of the VW Jetta and Golf models plus Audi A3 cars produced in 2014 and 2015. If problems are found, South Koreaâ€™s environment ministry said its inquiry could be expanded to all German diesel imports, which have surged in popularity in recent years in a market long dominated by local producers such as Hyundai.
The US Department of Justice could also conduct a criminal investigation into Volkswagen.
The UK campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) warned that millions of cars could be recalled. T&Eâ€™s diesel expert, Jos Dings, said: â€œOur latest report demonstrated that almost 90% of diesel vehicles didnâ€™t meet emission limits when they drive on the road. We are talking millions of vehicles.â€
It's been a big news week for Volkswagen, big birthdays don't come along every day, and certainly none bigger than the 40th birthday of the original hot hatch, the Golf GTI.
We've known for a long time that the anniversary was to be marked with a special anniversary edition, which we've known also for a long time to be the Clubsport.
So, now the specifications are out, and the headline figures certainly meet all expectations!
265 PS power output
Peak power over 290 PS on overboost
0-62mph in 5.9 seconds (6.0s in the manual)
Improved aero package
Front wheel drive with the familiar e-diff
Deep bucket seats and an Alcantara steering wheel
It really looks the part, and in the featured Oryx White, it is I think the best looking Golf you can currently buy.
But whilst drooling over that steering wheel, and those seats, I'm also left disappointed. Volkswagen had the opportunity to make the Clubsport a limited run track special - the spy shots of the red car on the NÃ¼rburgring featured a roll cage, where has that gone?
I know it'd be rare for a manufacturer to go down this route, but deep down I was hoping for a rear seat delete option, weight savings, half cage, 3-door only, and 17" wheels with track focused tyres. I was hoping VW would do similar to what MINI did with the GP, and that's why I'm disappointed.
But VW are very clever, they didn't become the second-largest car manufacturer in the world by luck. MINI struggled to sell all of the GP2's they produced, and that was a limited run of 2000 cars.
The new Golf GTI Clubsport isn't a track focused car, it has mass market appeal. It's not on a limited production run either, so they'll be on the lease channels before long. It looks good, will sell like proverbial hot cakes and I'm sure it will drive superbly - speaking of which, I might be disappointed, but I'd still like a go in one.
So what does everyone else think? Is the Clubsport special enough to tempt you away from an R?