Although the ultimate Volkswagen Golf has been the all-wheel-drive Golf R, the top-rung GTI has been the Clubsport variant. It delivers nearly as much power as the R, but does without powered rear wheels. The latest Clubsport was introduced last year, and this year comes the Clubsport 45, an even more special version to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the hot hatch.
From the outside, the Clubsport 45 looks very much like the regular model. It has larger air intakes and a big rear wing for additional downforce compared to a regular GTI. But the 45 gets unique black 19-inch wheels with red pinstripes plus a hexagonal pattern stripe and 45 decals on the sides. The interior also gets a 45 badge on the steering wheel.
The engine is unchanged from the regular Clubsport with 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Power still goes through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic to an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential. The Clubsport 45 does come standard with the “Race” package, though, which adds a sport exhaust and removes the top speed limiter.
Like the regular car, the Clubsport 45 won’t be coming to America. It’s exclusive to Europe, and only 5,000 will be built. Base price for it in Germany is 47,790 euros, which is about 2,500 euros less than a Golf R in Germany. If you were to convert the price to dollars, the Clubsport 45 would be a little over $57,000.