Let’s kick this off with a confession, shall we? I would not consider myself a petrol head. Sure, I am a motoring journalist, which means I appreciate all cars, some more than others, but I don’t have “petrol running through my veins, boet!”. I am what one might consider a “Practical Pam” more than a “Petrol Head Pam”. With that being said, when something like the limited edition Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR arrives at my doorstep, I cannot help the kaleidoscope of butterflies that swarm inside my tummy.
WHAT IS IT, THOUGH?
We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Golf 8, but in the meantime, this GTI TCR is the final swansong of the Golf 7 range. Look, it is no secret that the GTI is hugely successful, it makes up 33% of total Golf sales in this country, so it is no wonder that Volkswagen wanted to give customers just one more option. There will only be 300 of the limited-edition GTI TCR in South Africa, so you’d need to have acted fast if you wanted one. The GTI TCR is derived from the racing car of the same name, the two-time winner of the international TCR racing series. Just for those true petrol heads, hey?!
IT’S GOT THE LOOK
It looks pretty much like a GTI or a Golf R (it sits between these two models, in case you were wondering), but there are obviously a few things that make it stand out as the TCR. It has black 19-inch Reifnitz alloy wheels, perforated disc brakes, matte black exterior mirror caps, sill extensions, front splitter, TCR roof spoiler and a diffuser at the rear. It also boasts a TCR logo that is projected onto the road when the front doors are open. So very dramatic, but I do love a puddle lamp. And because it is all about the exclusivity, there is a unique number placed under the GTI logo at the rear of the car and a personalised ownership certificate.
IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS
The cabin is also unique to the TCR in that it has Alcantara door inserts and gear lever, premium Alcantara sport seats with GTI TCR detailing with a new fabric design as well as floor mats with black and red stitching. There is also climatronic air-conditioning, red ambient light strips and an exclusive sports steering wheel. This car is so filled with standard spec, that which includes the likes of Dynamic Chassis Control including driving profile selection, Active Info Display, Parallel Park Assist and LED headlights, that it is in fact, the only model in Volkswagen’s range where the only optional features are the colours. But there are only three to choose from, namely Pure white, Tornado Red and Pure Grey.
ACTUALLY, IT’S WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET THAT COUNTS
It shares the same engine as that of the standard GTI, but it has had a bit of a tweak and so this 2.0-litre turbopetrol produces 213 kW and 380 Nm of torque, as opposed to the GTI’s 169 kW and 350 Nm. Both are mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission. This TCR is helluva quick, to put it in perspective, the GTI will get you to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds, whereas the TCR will get you there in just 5.6 seconds. What really stands out on this TCR is the handling. Sitting lower than a GTI and with a few other upgrades means it is super agile and just pure joy to drive.
Many have complained about the price of this TCR, but here’s the thing; it is about R50 000 more expensive than the standard GTI but when you consider the optional extras you would have to put on the GTI to match the TCR, you’d spend about R45 000. And then consider that it is closer in power to the Golf R. Makes for a good argument, hey? Who’s a petrol head now?
Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TSI 213 kW GTI TCR DSG: R675 700