It would have been a crime to have ignore Volkswagen Golf GTI 40 Years from this year’s ABDC. That’s because not only is it the fastest Golf GTI they’ve ever made. We think it’s one of the best. Just to remind you of some of the differences over the regular GTI. This car comes with 195kW but has an overboost function which boost power to over 213kW – that’s more than a Golf R.And it’s not just more power the fast Golf gets. It also comes with the catchily title Vorde-rach-sq… The Vorder-rach – er… The VAQ diff that use clutch packs to shuffle torque across the axle without any nasty torque steer. Then there’s the aero – it’s real, those subtle spoilers, re-profiled bumpers all work and were designed to slash seconds off laptimes at the mighty Nurburgring where the Clubsport (the car the 40 Years is based) briefly held the lap record for a front-wheel drive car. What I love about this Golf is it just feels so light and nimble. And so friendly whether you’re on track or on difficult country roads like this. It always feels like it’s on your side. The steering too, is a highlight. Despite having a variable speed rack it’s precise and accurate and, combined with some beautifully calibrated adaptive dampers – confidence-inspiring. But it’s not all good news for the Golf. Now where the Golf has disappointed is on the dragstrip and racetrack.It’s there are professional driver, Luke, found it difficult to launch the car off the line. In fact, he said it was more difficult to launch this car than a W1. If that’s not bad enough, the pro-drivers complained the six-speed manual’s shift is too easy to mis-shift in the heat of battle and the VAQ diff – falls apart on the very limit causing excess unwanted understeer. The biggest problem for the Golf GTI 40 Years at ABDC, isn’t actually the Volkswagen. It’s the Focus RS. The Golf GTI is utterly blown away into the weeds by the fast Ford. That’s because, not only is the Blue Oval hyper hatch all-wheel drive but it has 60kW more pure power. Luckily there’s still plenty of fun to extract from the fast Golf. the little VW’s chassis for example offers plenty of involvement, and adjustability but you can never quite summon the warp speed cross country ability you the Ford RS driver relishes. And that’s a massive problem when you consider the Focus RS only costs a few more grand than the Golf.Clawing back credit is how
user-friendly the Golf GTI 40 Years is and how great it is live with – but that’s not enough for a top finish in this year’s ABDC, in which Volkswagen’s finest front-drive hot hatch finishes eighth. It might be Volkswagen’s fastest ever Golf GTI, but if you want the very best driver’s car money can buy you’ll have to look elsewhere. .