This is the VW Golf GTI You Want – But Can’t Have

A concept in name only.

by on May.10, 2018

No batteries, but VW's new hot hatch concept, the Golf GTI TCR is all charged up for Worthersee.

The 164 mph Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR making its debut in Austria this week may be only a concept – but it won’t be for long, with a production version of this very hot hatch due to market later this year. But if you’re one of our U.S. readers, don’t get too excited. For now, at least, there are no plans to bring it across the Atlantic.

The GTI TCR maintains a long tradition for VW which routinely brings something special out for its annual gathering at Austria’s picturesque town of Reifnitz am Worthersee. That has included an earlier version of the track-ready TCR brought to the annual meet in 2016. This time ’round, the Concept is essentially production ready.

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“At the moment, the Golf GTI TCR Concept – an athlete derived from racing – is a study,” said Jürgen Stackmann, the board member in charge of sales for Volkswagen AG. “But at the end of the year, we want to make this GTI vision come true.”

The new Golf GTI TCR Concept won't be one for long: VW will offer it everywhere but the U.S. starting this fall.

Take a closer look at the picture of the engine and imagine that compact, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder package punching out more than 140 ponies per liter, 286 horsepower, to be more precise, and 273 pound-feet of torque. Surprisingly, there’s no manual option. The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that sends all that power to the front wheels through a mechanical limited-slip differential. To help the four-banger keep its cool, VW has outfitted the TCR with an extra pair of radiators.

(VW showing tech prowess with Pikes Peak EV racer. Click Here for the story.)

An electronic limiter holds the TCR’s top speed to 155 mph, but VW makes no attempt to hide the fact that you bump that to 164 mph “by opting to remove the electronic top-speed limiter.” The German automaker isn’t saying anything about launch times but the earlier GTI TCR race car, of which just 20 were built, could hit 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in 5.2 seconds, with its top speed rated at 143 mph. (It made a fair bit more power, however, at 326 hp and 310 lb-ft.).

Small, but mighty! The 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder is capable of pushing the GTI TCR 164 mph.

If the numbers hold in production, the TCR will become the fastest Golf GTI ever, slightly topping the Clubsport S which maxes out at 162 mph.

The new Golf GTI TCR Concept isn’t quite as extreme when it comes to design, either. There’s no big rear wing, nor a hood scoop, for example.

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But compared to a stock GTI, the 2018 TCR Concept features new front and rear bumpers, a new front splitter and side skirts, and a new diffuser. There are also oversized twin exhaust finishers. The TCR edition will be shod with 18-inch wheels and tires, though 19s will be available, and it will feature distinctive hexagonal side graphics playing off the TCR logo.

The interior of the GTI TCR is carefully design to play on the colors of the exterior, particularly the red stripe in the steering wheel.

Inside, there’s a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a red stripe that matches the stripes running down otherwise black cloth seats. The sills, meanwhile, light up red when the doors are opened and the TCR logo is projected onto the ground.

While the Golf GTI TCR will be pretty will tricked out, you’ll apparently be able to opt for a sport chassis and electronically adjustable dampers with three driver-controlled settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport.

(To read about our driving impressions of the 2019 VW Jetta, Click Here.)

That is, of course, if you’re living in Europe or any other market where VW eventually will introduce the Golf GTI TCR. If you’re stuck in the States you’ll have to hope the automaker eventually changes its mind.

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