VW drops Golf R 400 in favor of 306-horsepower GTI Clubsport S

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Volkswagen is out testing a new version of its GTI.

The car offers more performance than last year’s 261-horsepower (286 hp with overboost) GTI Clubsport and makes its world debut at the upcoming Wörthersee Tour GTI tuning fest in Austria.

The car may look like the previous GTI Clubsport but there's a small S after the “Clubsport” inscription above the rocker panel. It's covered by tape in our exclusive shots of a prototype. The car's official title is GTI Clubsport S.

2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2016 Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

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VW has confirmed the car packs the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder found in the Golf R but with output dialed up to 310 metric hp, or roughly 306 regular hp. By comparison, the Golf R only has 292 hp.

Being based on the GTI rather than the Golf R means the new GTI Clubsport S comes with front-wheel drive. This is crucial as the car will be used by VW to reclaim the front-wheel-drive Nürburgring record from Honda’s current Civic Type R. The time to beat is 7:50.63.

Sadly, we hear the car’s development has come at the cost of a much more extreme model based on 2014’s Golf R 400 concept.

2017 Volkswagen Golf R 400 spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2017 Volkswagen Golf R 400 spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

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According to Automotive News’ (subscription required) sources, the ambitious Golf R 400 project was canned following the resignation of VW brand R&D chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser in the early days of the diesel emissions cheating scandal.

The good news is that the car’s engine, also a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder but with outputs starting at 395 hp, will continue development for future applications in some Audi models.

The 2016 Wörthersee Tour starts May 4 and this year is especially special as it is the 40th anniversary of the GTI.

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