New 286bhp Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR due late 2018

The new VW Golf GTI TCR will go on sale towards the end of this year, following a realignment of the hot hatch range

The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR will go on sale towards the end of 2018, pitching itself as a new flagship for the hot hatch range. Shown first as a concept at the Worthersee festival in Austria earlier this year, the GTI TCR will boast 286bhp from a tuned 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine.

In a similar fashion to the up! GTI, which was shown as a concept at Worthersee in 2017, the Golf GTI TCR will arrive in UK showrooms towards the end of this year. Prices and specs for the production car haven’t been revealed, but expect a small premium over the ‘standard’ Golf GTI. Volkswagen will use it as an opportunity to realign and bolster the GTI range, after the base car was dropped last month due to increasingly stringent WLTP emissions regulations.

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That means Volkswagen will once again offer two Golf GTI models: the entry-level 242bhp ‘Performance Pack’ car and the range-topping ‘TCR’. The TCR is powered by the same engine, boosted to 286bhp and 370Nm. The TCR concept used a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and locking differential, sending power through the front wheels. It’s not clear whether Volkswagen will offer a six-speed manual gearbox.

Official acceleration times have yet to be revealed, but the TCR should cover the 0-62mph sprint in about six seconds. The option to remove the 155mph limiter gives a 164mph top speed, and there’s an upgraded stainless steel exhaust. An Akrapovič titanium system is likely to be offered as an option. 

On the concept, the speed limiter delete is offered as part of a Performance Package, which also drops the suspension by 20mm and adds VW’s Dynamic Chassis Control. The adaptive dampers are paired with 19-inch wheels in place of the usual 18-inch alloys. Behind those rims sit a set of drilled brake discs with uprated calipers and pads. None of this has yet been confirmed for the production-ready model.

Subtle styling tweaks set the TCR apart from lesser GTI models. A deeper front splitter and side skirts are complimented by a more aggressive rear diffuser, while it’s likely buyers will be able to choose unique TCR graphics, which spreads a honeycomb pattern across the flanks. Of the five exterior colours, three (red, white and the TCR-exclusive Pure Grey) are available with a contrasting black roof.

Inside, the TCR’s sports seats are trimmed in a mix of fabric and microfibre in a unique black and red design, and the leather-trimmed steering wheel gets contrasting red stitching and a matching 12 o’clock stripe. All of this is expected to be offered on UK cars.

There’s no official line on production numbers yet, but as the GTI’s biggest-selling market worldwide, the UK is likely to receive a generous allocation. As the standard GTI has been axed, there’s a chance production won’t be limited at all, with the new car forming part of the standard range until the Golf is replaced in 2019. TCR prices are still to be confirmed but expect to pay somewhere in the region of £33,000.

Read our review of the Volkswagen Golf R…

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