Volkswagen’s R669K GTI TCR is finally ready to show what it can do

After several delays, Volkswagen South Africa has finally announced pricing and arrival details of the final iteration of its current small hatch before the all-new Golf Mk8 arrives early 2021. The 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR will become available from July, priced mid-way between the existing Golf GTI  and much loved Golf R  at R669 000.

Although first details of its successor have already been leaked ahead of its 2021 arrival alongside the new Golf R, production of Mzansi’s Golf GTI TCR begins next month and will be limited to 300 examples. Three of which will be reserved for media test drives.

Volkswagen says the TCR celebrates its success in the global four-cylinder hot hatch Touring Car Racing category, including the spirit of Mzansi’s favourite byline Vrrrpha, and is “the ultimate expression of the current generation Golf GTI, the world’s favourite performance hatchback”.

It follows a long line of GTI special-editions that began with the GTI Pirelli (Mk5) and also included the GTI 35th Anniversary (Mk6) and the GTI 40 Years, based on the Golf 7 in 2016. However, the TCR eclipses the 40 Years as the most powerful production Volkswagen Golf GTI. While both 2.0-litre turbo-petrol models almost match the 228kW power output of the Golf R, the 40 Years achieved this figure on overboost and in the GTI TCR the output is constantly available.

While this is a substantial uplift from the standard GTI’s 169kW, the TCR’s 380Nm torque output is a bit lower.

The GTI TCR’s estimated 0-100km/h time is 5.6 seconds – 0.6sec better than the GTI 40 Years with DSG transmission and within a second of the Golf R DSG hatch’s 4.6sec.

Like all GTIs, but unlike the all-wheel drive Golf R, the TCR is front-drive and also brings a differential lock and performance front brake system. Suspension is firmer and 5mm lower than the standard GTI’s and there’s also a specific adaptive chassis control system.

Other differences to the standard GTI include a freer flowing exhaust system with a more distinctive note, but like the latest GTI the TCR is auto-only – in this case courtesy of a six-speed wet-clutch DSG transmission rather than a seven-speed dual-clutch unit.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR will be available in the traditional GTI paint colours of Pure White and Tornado Red, plus a new Pure Grey hue, and all colours come with a gloss-black roof, distinctive honeycomb side TCR decals and bespoke 19-inch alloy wheels – up from 18s.

Interior features include Alcantara gearshift and door trim accents, black/red sports cloth upholstery, a new version of the GTI steering wheel with perforated leather at the hand positions and a red 12 o’clock marker.

Other unique features include black mirror covers, Honeycomb TCR decals, LED headlights with dynamic cornering light, Dynamic light assist and seat belts and floor mats with red trim.

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