2020 VW Golf GTi TCR Review – The Most Powerful of Golf | the TCR becomes the most powerful version of the Golf GTI ever marketed on our market. Unfortunately, it costs much more than all of its direct competitors. An unacceptable element?
The new 290-horsepower 2020 VW Golf GTi TCR does not sign a true power record in the long-standing German lineage if you remember the GTI Clubsport S, formerly the Nordschleife’s fastest time in pull-ups (before the last Honda Civic Type R does not get the fastest time). But this former extreme variant of the Golf GTI, with settings optimized for the Grand Nürburgring and a four-cylinder turbo, pushed to 310 horsepower, has never been marketed here.
2020 VW Golf GTi TCR Redesign
So here we are with the GTI TCR as a consolation prize. With such an evocative name (it refers to the Golf GTI race in the TCR category) and a radicalized exterior presentation to the maximum, you would think that it is an even more extreme declination than the GTI Clubsport S prohibited to our market. Note in passing that side sticker particularly bright can happily take off in concession. But the rest of the body kit has nothing to envy the most aggressive sports in the category.
After the surprise of this radical external presentation, the GTI TCR quickly reveals its true nature: that of a Golf GTI simply equipped with a slightly more powerful engine (290 hp and 390 Nm instead of 245 hp and 370 Nm) and barely modified settings. Good for comfort and refinement lovers, since the TCR loses nothing of the outstanding qualities of the GTI in quiet driving. The very classic cabin offers the best of Volkswagen Group technology in terms of connectivity and ergonomics, and the finish looks lighter than in a Seat Leon Cupra, a Civic Type R or a Megane RS. With a DSG box that is always pleasant in everyday life and smooth damped damping like a lamb in Comfort mode, this misnamed TCR plays the family with a lot of ease.
We will also not be eligible for the optional Michelin Pilot Sports Cup 2 semi-slick tires on the other markets, who put on our test model during a driving session on the fabulous Portimao circuit (standard, she opts for Pirelli P-Zero). Launched at full speed on the big Portuguese toboggan, the GTI TCR defends itself honorably. The well-known strength of the EA888 block and its interesting character always surpass the engine of a Megane RS, and its performance does not make much of that of the Civic Type R (thanks to the DSG box, the car claims elsewhere) a 0 to 100 km/h in 5.6s, reference in traction). But do not count on her to become as playful as a Megane RS or a 308 GTI.
Its electronic locking differential also does not allow to narrow the exit curve course in the manner of a Civic R type, but its neutral behavior and high stability can roll very hard on the track. Imperturbable, it shines especially in the curves of the fastest route. Unfortunately, you have to deal with a completely outdated DSG box in intensive use. After a few laps at maximum attack, the brakes also lose efficiency and the overheated front axle makes turnouts more confusing. If you can not manage to stay precise and calm in your movements, for example by trying to follow a faster colleague, it will be better to keep the ESP in Sports mode to avoid losing too much time in skating (driving aids disabled).
And in absolute terms, there’s less fun than driving a Civic Type R, a Megane RS or even a Seat Leon Cupra that seemed sharper and less filtering circuit.
Pricing – too Expensive?
This brings us to the main problem of the 2020 VW Golf GTi TCR, it’s the price. The managers of Volkswagen have chosen to offer a car all options in the catalog, sold € 47,590. If the C02 emissions reduced to 144 g / km can limit the ecological penalty to € 1,050 (against € 6,300 to the Honda, € 8173 to the Megane RS Trophy manual or € 6 810 to the Hyundai i30N), l addition seems unjustifiable in the light of competition.
Even a Golf R 300 hp all-wheel drive (which will re-enter the catalog in a few weeks) costs less (with equipment certainly less bloated). If you want to spend so much on sporty golf, you’ll probably prefer the refinement of the latter. Or switch to a Seat Leon Cupra at least as effective but more fun and 10,000 euros cheaper. The Golf GTI is always a good “daily driver” for those looking for a compact comfortable, elegant and powerful without wanting the highest degree of efficiency possible. But in this case, just the GTI Performance, it’s 245 horses and it’s a base price to 38 450 €.