The new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport arrives to take its place at the top of the GTI range. And, like all flag-bearers, that means it hits the road with plenty of expectation; after all, anything which looks to go above and beyond Volkswagen’s most famous hot hatch carries quite a bit of weight on its shoulders.

Though the standard GTI left us feeling a little confused as it represented a marked difference from the polished and involving experience you got from the previous generation car, this Clubsport aims to make the Golf as involving and exciting to drive as possible. The question is, does it do that? We’ve been finding out.

Though the exterior of the Clubsport – save for its slightly elongated side skirts and split exhaust pipes – might look close to that of the standard GTI, it’s underneath the skin where things have really changed. The engine produces more power, for one, but the suspension has been lowered by 10mm and we’ve got uprated brakes with two-piston calipers for enhanced stopping power.

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