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Worthersee: Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S

Hopped-up GTI makes its debut at Worthersee.

Volkswagen will make a splash at Worthersee this week with its debut of the all-new Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S--the new Nurburgring lap record holder for front-wheel-drive production cars--as part of its celebration of the GTI nameplate's 40th anniversary.

The GTI Clubsport S builds on the Clubsport model that debuted last year in Frankfurt. If the Clubsport is a GTI that has been dialed up a few notches, the S is the one that goes to 11.

While the Clubsport boasts a modest power bump and its trick "overboost" function, the S is a bit more deliberately engineered.

The S's centerpiece is a 310-horsepower, two-liter turbocharged engine which produces 280lb-ft of torque. VW claims the extra power comes from an upgraded, 2.5-inch exhaust and a remapped ECU (backed up by an upgraded fueling system). Oh, and they say the exhaust crackles ("deliberately backfires") under braking.

The S has also been lightened, with a claimed unladen weight of only 2,883lbs (66lbs lighter than the base Clubsport, thanks to a rear seat delete and aluminum front suspension components).

Unlike the Golf R, which utilizes Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, the Clubsport line is based on the front/front layout found in the basic GTI, so its straight-line performance is not quite as impressive. VW still claims it'll do 0-62 in 5.8 seconds on the way to a 162 MPH top speed. It's no slouch.

With this more-powerful, lighter Clubsport S in tow, Volkswagen headed to the Nurburgring with German touring car and open-wheel driver Benny Leuchter to see if it could take home the lap record for production front-wheel-drive cars.

The outcome? Success, with a 7:49.21 in the books.

Don't get your hopes up too high for a Clubsport S of your own. Volkswagen has limited the production run to only 400 units, and 100 of those are already set aside for Germany.

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