Not so, it turns out. Today, the German carmaker has revealed the final showroom version of that so-called ‘concept’, and you’d be hard pressed to spot the difference.
For this new special-edition model, which will celebrate the GTI’s 40th anniversary, Volkswagen has left the earlier show-car just about untouched.
That means a set of subtle but significant styling and aero enhancements, including a unique bumper at the front end with deep new side ports.
New 19-inch alloy wheels fill out the guards with a low offset, while the rear gets a modified bumper and a larger tailgate-topping wing.
That’s not the best part, of course. For this special, Volkswagen has dialled the 2.0-litre turbo engine’s output up from 162 to a new 195kW, which can be boosted to 213kW for around 10 seconds.
Although both numbers are shy of the top-shelf Golf R’s 221kW (Australian models make 206kW), the increase is good for a 5.9 second run to 100km/h with Volkswagen’s six-speed DSG auto.
That’s 0.9 seconds shy of the all-paw Golf R, but a neat 0.5 seconds quicker than fellow the Clubsport’s fellow front-wheel driver, the regular GTI.
Volkswagen has yet to confirm an Australian debut for the GTI Clubsport, and with the company’s local three-door performance line-up already occupied by the Scirocco R, it remains to be seen if a local launch will occur at all.
However, if a five-door variant appears between now and the GTI’s 40th birthday next year, that could definitely change things.
For the record, Volkswagen offered the most recent anniversary model, the Golf GTI Edition 35, in Australia from $43,490 plus on-road costs. The current GTI Performance costs $46,490, while the Golf R starts at $52,740.
Speaking with CarAdvice today, Volkswagen Australia communications manager, Karl Gehling, confirmed the company's interest in a local launch.
"We are very keen to get the GTI ClubSport, as the Golf GTI is a very popular model in our market," he said. "However, we are yet to get confirmation on when or if we could bring this to Australia."
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