The special edition Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S has recorded a sub-7min50sec lap of Germany's infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife, making it the fastest front-wheel-drive production car to lap the 20.83-kilometre circuit.
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With 228kW of power and 380Nm of torque available from its turbocharged 2.0-litre EA888 four-cylinder engine, the two-seat, three-door, manual-only Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S – the most powerful GTI ever – set a time of 07:49:21, bettering the 7:54.36 time set by the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R back in June 2014.

Limited to a production run of 400 cars, Volkswagen claims the special edition Golf GTI Clubsport S can sprint from 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds and wind out to 265km/h.

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Driven by 28-year-old German racer Benny Leuchter and equipped with a “special sport chassis”, “special brake pads” and 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235mm-wide, 35-profile "semi-slick" Michelin tyres, the German car maker says the record-breaking run was achieved using a unique ‘Nurburgring setting’.

Accessed via the standard model’s driving profile selector, engineers have reconfigured and fine-tuned the ‘Individual’ setting to “suit the unique conditions of the Nurburgring”.

Although profiles for ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Race’ are also available in the Clubsport S (normal Golf GTIs being limited to a choice of ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’, or ‘Individual’), the special Nurburgring setting specifically adjusts the car’s adaptive suspension, engine, steering, and sound to create an ideal setup for the Nordschleife layout.

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Further, Volkswagen has added a new exhaust system to the car, while also reducing weight down to 1285kg, or around 30kg less than a similarly equipped Golf GTI Clubsport – a car due to go on sale in Australia from June, priced from $48,990, badged as the Golf GTI 40 Years Edition.

Inside, along with the removal of the rear seats, the Golf GTI Clubsport S also features a driver and front passenger racing bucket seat, red-lined seat belts, an Alcantara-trimmed sports steering wheel and an Alcantara-trimmed version the Golf’s iconic golf ball gear knob.

The record run not only ensures the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S will draw plenty of crowds at its world premiere at the Worthersee VAG festival running from May 4-7 in Austria, but also plenty of controversy too.

Much debate surrounded the 7:58.44 time set by the ‘specially equipped’ Seat Leon Cupra 280 and a 7:50.63 time set by a single-seat, preproduction prototype version of the new Honda Civic Type R.