The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR edition has been out flexing its muscles on the Nurburgring race circuit in Germany ahead of a likely European debut later this year or early next year.
The photos show the latest generation Volkswagen Golf with an aggressive front bumper, low profile tyres and a large front brake package.
At first we thought it could have been a 2021 Volkswagen Golf R prototype, given the dramatic front fascia. However, the spy agency that supplied these images says this red rocket is the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
The spy photo team on the ground in Germany, who spend their days chasing camouflaged cars with their long lenses, believe the high powered version of the new Golf GTI will adopt the Golf R fascia to better distinguish it from its regular GTI sibling.
The spy agency said the clues to this being the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR versus the 2020 Volkswagen Golf R were the GTI logo stamped on the brake calipers and the two oval exhaust tips rather than quad exhaust tips. Unless, of course, they are part of elaborate decoy.
In the meantime, here’s what our spy agency partners said of this little red car:
“The VW Golf GTI TCR will of course have more power than a normal GTI and it will also be more driver focused,” our spy photo agent says.
“Where the regular GTI will have 180kW (in Europe), the TCR will have a mighty 221kW (which is more than the current generation Golf R in Australia: 213kW/380Nm).”
Our spy agency also reports that, as with the current generation VW Golf GTI TCR, the new model will deliver its power to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential.
“No manual option is planned as for now,” our spy agency told us.
“The brake discs are drilled and the suspension is lower and more firm compared to a standard VW Golf GTI. The intercooler hidden behind the front bumper looks slightly bigger than on the standard GTI but we are not really sure.”
The photos also show the VW Golf TCR will have large oval exhaust pipes and, our spies tell us, the rear spoiler appeared bigger than on the regular Golf GTI.
The new generation Volkswagen Golf range was due in Australian showrooms in late 2020 or early 2021, and there was some hope the GTI variant would arrive at the same time.
However, it is unclear if the arrival of the regular VW Golf range – and the GTI models – will be delayed in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns and factory shutdowns.
Meantime, Volkswagen Australia is yet to confirm whether our performance line-up will be limited to the Golf GTI and Golf R twins.
Volkswagen Australia had previously indicated the new generation Golf GTI would carry over the same 2.0-litre turbo (180kW/370Nm) as today’s model because of the complexities of calibrating an engine variant to run on our high sulphur fuels.
The company has not said whether the Golf R or any other high performance variants would have power restrictions due to our fuel.
However, the chances of Australia eventually getting the 2021 VW Golf TCR are promising.
A spokesman for Volkswagen Australia told CarAdvice today: "We are interested in any or all Golf performance models".
In the meantime, Volkswagen plans to bring in a batch of current edition Golf GTI TCR models.
As reported in March, Volkswagen Australia will bring in 300 examples of the current generation Golf GTI TCR as a swan song for this model.
The 2020 VW Golf GTI TCR is priced from $51,490 before on-road costs.
The 2020 Golf GTI TCR retains the front-wheel-drive configuration of all GTI models, but it matches the R for its 213kW output (previously achieved only by the GTI 40 Years, and only on overboost).