« Back Double Up: Golf GTi Clubsport + Ranger Raptor
Cash alternative for this prize is £70,000
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI CLUBSPORT
The Golf GTi is one of life’s constants – it’s fast, handles really well, has a great quality interior, has understated yet sporty look and is classless – you could pull up outside the Dorchester or McDonalds and it wouldn’t look out of place.
But it now sits at the bottom of the Golf’s performance tree, with the R above it. But what if you want some thrilling hot Golf action without the AWD? Well VW has the answer…
Because this is the Golf GTi Clubsport, sitting between the GTi and R and offering a more finely tuned, honed, rawer experience.
The same GTi basics are there – the 2.0 litre turbocharger 4-cylinder engine is the same but turned up to 296bhp and 400Nm of torque, and that power goes to the front wheels via the brilliant 7-spd DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox and an electronic diff.
There are upgraded and lighter brakes and a retuned suspension setup for a more focused drive and thankfully there’s even a fruitier exhaust note.
Visually the Clubsport gets the most aggressive nose yet, with a deep chin spoiler and large intakes with extra ducting and the removal of the GTi’s foglights. At the rear there’s a larger spoiler and diffuser with two oval exhaust pipes, and at the sides some subtle graphics.
With these looks, extra kit and Nürburgring-honed setup, we think this could be the pick of the performance VW range.
FORD RANGER RAPTOR
Ford struck a gold mine when they turned the workhorse F150 pickup truck into the Raptor, appealing to those who wanted a truck that was fast, sounded great, looked like a Baja racer, and could handle going fast off-road like one. But in Europe, it has never really taken off, mainly due to it being the size of most family homes.
Raptor fans can be happy now though, as Ford has applied the same formula to the Ranger – jack up the suspension (and replace it with Fox Racing shocks), widen the front and rear track, add chunky tyres, and tweak the styling to look way more aggressive thanks to the wider arches.
Sadly it doesn’t get the Ecoboost engine we were all hoping for, but for now, we get a 210bhp 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine going through a 10spd auto gearbox. Yes, ten-speed! That gearbox can be controlled via paddles behind the steering wheel and there are six selectable driving modes including four for various off-road exploits.