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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – a tornado in red

Seven’s final bow

It runs like a cheetah with baying hell hounds in hot pursuit. Pictures by Quickpic.

This limited-edition Meister-Golf has been available here for just more than a year and all 300 allocated units have either been sold or press-ganged into VWSA’s marketing efforts. You should know everything about it by now but, in case you don’t, let’s fill in some details you may have missed.

The name: TCR stands for Touring Car Racing, an international series for production cars with turbocharged engines, petrol or diesel, up to two litres capacity. Bodies must be four or five door and drive is to two wheels only. Gearboxes are limited to production or International Series-approved sequential units. There are strict weight and dimensional limits, while power outputs are restricted to 257kW and 420Nm. There are other allowances and restrictions but you can look those up.

Note: GTI TCR is a tribute car honouring VW’s 2016 and 2017 winner of the International TCR series, not a race-ready replica, so there are differences.

What would you give to ride in a Mustang, Sally?

VW took a regular GTI and doctored it up with tweaked suspension; brakes and engine from the 2017 facelifted Golf R; a special exhaust system, extra cooling capacity in the form of two more radiators, black 19” Reifnitz alloy wheels and splashy black decals.

On the inside, there are Alcantara inserts on doors and gear lever, an exclusive sports steering wheel, GTI TCR-detailed sport seats covered in Alcantara with black and red fabric, as well as floor mats stitched in black and red. Seats adjust manually and the ignition key is conventional.

The engine: EA888 series, 1984 cc DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged, producing 213kW between 5400 and 6500rpm and 380Nm between 1850 and 5300rpm. The zero to 100km/h sprint takes 5.6 seconds and top speed is restricted to 250km/h although bypassing the VMAX unit – simple name, “governer” – allows up to 264. One would surely only do this for racing, in which case there could be warranty issues, so check with VW first.

The brakes: 340x30mm (vented) in front and 310x22mm (vented) at the rear, replacing 314×30 vented and 300×12 solid. These were also used on the 2015 GTI Performance Pack version. Red-painted calipers at both ends (naturally).

The transmission: Six-speed DSG with Sport mode and paddles.

Hot hatch: Toyota’s sexy little number

The rear view of this dynamic, racy version of the Golf 7.

The colours: “Wimpish” White, Blend-in Grey and the colour it deserves, that of our test car, Tornado Red. (VW has socially acceptable names for the white and grey, so don’t take me too seriously.)
The options: None.
Appearance kit: Matte black exterior mirror caps, sill extensions, front splitter, TCR roof spoiler and a diffuser at the rear. On the inside, there are Alcantara inserts on doors and gear lever, an exclusive sports steering wheel, GTI TCR-detailed sport seats covered in Alcantara with black and red fabric, as well as floor mats stitched in black and red. Seats adjust manually and the ignition key is conventional.

Other standard features include Climatronic dual zone air-conditioning and a sunroof. Its inner “shade-cloth” shield opens and closes manually and the roof, when opened, admits very little wind noise, with the gentlest hair fluttering, at speeds it might be best not to mention.

Now read about Audi’s beautiful beast

Standard technology includes Dynamic Chassis Control, the usual Golf safety and entertainment kit, driving profile selection, Parallel Park Assist and LED headlights.

What’s it like to drive? Solid, confident and planted, it runs like a cheetah with baying hell hounds in hot pursuit. The transmission is excellent, as always, and six is all the speeds you really need. I want one.

This will be a hard act for the Golf 8 to follow. But it will surely do so. Successfully.

Test unit from VWSA press fleet
The numbers
Price: R692 600
Engine and performance: See text
Real life fuel consumption: About 8.9l/100km
Warranty: Three years, 120 000km
Service plan: Five years, 90 000km at 15 000km intervals.

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Microsoft rockets again!