Report: 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Spied

report 2021 volkswagen golf gti tcr spied

I’ve written before that the Volkswagen Golf GTI is almost the perfect car for automotive scribes – available with a manual, affordable, and hatchbacked. Really, it’s the perfect car for almost any enthusiast on a budget who doesn’t want to sacrifice utility at the altar of sport.

Then there’s the Golf R, which is a hopped-up GTI that is better in most respects, save one: Price. It’s no cheapo.

Enter the GTI TCR. This track-focused car fills the gap between the GTI and R and is rumored to make 296 horsepower.

The front-drive TCR would likely have a stiffer suspension, better aerodynamics, and upgraded brakes. It might be automatic-only. It’s definitely been spied while testing.

The biggest question is will it be Europe-only? While VW’s senior vice president for product marketing and strategy, Hein Schafer, told Carbuzz earlier this year that it’s possible, it’s unclear.

Here’s Schafer talking to Carbuzz: “I can tell you wholeheartedly that we are fighting to give every special model from a performance perspective. Every manufacturer faces a very similar challenge when it comes to any different engine variants. We run into an entirely different homologation process. It takes time and costs a lot of money. We are working very closely with Wolfsburg on the Mk8 lifecycle and we have an interest in every single special model they can potentially offer. We will continue to try to push to bring those models to the US.”

So that’s a definite maybe. A U.S.-based VW spokesman said there is “no plan” to sell the TCR here, but plans do change. Remember, the TCR has never been sold here in street-car form before, though race versions have been sold in the U.S.

We may just be getting the GTI and R over here. That’s pretty good, although it’s a bummer the base Golf is gone from our shores, since that car is a value commuter with a side of fun. Still, if the TCR came here, that would give VW a potent performance-based Golf lineup, pitting the GTI against the Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX and Veloster R-Spec/Veloster N, while the TCR would take on the Civic Type R, since both are front-drive. The all-wheel-drive Golf R could remain pitted against the WRX STi.

Let the hot-compact wars continue.

[Image: Volkswagen. Golf GTI TCR Concept from 2018 shown]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 18, 2020

    “I can tell you wholeheartedly that we are fighting to give every special model from a performance perspective. Every manufacturer faces a very similar challenge when it comes to any different engine variants. We run into an entirely different homologation process. It takes time and costs a lot of money. We are working very closely with Wolfsburg on the Mk8 lifecycle and we have an interest in every single special model they can potentially offer. We will continue to try to push to bring those models to the US.” This does not mean 'maybe' - this means 'no time soon.'

  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Sep 19, 2020

    I'd argue the GTI is a great car even if you aren't on a budget. I traded my '16 BMW M235i for a '17 GTI Sport and could not be happier. It may be slower, but it's heaps more fun and of course FAR more practical. I tried the Golf R, and it was also not as fun as the Sport for a LOT more money, and I need AWD living in FL like I need a couple of ex-wives. I'm not sure I see the point of the TCR though. If I am going to play on the track, I want RWD, not FWD. And the stuff that makes it better on a track will make it worse as a daily driver.

    • Ect Ect on Sep 20, 2020

      You remind me that I saw a guy in San Francisco many years ago wearing a t-shirt that read, in large letters, "Ex-wife for Sale". The small print beneath it read "take over payments".

  • EAM3 Learned to drive in my parents' 1981 Maxima. Lovely car that seemed to do everything right. I can still hear the "Please turn off the lights" voice in my head since everyone wanted a demo of the newfangled talking car. A friend of the family had a manual transmission one and that thing was fun!
  • FreedMike That wagon is yummy.
  • Syke Thanks, somehow I missed that.
  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
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