Harder, faster and sharper than the standard Volkswagen Golf GTI, the TCR is a genuinely engaging hot hatch that you can use every day. As such, the new TCR is a fitting swansong for the Mk7.5 Golf GTI.
By Shawn Donovan Brett
Inspired by the race car with the same name, in addition to the performance tweaks, all models get 18-inch wheels and a bespoke body kit with a new front splitter, side sills, rear diffuser and roof spoiler. The result is, without doubt, the most aggressive-looking Golf GTI to date.
VW’s fully-digital Active Info Display is also included, alongside an eight-speaker stereo and the brand’s slick Composition Media infotainment system. The seat fabric is unique to the TCR and thankfully the stickers on the side are optional, I have yet to decide if it is iconic or cheesy.
The bigger wheels switch the sometimes scrabbly Bridgestone tyres for stickier Pirelli rubber, but this is still a GTI and as such, strikes a neat balance between on-the-limit performance and everyday usability.
The steering isn’t brimming with feel, but you can dial-in a little extra weight by flicking through the drive modes. The engine is stronger than ever and sounds purposeful, accelerating six-tenths of a second faster than the GTI Performance, being front-drive only, that’s still almost a second shy of the Golf R.
All things considered, the TCR could well be the ultimate GTI. Every bit as practical as the standard car and loaded with kit, the race car-inspired TCR hatchback will offer a seemingly ideal balance for many hot hatch buyers.