Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept Delays My Car Search by Months

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR Concept; Manufacturer images

Volkswagen unveiled its new Golf GTI TCR Concept — inspired by the racing version of the GTI with the same name — this morning at the annual GTI Meeting in Reifnitz, Austria, on the shore of Wörthersee lake. (Note: not a lake made out of melted butterscotch candies for grandparents.) While still a concept, Volkswagen is hoping to turn this into a production car by the end of 2018.

Related: Most Fun-to-Drive Car of the Year: 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI

This is good and bad all at once. It's good because there's a more performance-oriented GTI coming soon, one that presumably wouldn't have a price that can run into the $40,000 range like a Golf R. And it's bad because I'm shopping for a car right now and strongly considering a GTI, and I don't know if I can wait for this one and save myself the embarrassment of not having the hottest version of the GTI.

And it would be the hottest version; the GTI TCR concept would be the fastest and most powerful GTI yet. (The Golf R is not a GTI, folks. Don't get it twisted.) The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine puts out a robust 286 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque, according to VW. Those figures are both higher than what Cars.com's three-row Atlas long-termer makes with a 3.6-liter V-6, and that is not a compact hatchback.

The GTI TCR concept has a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that sends all that power to the front wheels. Top speed is factory-limited to 155 miles per hour, but removing the limiter ups its top speed to 164 mph.

Eighteen-inch aluminum-alloy wheels will be standard on the production version, while 19-inch wheels will be optional. Unique brakes will hide behind those wheels, inspired by the race car. A sportier flavor of the GTI TCR will come with those 19-inch wheels along with a sportier chassis setting and adaptive damping to choose from Sport, Normal and Comfort. It also removes the speed limiter as part of the upgrade package.

The exterior gets a new front bumper designed to feed air into the two additional radiators present under the hot hatch's hood. The side skirts and rear diffuser are also unique to the GTI TCR. So are its two doors; Volkswagen announced that the two-door version of the Golf GTI was discontinued in September 2016.

Sport seats with a unique color scheme and pattern distinguish the inside of the GTI TCR Concept from more pedestrian GTIs. A unique puddle light and illuminated stainless-steel rocker trim add some over-the-top touches.

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