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VW claims 'king of the ring' with front-wheel-drive GTI Clubsport S

The Clubsport S, the most powerful GTI variant to date, will debut this week at the annual Wörthersee event in Austria.

VW Golf GTI Clubsport S Nurburgring

When the Nürburgring's infamous Nordschleife once again removed its speed limits this year, it was only a matter of time before automakers would return to attempt to capture records. Volkswagen's done exactly that this week, recording the fastest front-wheel-drive 'Ring time in its all-new Golf GTI Clubsport S.

The Clubsport S puts out about 306 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The curb weight is under 3,000 pounds (including the driver), 60 mph arrives in 5.8 seconds, and it comes standard with adaptive suspension with a special setting for the Nürburgring. The rear seat is missing, too. VW will produce just 400 of these cars, one quarter of which will stay in Germany.

VW's 7:49.21 lap time positively decimates the record of 7:50.63 set by a preproduction 2015 Honda Civic Type R, which itself bested the previous record of 7:54.36, held by the Renault Mégane RS. But Honda has a new Civic Type R in the works, set to debut in the next year or two, so it's very likely that the crown could once again land on a Japanese hood.

For you 'Ring junkies, here's the Clubsport's lap in its entirety: