Volkswagen Golf R vs GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300: Track Battle video

Watch as some of the Volkswagen Group’s leading hot hatches go head-to-head, on track and against the clock. There can only be one winner…

A trio of hot hatches that share an engine, platform and parent company – which is fastest around a track? Time to put this sibling rivalry to bed.

The new Volkswagen Golf R packs a serious punch. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot puts out 316bhp, and the chassis is more playful than ever – a torque-vectoring rear differential can send up to 100% of drive to the outside rear wheel, and there's even a Drift Mode. On paper, then, it should be the most potent hot hatch from the VW Group, but the Golf GTI Clubsport is here to cause an upset. 

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With a 20bhp deficit and front-wheel drive, the odds are against the Clubsport overthrowing the R. However, it has shed 90kg by dropping the four-wheel drive gubbins of its sibling, which might pay dividends around the technical Llandow Circuit. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential should also help drag the car out of the critical low-speed turns.

And what about the 296bhp Cupra Leon 300, which undercuts both VWs on price? Mechanically, it’s closest to the GTI Clubsport – its EA888 engine is in the same state of tune, and it powers the front wheels alone. Equipped with an incisive DSG ‘box, just as in the other two cars, the Cupra launches from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. It carries a 29kg weight penalty over the GTI Clubsport, which allows the VW to shave 0.1 seconds from that time. 

So the scene is set, now which sets the quickest lap time? Join Steve Sutcliffe at the helm in this video to find out…

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