VW has finally pulled the covers off the all-new, eighth generation Golf GTI and its siblings, the plug-in hybrid GTE and diesel GTD, ahead of their official public premiere at the Geneva Motor Show.
As expected, the new VW Golf GTI isn’t a fan of loud styling exercises, opting instead for a more subtle approach to display its high-performance underpinnings.
The front end is dominated by the one-piece honeycomb-pattern lower grille that features the striking, but optional, X-shaped foglights. The standard LED headlights are united via a thin LED strip with another colored strip runs across the width of VW’s iconic hot hatch – finished in red for the GTI, blue for the GTE and silver for the GTD.
Moving on to the sides and we find a set of new 17-inch Richmond alloy wheels offered as standard to the Golf GTI. VW will also offer 18- and 19-inch wheels as an option while the brake calipers are finished in the classic red. The side skirts are also wider and finished in black.
The rear end of the new VW Golf GTI gets a sporty diffuser, along with a roof spoiler, LED taillights as standard and the iconic GTI lettering now sitting proudly in the middle, under the VW badge. The new Golf GTI, GTE and GTD are differentiated in the exhaust department, with the GTI featuring one tip in each corner, the GTD getting a double pipe on the left and the plug-in hybrid GTE hiding its exhaust completely.
Pick your poison: Golf GTI, GTD or GTE
Power for the new VW Golf GTI comes from a 2.0-liter EA888 TSI engine (the latest evo4 variant of it), producing 242 HP (245 PS) and 273 lb-ft (370 Nm) of torque. As standard, VW’s latest hot hatch will be offered with a six-speed manual transmission, leaving the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic unit in the options list.
VW didn’t release any acceleration figures at this point and didn’t mention anything about the rumored TCR variant, which is expected to offer 292 HP (295 PS) out of the same engine.
Moving on to the Golf GTD, which employs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that kicks out 197 HP (200 PS) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. The powertrain is offered only in conjunction with the dual-clutch transmission and features two SCR catalytic converters with dual AdBlue injection.
Golf GTE gets 37 miles of EV range with more torque than the GTI
We already know that the plug-in hybrid VW Golf GTE uses a combination of a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 147 HP (150 PS) and a 112 HP electric motor. Together, they produce a combined 242 HP and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. A six-speed DSG is the only option here, while the lithium-ion battery pack has increased in size by 50 percent compared to its predecessor, to 13 kWh. VW claims an EV range of around 37 miles (60 km) and that the new Golf GTE can be driven in all-electric mode up to speeds of 81 mph (130 km/h).
New adaptive suspension with huge adjustment range
The big news in the chassis department is the addition of a new driving dynamics control system called ‘Vehicle Dynamics Manager’. The new system basically controls the XDS electronic differential lock and the DCC adaptive suspension, which has been revised for this generation of the fast Golf family and drops the Golf GTI and GTD 0.6 inches lower to the ground than a standard Golf.
VW now allows the drivers to choose beyond the preconfigured range of the Comfort, Eco and Sport modes when setting up their Individual setting via a digital slider. Drivers can now choose an even comfier setting from the fixed Comfort mode and go beyond the fixed Sport mode, further tightening the dampers for minimum body movements.
Tartan sports seats, screens, but no hard buttons
The interior of the new Golf GTI is tarted up with a new sports steering wheel with touch controls and three silver double spokes, the classic golf ball shifter knob (if you go for the manual) and the beloved tartan GTI sport seats.
The Innovision Cockpit combines a configurable 10.25 digital instrument cluster with a 10-inch infotainment system, while there’s also ambient lighting with 30 color options. Standard equipment includes the Lane Assist lane keeping system, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, the XDS electronic differential lock and the Car2X communication module.
Stay tuned for more info on the new VW Golf GTI’s performance numbers as well as its launch dates in Europe and North America.