Everything you need to know about the new Volkswagen Golf GTI
The eighth generation of the hot hatch promises more refinement and better handling
Having not experienced the best of starts to life, from production delays to Covid-19 pouring cold water over its intended world premiere at the cancelled Geneva Motor Show, the new Volkswagen GTI also missed out on its biggest coming out party at the annual Wörthersee Festival which has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
Wörthersee is the biggest Volkswagen Golf GTI event in the world since 1982 and it’s usually held in May, attracting global fans of the GTI to experience and mingle with other GTI-heads. According to Volkswagen SA, the new GTI was scheduled to launch here some time during the fourth quarter of 2020 but the pandemic has shifted this date to the first quarter of 2021.
Below are some highlights to expect from the new eighth-generation GTI.
1) The eighth generation is the most digitised of them all. The driver will be able to customise the visual look of their Golf GTI’s digital cockpit with a range of 30 background lighting colours and individual configuration of the infotainment system.
2) It’ll come with a sport steering wheel with multi-functionality and three silver double spokes and a recessed Wolfsburg emblem.
3) While still on the tiller, it gets a new progressive variable-rate steering system installed as standard. The variable ratios and 2.1 turns from lock-to-lock are said to significantly reduce the effort required when manoeuvring and parking, but on winding country roads the steering turns more directly.
4) Front passengers sit on new sport seats with integrated head restraints that are reminiscent of the first Golf GTI and also feature red stitching and a tartan “Scalepaper” style fabric on the seat and backrest areas.
5) Between the front pews will be a standard fitment manual six-speed transmission or you can opt for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG). The levers hark back to the 80s iterations through a golf ball shift lever.
6) A pulsating engine Start/Stop button is equipped as standard fitment.
7) The engine of the new Golf GTI is a fourth evolution of the EA888 2.0-litre turbo four. It produces 180kW and 370Nm. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h in both transmission options.
8) The new Golf GTI is lower and longer that the Mk7. It features improved aerodynamic optimisation through exterior mirrors, a roof spoiler, extensive underbody panels and refined wheel arch linings.
9) Because SA loves its alloy wheels, VWSA is yet to confirm local specification but overseas the car is available in 17-inch Richmond aluminium-alloy wheels as standard, optionally in 18-inch. There’s a 19-inch size option if you want.
10) It handles better than the previous generation thanks to an evolved electronically-controlled limited-slip differential, adaptive damping, and a full integration ESC, EDS and XDS+ functions under a new vehicle dynamics management system.
11) It has two stability control (ESC) stages, ESC Sport mode and ESC Off. The former minimises interventions but is still alert and ready to rein it back should a driver overcook things.