The eight-generation of the perennial hot-hatchback – the Volkswagen (VW) Golf GTI – is nearly upon us. With a legacy spanning over 44 years, the GTI was the car that started the very genre of performance cars for the common man; delivering in every generation – punchy engines, sublime driving performance, great build quality, and brilliant packaging.
Slated to go on sale in Europe in the second half of this year, Volkswagen has released interesting new details about technology that the GTI will be packing including a first of its kind, Vehicle Dynamics Manager. Here’s all you need to know about the all-new (Mk8) Volkswagen Golf GTI.
1. Sleek Design
The Golf GTI takes several design cues from the latest crop of VW vehicles such as the Passat and T-Roc with the upper line of the grille and headlamps forming a seamless line that runs the width of the front fascia for a low and wide stance. Standard LED headlights will be supplied with the GTI and LED Matrix headlight made optional.
For the very first time, the radiator grille (which features the characteristic red GTI stripe), can be illuminated by a slim LED strip that extends into the headlight modules’ LED daytime running lights on the left and right. Another focal feature is the five LEDs in an ‘X-formation’ at either side of the front bumper as the fog lights.
Along the flanks, the GTI is offered as standard with Richmond 17-inch alloy wheels. 18- and 19-inch wheels, and red brake callipers, are also optionally offered. The thick C-Pillar is another trademark feature of the Mk8 GTI.
At the rear, a GTI roof spoiler that extends significantly towards the rear boosts the downforce at the rear axle. Down below, the sporty diffuser distinguishes the GTI from other Golf variants, while the new model’s exhaust system has one round tailpipe each on the left and the right.
The drag coefficient (Cd) of the GTI has dropped from 0.3 to 0.275. The aerodynamics have been improved by aerodynamically designed wing mirrors, body edges and the roof spoiler. Extensive underbody panelling also contributes to its slinky design.
2. More power
The 2.0-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder will pump out 245 PS, 15 PS more than the current Mk7.5 GTI. Power is sent to a 7-speed dual-clutch ‘DSG’ gearbox, as before.
3. Updated chassis dynamics
Volkswagen has improved the front and rear axles to cope with the additional power and provide more stability. At the front, the wishbone bearings, springs and buffer stops on the front axle have been reconfigured, as have the damping hydraulics and spring rates. Round the back, VW has revised the spring rates and dampers.
Aluminium components are used where possible to shave weight.
Volkswagen is now equipping the new Golf GTI with an electronically controlled front-axle locking differential as standard. The electronic differential offers the GTI precise steering and immense grip in the bends.
4. New Vehicle Dynamics Manager
Aping sports cars with much higher price tags, the Vehicle Dynamics Manager (VDM) coordinates and activates the functions of the electronically controlled front axle locking differential, the electronic ‘XDS+’ differential lock as well as the (optional) electronically controlled shock absorbers (DCC) during every driving manoeuvre.
The VDM measures the individual wheel damping 200 times a second and then accurately controls all the car’s chassis systems to adapt to the road conditions. VW claim, they have almost entirely eliminated understeer in corners – a common issue with high-powered front-wheel drive cars – giving the GTI a very neutral demeanour in corners.
5. A classic but connected interior
On the inside, the Golf GTI no longer features an ignition lock, having been replaced by an Engine Start/Stop button as standard. As a completely new feature, once the doors have been opened, the button pulses red until the GTI engine is started.
The digital display starts up as soon as the doors are opened. Two-display screens, one 10.25-inch for the digital instrument cluster (with more features than before), while a centrally-positioned 8.25-inch screen takes care of all the infotainment functions. An optional 10-inch Discover Pro system will be made available in some markets.
Elsewhere, other characteristic GTI interior details have been reimagined for the Mk8 GTI, such as the classic three-spoke sports steering wheel – now evolved into a sports steering wheel with touch controls. The Tartan seats have also been reimagined with the new Scalepaper pattern and red highlights.
Ambient lighting also comes as standard, illuminating displays and many other interior areas in a spectrum of 30 configurable colours.