Volkswagen unveiled the all-new Mk8 Golf last year with plans of introducing the Golf GTI and hybrid GTE shortly after. As fate would have it, the standard Mk8 Golf won’t be arriving in US shores anytime soon, and this includes the GTE version. However, Volkswagen is quick to point out the Golf GTI is definitely coming to America, and it’s bringing with it the hotter Golf R.
Many crucial details about the Mk8 Golf GTI are still unavailable as of writing, but Volkswagen has revealed some juicy tidbits in a recent media conference call. With that in mind, here are the top things we know about the newest Mk8 Golf GTI.
The VW Golf GTI will arrive in late 2021
Adoring fans and Golf enthusiasts will have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on the newest VW Golf GTI. “Originally, our plan is to bring the Golf GTI near the end of next year,” said Hein Schafer, Senior VP, Product Marketing & Strategy at Volkswagen. “We’re still working with our project teams in assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the Golf GTI and Golf R, but the plan is to bring the cars late next year.”
Apparently, Volkswagen will continue selling the Mk7 Golf GTI until the Mk8 version arrives in late 2021 as a 2022 model, with the Golf R following soon after that.
It’s about the same size as the outgoing Mk7 Golf
There’s no doubt the VW Golf has grown in proportions during its lifetime. But despite the sleeker shape and modern fascia, the Mk8 Golf is about the same size dimensionally as the outgoing Mk7 version. “We can’t reveal the exact numbers, but the wheelbase, length, and width of the Mk7 and Mk8 are extremely similar,” said Megan Closset, Product Manager, VW Golf family.
However, the Mk8 is slightly lower with a sloppier roofline towards the rear end of the car. “The interior remains voluminous for passengers and cargo, but not too big on the outside,” added Closset.
The digital cockpit is standard
Since we’re talking about the interior, the 2022 VW Golf GTI comes standard with an all-digital cockpit. The driver gets a 10.25-inch digital display while the center console is flanked by a massive 10-inch infotainment screen. It also receives a new GTI steering wheel with multifunction touch controls and familiar red/chrome livery. The tiller is also wrapped in genuine perforated leather to add a premium touch.
Meanwhile, the standard seats feature the iconic plaid pattern from the original Mk1 Golf GTI, but perforated leather upholstery remains optional. The cabin is equipped with 30-color mood lighting with a GTI-specific mode.
The Mk8 Golf GTI has a new set of legs
Volkswagen had specific goals in mind for the Mk8 Golf GTI, but the main points were to improve cornering grip, stability, and precision than the outgoing model. As such, the Mk8 Golf GTI retains the familiar MacPherson front and multi-link rear axle setup of the outgoing model albeit with modified components.
The front axle has a lighter aluminum subframe that weighs 6.6 pounds (3 kg) lighter than before along with new wishbone bushings and updated springs. The damper hydraulics were optimized using new software algorithms to improve comfort and handling. Moving to the rear, the Mk8 Golf GTI has updated springs and helper springs, new wheel mounts, upgraded wishbone bushings, and new damper bearings.
Combined with an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential in the front axle and new software algorithms for the progressive electric steering rack, the new VW Golf GTI is four seconds faster than the Mk7 GTI around the handling course at VW’s Ehra test facility. Standard on the new GTI are 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires while the optional 19-inch rollers are accompanied by summer performance tires.
America is getting a Euro-spec Mk8 Golf GTI
This means a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 245-horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. American-bound Golf GTIs will also have a standard six-speed manual transmission while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. “As a manual transmission aficionado myself, close to 40-percent of buyers of the previous Golf GTI and Golf R chose the manual option,” added Closset.
In fact, the only differences between the Euro-spec and American-spec Mk8 Golf GTI are the tires and the location of the steering wheel. According to Volkswagen, the chassis and damper settings are unchanged between both models. And the best news? All US-bound Golf GTIs will be strictly manufactured in Wolfsburg, Germany.