The 2020 Geneva Motor Show was canceled over the weekend due to fears around the coronavirus. But the launches set for the Swiss showcase must go on – and Volkswagen has lifted the virtual covers from its eighth-generation Golf GTI.
Here’s all the key details you need to know about the latest iteration of one Australia’s favourite hot hatches.
The engine is carried-over from the Mk7 GTI
If you’re hoping for more power with a new model, then VW has some bad news for you. This new model features the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine (codenamed EA888) as the previous generation. It’s still good for the same 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque, which leaves it behind rivals such as the 202kW Hyundai i30 N and upcoming 206kW Ford Focus ST.
But the GTI has never been purely about outright performance, it has tried to be an engaging hot hatch to drive. To that end VW has retained the six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but will also offer a seven-speed dual-clutch auto option; something not all of its rivals can claim.
So is the chassis – but it has some new tricks
Underneath the surfaces this latest generation Golf sits on an updated version of the company’s ‘MQB’ modular underpinnings. That means a McPerson strut front end and multi-link rear suspension which provides a known platform to search for refinements and improvements.
VW has introduced a new system it calls, Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which is able to control both the XDS electronic differential and the adaptive dampers simultaneously for improved handling.
It has a hi-tech interior
While VW didn’t make any radical changes to the mechanical make-up of the GTI, the cabin is a different story. This is the most advanced GTI yet from a technology point-of-view, with new digital displays for the instruments and infotainment system.
Dubbed the Innovision Cockpit the new interior layout incorporates a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel with a 10-inch screen for the remaining controls, mounted high in the centre of the dashboard. The infotainment screen is highly customisable with app-like icons for each function that can be adjusted to suit your preferences, similar to a smartphone.
But the best news is, despite all this new tech details, the company has retained the traditional check-pattern seat trim; although it’s a new pattern design dubbed ‘Scalepaper’.
It will be down under in 2021
The eighth-generation Golf range is due to launch in Australia by the end of 2020, but it seems likely at this stage that the GTI won’t hit our shores until early 2021. VW Australia will keep final details of price and specifications under wraps until then but expect a similar price to the current $46,190 for the GTI with dual-clutch auto.
Until then VW will keep hot hatch fans happy with the arrival of the Mk7 swansong, the Golf GTI TCR. Inspired by the firm’s success in international TCR racing it’s due to arrive in the middle of the year packing a 213kW/400Nm engine and seven-speed dual-clutch; that makes it the most powerful GTI ever.
There’s a hybrid version
Well sort of. In selected markets Volkswagen will offer the Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid hot hatch. It pairs a 110kW 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor for a combined output of 180kW and 400Nm – more pulling power than the GTI.
Volkswagen Australia looks unlikely to offer the GTE as part of its local line-up, but given its performance and every stricter emissions standards around the world this may be a precursor for what’s to come with the ninth-gen GTI and beyond.