Competes with: Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai Veloster Turbo/N, Subaru WRX/WRX STi
Looks like: A fresh take on the iconic hot hatch
Powertrains: 241-horsepower (GTI) or 315-hp (R), turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; six-speed manual or seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission; front-wheel drive (GTI) or all-wheel drive (R)
Hits dealerships: Late 2021
The Volkswagen Golf is dead for the U.S. market, but hot-hatch aficionados can breathe a sigh of relief as its performance variations, the Golf GTI and Golf R, return for 2022. Volkswagen will use the first major auto show of 2021 to reveal U.S.-specific pricing and vehicle information for the 241-hp Golf GTI, which starts at $30,540, and the high-performance 315-hp Golf R, which starts at $44,640 (all prices include destination). The Golf GTI and Golf R make their U.S. debut with modest styling changes, track-ready performance upgrades, plus more safety tech and standard equipment.
Related: More Chicago Auto Show Coverage
Fresh Yet Familiar Styling
The exterior on the new 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R remains recognizable from the previous generation with the hatchbacks’ distinctive C-pillar and honeycomb lower grille; red accents and brake calipers feature on the GTI, blue ones on the R. Changes come in the details, with new, more menacing LED headlights, X-shaped foglights and an available horizontal light bar that spans the grille.
The Golf GTI and R both ride on new wheels, while the R gets unique styling to flaunt its performance advantages. Distinctions include more aggressive front and rear bumpers and diffusers; a large, two-piece rear spoiler; body-colored side sill extensions; and quad tailpipes. Inside, classic elements return, like the golf-ball design for the manual shift knob and plaid seats, with the eighth-generation GTI outfitted in a new “Scalepaper” tartan pattern.