2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI, Golf R Pricing and Specs Revealed for U.S.

volkswagen-golf-r-and-gti-2022-oem-01-exterior--group-shot.jpg 2022 Volkswagen Golf R (left) and Golf GTI | Manufacturer image

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. 

Powertrain and Performance

The 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R share a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic. The GTI’s powertrain makes 241 horsepower, up 13 hp from the previous model, and 273 pounds-feet of torque using premium fuel, while the 315-hp Golf R gets a power bump of 27 horses. Maximum torque in the Golf R is 295 pounds-feet of torque with the automatic transmission or 280 pounds-feet with the manual. The top speed is an electronically limited 155 mph for both hatchbacks. 

Golf R Gets Even More Track-Worthy 

To improve handling on the new Golf R, VW gave the hatchback an updated 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with rear-axle torque vectoring. Instead of sending up to 50% of the engine’s power simply to the rear axle as the previous generation did, the new torque-vectoring system can distribute up to 100% of the rear torque to an individual rear wheel, thus improving mid-corner dynamics. The GTI, meanwhile, remains front-wheel drive. 

Multimedia, Safety Tech

The 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R get Volkswagen’s 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster as standard equipment. An available infotainment system with navigation can display a full-screen map both in the digital cluster and in a 10-inch center display. Both hatchbacks come with standard ambient lighting with a choice of 30 color options for the interior and digital displays.  

Volkswagen’s available suite of driver-assist safety tech includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and Volkswagen’s Travel Assist suite, which in other VW models combines adaptive cruise control and hands-on lane centering.. 

Pricing and Release Date

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI will come in three trims: the S, SE and Autobahn. The Golf R comes in a single, fully loaded trim that features standard 19-inch alloy wheels, performance tires, illuminated grille, Nappa leather seats, the 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster and 10-inch multimedia screen. Prices are as follows:

  • Golf GTI S: $30,540 (manual), $31,340 (automatic)
  • Golf GTI SE: $35,290 (manual), $36,090 (automatic)
  • Golf GTI Autobahn: $38,990 (manual), $39,790 (automatic)
  • Golf R: $44,640 (manual), $45,440 (automatic)

The 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R are expected to hit dealerships in the last quarter of 2021.

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