NEWS

Volkswagen Golf GTI: Updated, Upgraded GTI Is a Golf We’ll Actually Get

Volkswagen unveiled the eighth-generation redesign of its Golf last fall. Now, at the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show, it’s unveiling the GTI hot-hatch version of the new Golf — and unlike other versions already available elsewhere, this tastier Golf is one we’ll actually get down the road in the U.S.

Related: 8 Cool Things About the New Eighth-Generation Volkswagen Golf

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Cars.com confirmed with VW that the U.S. Golf plan still is to bring the GTI version for 2021 and, eventually, the upcoming hotter-hatch Golf R (though not the civilian model). A VW spokesman also told us that this next-generation GTI won’t land here until early 2021, so its U.S. model year might be 2022. While the Golf is VW’s signature model in most of the world, the GTI version is the only one that really gets the love stateside.

Alongside the Euro-spec GTI, VW also unveiled at Geneva a sporty GTD diesel version and a GTE plug-in hybrid that has the same total system power as the GTI plus 37 miles of all-electric range. We aren’t in line for those Golf versions, either.

Under the Hood

The latest GTI has the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but power is up to 245 horsepower (that’s Euro-spec; U.S. figures are still to be confirmed) from 228 hp and torque is up to 273 pounds-feet from 258. It remains front-wheel-drive-only, and the engine is mated to a six-speed manual or optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The GTI-tuned suspension has struts in the front and a multilink rear end; optional, at least in Europe, is an adaptive suspension.

Exterior

The exterior styling, like the regular Golf, is an evolution of the previous generation but sleeker, and the GTI version includes its familiar red accents and brake calipers. A slimmer grille sits over a more aggressive GTI bumper with optional foglights arrayed in an “X” pattern. And the grille and LED headlight pods are accented with a striking full-width LED light bar. The rear hatch and GTI spoiler also are mildly more aggressive. Standard are 17-inch alloy wheels, and 18- or 19-inch rims are optional.

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Interior

Inside, the new model has continued availability of the trademark tartan plaid upholstery, GTI sport seats and a sportier steering wheel. The GTI also gets the new Golf’s flashier electronics. The horizontal dashboard wraps around the driver and includes a 10-inch multimedia touchscreen and a 10.25-inch configurable instrument display. Touch controls replace most of the knobs and switches (which could be controversial), and ambient cabin lighting in 30 colors is standard. The European version also includes a full plate of safety and driver-assistance tech as well as the capability for over-the-air tech updates. We’ll have to wait for U.S. specs to see what is standard or optional here, and Cars.com will have full coverage when that’s available.

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