Volkswagen has opened order books for the new, eighth-generation Golf GTI, customer deliveries of which will start later this year.
The newest version of the genre-defining hot hatchback is based on the Mk8 Golf, which was unveiled last year. It sticks closely to the established GTI template for the model, retaining the Volkswagen Group’s familiar ‘EA888’ turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and sending power to the car's front wheels exclusively.
However, the standard version of the new GTI features all the additions fitted to the GTI Performance version of the Mk7 Golf, including boosts in power to 242bhp (from 228bhp) and torque to 273lb ft (from 258lb ft), a limited-slip differential and upgraded brakes.
To please enthusiasts further, the GTI retains a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is again optional.
Prices start from £33,460 for the six-speed manual and versions equipped with the DSG seven-speed dual-clutch automatic begin at £34,960. Both cars have a 155mph top speed, with the DSG being slightly faster to 62mph, at 6.2sec.
Automatic models will arrive with customers first in October, with manual cars following a month later.
According to VW's technical chief, the eighth-generation car is more of a “true GTI” than its highly regarded predecessor.
“The Golf 8 is a big step from the Golf 7 and the step forward we took with the new GTI is bigger than with the normal Golf,” Matthias Rabe, Volkswagen’s technical boss, told Autocar. “It was very important for us to ensure we made the GTI a perfect car for everyday use, but one that was still a true sporty car.
“The new car will be more GTI than its predecessor, and not only from the looks. You will feel it when you drive it.”
The GTI uses the same upgraded version of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform as the regular Golf Mk8, with suspension by MacPherson struts at the front and multi-links at the rear. It’s also fitted with a new Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which controls the electric differential lock (XDS) and optional adaptive dampers (Dynamic Chassis Control) to improve the balance between maximum comfort and driving dynamics.
Volkswagen’s engineers have also reworked the steering, making it more direct in a bid to improve both response and feedback.