If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That ought describe the eighth generation of the venerable Volkswagen Golf GTI. However, there is some new tech set to revolutionise it - here's everything we know.
Inside, big screens and an internet-connected software system head the Golf’s move into the future. Much like the flagship Touareg (pictured above), spy shots reveal that the GTI is set to reject traditional knobs and dials for big touchscreens. The dual-screen arrangement means that the instrument cluster is completely digitised, while the central display will cover all the infotainment needs in much the same way Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system does. That software system is said to offer over-the-air updates, while the air vents move lower in the dash and the climate controls are capacitive touch screens.
Earlier this month, Wheels revealed images of an undisguised Mk8 looking very production ready, offering a blurry glimpse into the future and what hotter versions might look like. Exterior changes centre on an ID.3-inspired front with chiselled headlights, while the GTI is rumoured to gain a cluster of five diamond-shaped LED daytime running lights and the traditional red horizontal lines. A new diffuser, housing tailpipes, and restyled tail-lights look set to be the biggest differences from the rear.
Under the bonnet the venerable EA888 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo will kick on sans hybrid assistance; those plans fizzled out despite being mooted for some time. Base power claims are said to be around the 185kW mark, which is an increase over the Mk7.5 GTI’s 180kW base figure.
Thanks to a slightly reduced weight and a more aero-efficient body, as well as the extra grunt, the 0-100km/h time is expected to drop to 6.1 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h, while a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch will again be offered.
Expect the driving dynamics to remain top-notch, with the MK8 GTI being underpinned by a development of the MQB modular chassis. MacPherson struts up front combine with multi-link rear suspension and adaptive damping. The electro-mechanical steering setup is considerably revised with a more direct ratio and feedback the focus for engineers.
A hotter version is in the works, too, and is likely to carry either the freshly minted TCR nomenclature or GTI Cup branding. Expect power levels of around 213kW (although as much as 224kW has been quoted) and for the performance figure to dip below 6.0sec to 100km/h.
This version will boast the most aggressive body kit and aerodynamics package. The ride height is set to be reduced, while wider wheels, bigger brakes and a locking diff are likely. Removing the top-speed limiting chip is said to allow for a 267km/h top speed and is believed to be an option.
While we wait for the next-generation GTI, a high-performance send-off will be available to Aussie customers. The aforementioned GTI TCR (pictured above) - the touring car-inspired Mk7.5 Golf - is expected Down Under with around 300 units available.
Despite global delays and an expected February 2020 international reveal, the Mk8 GTI is still expected to land locally by Q3 next year.