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The all-new Golf GTI gets more power and more technology than ever before
The Golf GTI is the OG, the one that started it all, the hot hatch grand-daddy. So everytime Volkswagen is due to update it, enthusiasts sit tight with a magnifying glass to scream “Anarchy!”, if the company does away with the plaid seats or if there aren't splashes of red on the interior every 5-square inches. Well, if you’re one of those enthusiasts, the only thing you need to shout is “Yipee!” because not only does this new GTI get all of the above, it has a more powerful 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine which makes 241bhp. There’s more reasons to cheer, while many hot-hatches are now automatic only in the chase for faster 0-100 times, the Golf GTI still gets a six-speed manual gearbox, as standard. Thank you, Volkswagen.
Let’s start talking about the new Golf GTI with the powertrain. It retains the 2-litre turbocharged petrol from the last Golf GTI but bumps the power up from 224bhp to 241bhp. Torque gets a bump from 349Nm to 370Nm. The Golf GTI comes mated to the six-speed manual gearbox as standard and you can option a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The Golf GTI may be similar to the older one under the hood but you’d be hard pressed to find many similarities amongst the two on the outside, or inside for that matter. The exterior has an aggressive front-end with LED headlights standard, above which sits a narrow red line that goes across the width of the car, tying into the sportiness of GTIs. Another standard lighting element is an LED strip across the grille that joins the DRL elements in the headlights to create a lighting strip across the front end of the Golf GTI. Striking? Yes. Beautiful? You decide. There are optional X shaped LED fog-lights integrated into the large unbroken air intake, surrounded by a black outline. The side profile is fairly ordinary, 17-inch rims are standard but you can option the 18-inch rims pictured here or even get 19-inchers! The rear is where the new Golf resembles the old one the most, the angular taillights taper toward the center, but not all the way like other Volkswagen group cars. The GTI badge sits proudly in the centre now, just under the Volkswagen badge, it’s even got a slightly different font this time around. The twin exhausts on either end give away this Golf’s sporty intentions.
The new Golf GTI still stays true to it’s GTI heritage, with the silver and red accents on the steering wheel as well as the slightly recessed VW logo, the golf ball shaped gearknob (on the manual variant) and the tartan seat fabric, it’s all there. However, it isn’t all old school here — it gets touch sensitive controls on the steering wheel as well as the dashboard, a 10-inch infotainment screen and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster running Volkswagen’s latest software. The ambient lighting comes standard and can be programmed to 30 different colours, accenting various parts of the interior. While the manual car gets a golf ball shaped gearknob, the DSG variant gets a toggle style shifter, similar to the 992 generation Porsche 911, thanks to a change to shift-by-wire technology. There is ample connectivity as you would expect, Apple Carplay, Android Auto but you should note that the ports have switched to USB Type-C, so you will need an adapter if your cable has a Type-A connector.
Overall, the new Golf GTI is not revolutionary by any means, it is an incremental upgrade to one of the best hot hatches in the world. We don’t expect the Golf GTI to land upon our shores anytime soon though, it would be too expensive and too niche a product to ever make the numbers, but it’s nice to see that Volkswagen is still making fun cars while everyone shifts their focus towards efficiency.