By on July 17, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI - Image: Volkswagen

As Volkswagen progresses toward electrification and bolsters is court-mandated greener image, concerns arose that enthusiasts might be left to fend for themselves.

Those fears appear to have been entirely unnecessary. With Ford upping the ante with its hot-hatch Focus variants and newcomers like Hyundai’s attractive i30 N planning to enter the market with a minimum of 246 horsepower, VW knew it had to bring more to the table with its Golf. News from Germany indicates Volkswagen’s world-famous hatchback will lose some weight for its eighth generation and gain beefed-up powertrains.

Some have griped that the seventh generation of the GTI didn’t distinguish itself from the previous model’s spec sheet. While driving one usually nullifies those complaints, specifically because the current model’s torque curve is so superb, there’s still room for improvement against its segment rivals.

According to Germany’s Autobild, inside sources at Volkswagen claim the next incarnation of the GTI will come with at least 250 horses under the hood — a 40 hp improvement over today’s model. Assuming a similar increase in torque, the segment progenitor won’t be giving up any ground to its competitors. Similarly, the Golf R is poised to return with the 350 hp needed to match the Ford Focus RS. However, the RS will be out of production by the time the new VW arrives.

Volkswagen hasn’t specified exactly how either vehicle will manage the power increase. However, it has been rumored that at least some of the Mk8 Golfs will use a 48 volt mild-hybrid system for 2019 — with the performance models being the most likely candidates.

[Image: Volkswagen]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!


33 Comments on “Next Volkswagen Golf R and GTI Likely to Become Leaner, Meaner, Maybe Greener...”

  • avatar

    I can dig it. If VW really wants to separate the Golf R from the GTI and the R’s competitors though, they need to bring back the VR6. Throw that 3.6 in with a new aluminum block, and clean it up with a mild hybrid setup. That would be so sick and draw on the GTI’s rich history.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Nah. V6 Golfs are worse than I4 Golfs. As someone who owned a
      GTI and R32 at the same time, the GTI was a better vehicle to own. It was also just as quick.

      • 0 avatar

        The engine they need for more differentiation for the R isn’t the VR6, it’s the aluminum-block turbo five from the RS3/TTRS. Unfortunately I’m sure Audi will be keeping that exclusive.

    • 0 avatar

      “If VW really wants to separate the Golf R from the GTI and the R’s competitors though, they need to bring back the VR6. Throw that 3.6 in with a new aluminum block,”

      Current VW Golf R – 292 HP, 280 ft-lbs torque
      Current VW Passat VR6 – 280 HP, 258 ft-lbs torque

      I’m sure that they could tune the VR6 to put out more power, but then it seems that they’re equally sure that they can further tune the 2.0 turbo to put out another 50 horses or so as well, and they can get that without having to re-design the engine department to fit in the larger engine. Yes, the VR6 is a compact V6, but it’s not package-compatible with the 2.0L turbo. Then you’re likely to have more weight at the front of the car, etc.

      I’m sure that they can do just as well with the 2.0T with further tuning, and if they really had to they could probably get a slightly higher displacement without significantly altering the package.

      As much as I like the idea of the VR6 and liked it when I test drove a Passat last year, I don’t see it being around much longer in anything but larger SUV/Crossover types of vehicles. The overwhelming majority of people are going for the 4-cylinder turbos, even when the V6 is an option. With them pushing towards electrification/hybrids in the future you’re more likely to see a performance hybrid system than a VR6 in their performance cars.

    • 0 avatar

      A 2.0T can make the power, but it can’t match the sound or response. Plus, between the hybrid tech, and VWAG’s experience with high HP/L engines, they can definitely get enough out of the 3.6L to make it worth buying over the 2.0T. The F30 328i/330i is as fast if not faster than my G37 and gets better gas mileage…. there’s no way I would trade the 3.7 for a 2.0T though.

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately, the power and fuel economy of turbo fours are too compelling for automakers to keep six-cylinders around in small and midsize cars. Even the new Accord is ditching its V6, though to be fair, Honda only grudgingly offered a V6 in the first place.

      We had a 1995 Jetta GLX VR6, and I soon realized I’d probably never own another engine with such wonderful sound and feel, unless I spent for a BMW inline six or a Porsche flat six. It was just incredible. Good power for its time, and deliciously smooth all the way to redline.

      But fuel economy was awful. Even in such a light car, I was lucky to get 27 mpg on the highway. I’m sure current VR6 engines do better, but not as well as turbo fours.

      My next car was a 2001 Saab 9-5 Aero, with a 2.3L turbo four. It was hundreds of pounds heavier, and much more powerful. (The 0-60 times were similar, but once up to speed the Saab crushed the Jetta, and just about everything else.) And yet, I could easily hit 31 mpg on the highway, sometimes more. Modern turbo fours are better still.

      • 0 avatar

        Some V6s are better than others. The GM 3.6 can get 30+ MPG on the highway. My G is lucky to break 27-28. But on the flip side, my G makes almost 2x the power and carries another half ton of weight over that Jetta, while still getting similar gas mileage.

        For whatever its worth the 3600lb Passat 3.6 does mid 20s in mixed duty with a slushy automatic. I think a more powerful but hybridized Golf R with that engine could do about the same. Only real downside I see is cost going up…. but the value proposition is good. Even if it costs $40K to start, what else brand new at that price point has 4 doors, more than 4 cylinders and 3 pedals? All that comes to mind is a heavily discounted Chevy SS unicorn.

        For all they are able to do objectively 2.0T 4s leave much to be desired subjectively.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve owned 3 VR6-equipped VW’s. It was a fine motor in its day, and it makes heavenly noises, especially the one that came in the Mk4 R32. But its ship has sailed. It was heavy and inefficient. I can see using it in a bigger car or SUV, but the Golf/Jetta are better suited so the smaller, lighter, 2.0T.

      I have a current Golf R, and the only negative vs a VR6 is that it sounds like a 4. Otherwise, it’s superior in every way, and an absolute blast to drive, even with just the factory tune.

  • avatar

    Optional awd on regular GTI would be great. This would shut down competition from Subaru wrx and Honda ” Aztek” looking civic si hatchback.
    Golf r would still have 60-75 more hp. Over the base GTI.

  • avatar

    I was hoping they would focus on bullet proof reliability and come with a 10-year warranty.

  • avatar

    What ever VW does with the next gen GTI, They know better to mess it up and VW knows this. More power is always good, but to much isnt bad either.

    Just keep it for what it is.

  • avatar

    I think it’s time to change the body style….. tired of looking at that old design :=(

  • avatar

    …Ya, the body on the current Golf looks to be pretty much the same shape and dimensions as the mid 70’s VW Rabbit … a change should be in order !

  • avatar

    Couldn’t care less what they do to it as long as they keep the prices in the same range. And hopefully they keep the conservative styling.

  • avatar

    Yes – just what any high performance car should have. Lightweight aluminum turbo 4, light alloy wheels and suspension, and 500 lbs of batteries and electric motor.

    • 0 avatar

      Batteries and motors don’t weigh that much. The setup in the Prius is like 150lbs. Hell, the system in the Laferrari is like 300lb, with about 180 of those being for the 160HP electric motor. You scale that down for this end use and it won’t weigh more than an OEM turbo setup with all the added cooling and internal reinforcements.

      • 0 avatar

        According to the specs, the battery on the Golf GTE weighs about 260 lbs and the total weight of the hybrid hardware is just shy of 500 lbs. I don’t believe there is any hybrid that actually offers enough extra power to compensate for the extra weight of the hardware.

  • avatar

    How cool would if be if VW announced: “We are striving to become the most reliable car manufacturer in the world with industry-leading warranties.” If they did this without severely cheapening their vehicles they would basically be Apple.

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately, and against all logic, warranty length doesn’t necessarily move more metal. It did help get Hyundai on its feet in the United States, but as their sales have flattened out, they could throw a lifetime warranty on their vehicles and it still wouldn’t sway many more people into showrooms.

      Warranty is a component in the sale, but the subsection of buyers who focus solely on warranty is relatively small.

  • avatar

    Everybody moaning about these GTIs. But then go for little used car search and there are so many of these for sale after just 1-2 years of ownership. A good car is a keeper

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting you’d say that…I can find 77 used 2015, 2016 and 2017 WRX’s within 150 miles of my zip code, but only 30 GTIs from the same years.

      And that’s here in Colorado, where Subaru is a freakin’ religion.

      Methinks you’re trolling.

      • 0 avatar

        It is normal. 1 – subaru sells many more WRXs than GTIs. 2 – subaru WRX is one of the most cars that sold after 1 year of ownership. 3 – no search engine accounts for all avail cars.

        I know that I was looking for late model used car with manual and GTI, WRX and Mustang are those that you see in numbers. Lets say, for 1 Mazda3 I estimate 3 WRXs

  • avatar

    Of all of apples attributes, reliability is unlikely to rank high on anyone’s list. Their whole business model depends on a 2 year replacement cycle.

  • avatar

    This is so old…everyone who knows anything about the current product offerings from the various makers knows that VW rates their engines extremely conservatively…often making as much or more horsepower at the wheels as they are rated at the crank.

    There isn’t a dime’s worth of daylight between the accelerative performance of a GTI and a Focus ST, even though the Focus has 40-some more hp on paper. Similarly, there isn’t a dime’s worth of daylight between a Golf R and a Focus RS, even though the latter has 58 more horsepower on paper.

    And that’s with 6MT versions of the VWs…the DSG models are even faster.

    It’s a cultural thing…the German makes underrate their engines. How does a 3-series BMW with 330-something hp accelerate almost as quickly as a Mustang GT that has 100 more hp? Answer: it doesn’t have 100 more hp.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not Rocket Science, Fordson. The domestics understand that horsepower ratings sell cars, regardless of real world performance.

      Marketing 101.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’m happy with current power levels, but VW really needs a mechanical LSD in Golf R, don’t need a drift mode though. Just a bit of playfulness. Otherwise, I’ll stick w/ RWD and winter tires.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    VW really needs a mechanical LSD for the R,no top line performance car should have understeer.I’m happy with current power levels.

  • avatar

    Just bring the Sirocco over here already . Vee vant vedge , not ze box !

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Scoutdude: You don’t want to use that wrap stuff on your calipers, it says it is for wheels and accessories and...
  • Scoutdude: Back when we used to turn rotors instead of replace them it wasn’t uncommon to find “Jesus...
  • Peter Gazis: FreedMike The Pilot has more space. Becky wins!
  • Scoutdude: There are some premium calipers out there that are powder coated in the OE color if that was they way the...
  • Jeff Semenak: I bought a 2001 Olds Bravada used, in 2004. The most left Button under the Stereo was unmarked and, the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber