By on February 4, 2019

2018 Volkswagen GTI front quarter

Volkswagen has big plans for mild hybrid powertrains and fully electric vehicles, but the perpetually popular Golf GTI’s successor won’t be a point of contention for motoring purists. That’s because VW has reportedly pulled a screeching U-turn on that model’s electrification.

According to Autocar, the eighth-generation Golf’s hot (but not hottest) hatch variant won’t go the hybrid route. Instead, company engineers have concerned themselves with incremental improvements over the current model. No electro-mobility here; just fun hatch. 

Slated for an early 2020 debut, the upcoming GTI was originally expected to bow with a mild hybrid setup allowing a touch of gas-free boost during acceleration and fuel-free coasting. In that hypothetical model’s wake, the Mk8 GTI forgoes electric assist in favor of an updated 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, mated to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2018 Volkswagen GTI rear quarter

America’s current GTI generates 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft; Autocar claims outputs of 252 and 286 hp for the European market come 2020, with the latter version of the engine appearing in a TCR-badged version of the car. Standard torque rises to 273 lb-ft, the publication states, which is only 7 lb-ft less than today’s top-flight Golf R.

The about-face is apparently the doing of VW Group boss Herbert Diess, who scrapped plans put in place by his predecessor, Matthias Müller. Mild hybrids are still on the way, just not for the GTI. Eighth-generation Golfs will see a 1.5-liter mild hybrid setup.

Offered only as a five-door, the upcoming GTI adopts an upgraded version of the MQB platform and, reportedly, more aggressive front end styling. Engineers are said to be going to town on the car’s steering in the hopes of improving feedback.

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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27 Comments on “Weirded Out by the Idea of a Golf GTI Mild Hybrid? You May Have Been Worrying for Nothing...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hmmm. So…a hybrid car has to be some “electrified mobility” transport pod, eh?

    Google “Ferrari LaFerrari” or “Porsche 918” and let me know what you come up with.

    No one should be afraid of tech that makes a car go faster, people. Geez.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’m more afraid of tech that makes the car go more expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I don’t want the car to get any heavier, either.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          It doesn’t always mean the car is going to be heavier. Designs like the Regera eliminate the transmission using direct-drive for the ICE and effectively replacing the lower gears with the electric motors. Electric from zero to the speed where the top gear would be engaged, then it’s ICE + electric driving the wheels. Porsche owns 10% (I think?) of Rimac which designed the system for Koenigsegg, so it’s possible.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The Regera weighs 374 lbs more than the non-hybrid version. That’s a car built with cost-no-object materials by a perfectionist organization, not something approved at every step by an accountant.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      Yes, hybrids are boring soulless mobility pods. The cars you cited only illustrate that any point can be proven if you’re willing to drop bazillions of dollars in doing so. No hybrid that’s affordable to ‘real’ people will be anything but a mobility device. Even the ‘performance’ electrics are still 2-3 times the cost of an ICE that performs comparably and they can’t hope to offer the visceral experience, simplicity or the platform for upgrades that enthusiasts want.

      My prediction is this: just like front wheel drive was ‘the fyoo-churrr’ in the ‘80s, and rwd V8’s were going to get swept aside for eternity…that was false. Electrics ‘performance cars’ will come about, just like fwd performance cars, and they’ll be a flash in the pan just the same. Electric and hybrid mobility pods will eventually take over for the mainstream boring vanilla appliances. As that sterile and coma-inducing experience becomes commonplace for the ‘normies’, people with the means and desire for old school performance will vote with their wallets for ‘real’ cars.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “just like fwd performance cars, and they’ll be a flash in the pan just the same.”

        You know this is an article about the GTI, right?

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          Yes, it’s one of the last of the genre. Fwd works great on small hatches/coupes with boosted 4’s. The GTI is great for what it is, but it’s not on the level of your more powerful rwd platforms. That’s what I’m getting at.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Not everyone is wed to 50 year old definitions of performance cars in a strictly American context

            I.e. huge boats with horsepower beyond their drivers’ capabilities.

            Not to mention the GTI is only ~10 years younger than those boats and hasn’t been in and out of production like them.

            I like RWD and have owned a couple of RWD cars but the notion that FWD can’t be fun, or the only truly fun cars are basically big V8 penis extensions is silly.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “a strictly American context”
            FWD cars can be fine, but this is not accurate at all.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            No, the GTI is not one of the “last of the genre.”

            No, not everyone wants a V-8 powered muscle car, cool as they are.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      Google “Ferrari LaFerrari” or “Porsche 918” and let me know what you come up with.

      I think car entusiasts would rather drive an F40 or Carrera GT then either of those two electric-assist vehicles. So, google all four of those cars and see which 2 have far more written about them.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I agree on an intellectual level, but compared to an ECU flash to bring the power of the same EA888 engine up to Audi A4 levels (252 hp) or just a tiny amount more, a lot less money is spent and resources saved – no rare elements for electric motor magnets, no electric motor itself, no heavy wiring, and no cobalt and lithium for a battery. Plus no eating into the tiny luggage space VW enthusiasts keep touting as fantastic and no weight addition for all those extra components either.

    • 0 avatar
      vehic1

      If this was “mild” hybrid, however – would the additional components need to be every bit as heavy as with a full hybrid? Would the fuel tank need to be quite as large, with some range coming from the electric motor?

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Bring the GTE!

  • avatar
    gasser

    So no more 3 door hatches for GTI???????

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Sounds like it. Hilarious. They really are trying to chase away enthusiasts with a big stick.

      • 0 avatar
        vehic1

        Right – they were making big money on the high demand for those 3-doors, but decided to be mean cusses to enthusiasts, and give up that profit.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        What was the take rate on the 3 door? Choice is great, but I’ve never really understood the 3 door. The brilliance of the GTI is as an all rounder where it’s quite good at all things. One of those is putting people in the back. The proportions of the 2 door have always been a bit goofy to me with MK7 also.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      They stopped selling those in the US after the 2016 model year anyway. They’ve crossed that river already.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If people bought enough of them they wouldn’t have stopped selling them. Objectively the 3 door is inferior in every way. That is money better spent elsewhere in the car.

  • avatar
    z9

    When I put my Audi A3 e-tron’s transmission into “sport” mode it combines the electric motor and the engine. Working with the DSG this creates an incredibly entertaining drive in which the motor compensates for the power delivery shortcomings of the 1.4 liter engine. A similar setup is used in the BMW i8. Sure it’s probably complicated (and this particular iteration, not long for this world apparently) but on the level of fun it is a win. So I hope VW does not give up on this project.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    A hybrid GTI shouldn’t wear the GTI badge.

    It should be a GTH. That’ll sell.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I think it could be a good thing, especially if they paired it with a VR6 rather than the 2.0T. Hopefully they do that with the next R.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “No electro-mobility here; just fun hatch. ”

    You act as if the two concepts are mutually exclusive.

    They’re not.

    The GTI has, and will continue to have, automated start/stop, for instance. So it needs more power for that. Adding a bit more in there for other things, including a small boost off the line, is easy and relatively cheap–and does nothing to take the car down in stature, other than in the minds of those who think “hurr durr, electric bad, must have giganto cylinders gulping air and fuel at all times”.

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