By on February 20, 2020

Denizens of the United States, you should forget about the word “Golf” and just focus on the “GTI” designation. That’s all you’ll really need to know about, what with Volkswagen opting to ditch the slow-selling Golf in favor of the hotter (GTI) and hottest (R) variants of its compact hatch.

The final inhabitants of a rejiggered U.S. product lineup have yet to be set in stone, but the GTO variant of the upcoming eighth-generation Golf is surely on its way. Today brought our first glimpse of the model.

Teased by VW in a cropped rendering of a “near-production concept car,” the next GTI is what you’d expect — a sportier take on the base Golf, retaining the same profile as its predecessor but gaining a tiny bit of size and a whole lot of tech.

Fog lights peek out from behind honeycomb mesh that fills the GTI’s expansive mouth, one which actually calls to mind Toyota’s Corolla. It looks like it’s ready to hoover up anything in its path, including, perhaps, your money. Above it, an LED light bar connects the slim headlamps to the center badge, ensuring instant nighttime recognition.

Never before have automakers been so adventurous with front-end lighting. That red stripe remains, thankfully, as the look-at-me light bar is an optional feature.

Due for a reveal at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the 2021 Golf GTI will offer a very digital experience behind the wheel. VW’s Digital Cockpit is “a completely digitalised interior landscape of displays and controls,” something youngsters will like and old-timer purists will surely loathe. See a preview of it here. VW’s Travel Assist driver-assist system will also make an appearance, offering lane holding and smart cruise at speeds of up to 210 km/h (130 mph).

As for the powertrain, Volkswagen had no specifics to give. All the automaker can say is that the “power delivery of the GTI turbo engine will exceed expectations. The same can be said of the running gear, which can be set precisely by the driver in conjunction with a new DCC generation (adaptive chassis control).”

The current-gen GTI hosts a turbocharged 2.0-liter making 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. Expect more grunt when the new one launches (beginning in Europe) in the second half of 2020.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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18 Comments on “Next-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI Teased...”

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Wonder if eventually we will see a cheaper “GTI” that looks like a GTI but performs remarkably similar to a Golf in other parts of the world but costs more here because GTI.

  • avatar

    Hope they hurry. Near a final decision on a Veloster N. I’m a former MK VI GTI owner so I’d be interested if it’s cool and has power near what the N offers. I’m doubting that but I’m open minded.

  • avatar

    I wish I could type the sound that is coming out of my mouth while looking at that face right now.

  • avatar

    What’s with this fad of front ends/grills looking like a “sh!t eating grin/grimace sitting on the toilet pinching off a constipated turd”…

  • avatar

    TMI maybe but I am over these minor updates. I stopped buying new phones every second year for the same reason: it’s a merry go round with limited advancements that needlessly ties discretionary money up. Phone and tablet sales have plummeted for this reason. Cars are getting a slight prod along ATM due to the disruption of Telsa but mostly it’s the same doling out a slightly improved product with slightly more fruit.

    I have the luxury of choice so instead of flicking my old Forester, it’s getting renewed and upgraded over time for perhaps 1/4 of the cost of a new one. With the savings I’ve bought an MX5 of similar vintage with a great enhancement pathway. It’s the kind of driving experience you can’t get in a hot hatch. I do get the attraction of a GTI, especially when you’re coming from an old sh!t box or space is seriously limited.

    • 0 avatar

      No one seems interested in making anything new and exciting anymore, the market is 65% front drive 4 cylinder crossovers, 15% front drive 4 cylinder cars, and 20% mainstays that are always at risk of being screwed up – very few exciting options have been introduced in the past 10 years.

  • avatar

    Honestly at this point I’m more curious to see what they will make in this size and performance range in the ID electric lineup.

    A 250-300 hp electric hot hatch with 200+ miles of range and Golf-sized interior space would have a good shot at my money when the Bolt is ready for replacement in 2024 or so.

  • avatar

    I’ll give one a go when it comes out. But it would have to completely blow me away to get me to trade my ’17 GTI Sport – which might have 24K on it by then. A “fully digital experience” is already a strike against it, and I sure don’t need to go any faster. But every generation of Golf has moved the game on a bit.

    That gaping maw is a rather Toyota-esque. Which is unfortunate.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought the same when I had a MkVI and test drive the MkVII. The MkVII.5 was enough of a move forward to get me again. I’m going into this just knowing I’m going to get the MkVIII.

  • avatar

    Angry cartoon character face. I’d still buy it.

  • avatar

    Lots of debate about the exterior looks on the GTI forums. This happens with every new generation – lots of people are aghast at how awful the new model looks to their eye. Then when it finally comes out, everybody more or less likes it. Same thing will probably happen here.

    What is NOT ok is the interior. It looks like it was designed 5 years ago (very possibly true), with the iPad-on-the-dash crummy infotainment screen setup, and capacitive controls EVERYWHERE – even the headlight switch is some over-complicated mess. Climate controls are via the touchscreen too. Apparently VW doesn’t realize that other carmakers have gone down this path, then retreated after customers protested. Or they know it but it was “too late” to go back and redesign the thing. The public reaction should be interesting. I predict an interior “fix” in short order, faster than the usual facelift comes along.

  • avatar

    I assume since the base models won’t be offered in the USA that these will be coming from Europe and not Hecho en Mexico?

  • avatar

    I wonder if the aforementioned base model will eventually be available with a diesel (meant sarcastically).

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