By on May 14, 2020

Everyone’s favorite German warm (hottish?) hatch debuted in eight-generation guise early this year, enticing purists with a profile and performance envelope not too dissimilar from what came before. Perfect for VW diehards.

The only problem here is that, despite pent-up anticipation for the Mk8 GTI, America’s favorite Golf variant isn’t about to arrive anytime soon.

Per Road & Track, North American Golf product manager Meghan Closset told media on a conference call Wednesday that the next-gen GTI will take its time getting here from Europe, arriving likely in the third quarter of 2021 as a 2022 model.

That’s in keeping with the year-long delay seen with past GTIs, though it’s possible that complications of the coronavirus pandemic could push its boat trip further into the future. Time will tell.

As America isn’t expected to receive the base MK8 Golf, which debuted in Europe in October of last year, all future GTIs and Golf Rs are expected to come via Wolfsburg, Germany. VW’s Golf plant in Puebla, Mexico will, however, crank out a Mk7 GTI for the 2021 model year, tiding over the enthusiast crowd until its ever-so-slightly-enlarged successor arrives.

Boasting 245 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque (in Euro-spec form) from its upgraded 2.0-liter turbo inline-four, the next-gen GTI improves on the Mk7 GTI’s performance figures. The only controversial decision here would seem to be the car’s  honeycomb-style lower grille. As before, a six-speed manual comes standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic optional. U.S. specifications have yet to be released.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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32 Comments on “Mk8 Volkswagen GTI Hops a Slow Boat to U.S....”


  • avatar
    redapple

    I strongly prefer the 2 Door. Not offered any more.

    • 0 avatar
      Urlik

      Even Karen has stopped buying two doors unfortunately. Very few 5 seat two doors left out there any more.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      2 doors are the worst. Especially with a VW, where the lever to flip the goddamn seat forward is liable to come off in your hand. Glad to see it gone.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        I remember when there were no levers required to push the front seats forward to get out from the back seat. As teenagers we used to sit in the back and push the seatback forward to pin the guy riding shotgun against the dashboard.

        The first vehicle that I remember with a lever for the seatback was the VW Type IV. Ironically a friend broke it when getting out of the back after football practice, because we weren’t use to them.

        The Mark IV had automatic seat levers that ‘unlocked’ when the car was put into ‘park’. Again something that amazed us.

  • avatar

    So as usual, VW treats the US like a bother. Hold onto this old model another year, while everyone else has a new one. Oh yeah and most the lineup is not for you, just two expensive ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      I think they are reading the sales charts. The Jetta remains their entry level product. And with the Tarek due in the US, there is likely little sales to be had for the standard Golf hatch or wagon. Everyone is ceeding this market segment to Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia with Mazda trying to stay in the game.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      In fairness, Corey…

      1) Bringing the new GTI here a year after it’s on sale everywhere else allows them to work out some bugs. This IS VW we’re talking about here, so maybe there’s method to their madness.

      2) The non-GTI Golf has really dropped off the charts sales-wise, so I see why they dropped it. Shame, as it’s a great car (as you know), even if it’s a bit fussier to own than a Corolla.

      The “not for U.S.” VW model I can’t figure out is the T-Roc. Americans are clearly buying dinky-utes, but for some reason, they’re not bringing it here? Heck, I’d check the T-Roc out, and I’m not even remotely fond of that class of vehicle. Build it in Puebla, or in Tennessee – Lord knows they have plenty of leftover capacity from all those Passats that no one’s going to buy.

      Instead, they bring over the Arteon…because, Arteon, apparently?

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        I was at my local VW dealer last Sunday. They have a brand new Arteon on the lot, with a state inspection sticker that was applied in May 2019. The Arteon is definitely a hot seller!

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t like the “NA only” product approach they take with a lot of their stuff.

        They shot themselves in the foot offering discontented product while simultaneously making good/interesting product for Europe.

        The Arteon makes no sense when Audi exists.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Agreed, and the Arteon makes even less sense given that you can get the A5 sportback, which is a far better performer than the Arteon, for a few grand more new, or you can pick up a ’19 with 10k miles for about $35,000.

          I have no idea what they were thinking.

      • 0 avatar

        “work out some bugs”

        I am not sure that is the MO of VW.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    Is Canada expected to get the lower Golf offerings?

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      Yep, we’re getting the regular Golf as well.

      https://driving.ca/volkswagen/golf/auto-news/news/canadas-getting-vws-mk-8-golf-and-id-4-even-if-the-u-s-might-not

  • avatar
    Urlik

    Four days now and most visits to TTAC eventually redirect me to spam sites trying to get me to download malware. Can we get this fixed any time soon?

  • avatar
    2kriss2kross

    This is is why besides the decent success of the Atlas and Tiguan, VW lags in every other segment and is still a small player. They take too long to bring products here and if they do bring global VWs they decontent them to hell, limit trims and options, and charge prices way higher than average for their respective segment and for what you get. Otherwise, we’re saddled with watered down outdated and bloated “North American minded” specials (looking at you Passat).

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Kris:

      and then the real hassles begin.

      Bad quality begets many visits to dealers. Dealers service dept that are hassle filled nightmares.

      • 0 avatar
        2kriss2kross

        You bring up another important factor, the reliability. Owning a VW in North America is like playing Russian roulette while owning one everywhere else seems to be problem free and is typically seen as the benchmark and go-to brand. Another sign of VWs contempt for North America

        • 0 avatar
          Lichtronamo

          I’ve owned a Mk6 built in Germany and a Mk7 and Mk7.5 built in Mexico. With a total of almost 300,000 miles I’ve had 2 what I would consider to be extra-ordinary repairs, 1 on the Mk6 and 1 on the Mk7. Both were resolved with 1 trip to the dealer and at reasonable cost. I have no hesitation about buying another GTI when the Mk8 comes out. The Mk6 had the most miles at 130,000 miles when I got the next. Keeping them long-term is not a priority for me, which may be a consideration for others recognizing it is a German car.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I agree – I owned a ’17 Jetta that was pretty much flawless; my ’15 A3 has a ton of VW running gear and hasn’t been troublesome at all.

            Now, would I keep either of them for 200,000 miles and drive it to death like some Corolla drivers do? No. But I think this “VW is crap” mantra is outdated, to say the least.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Going on 3.5yrs on my MK7 GTI, not a single issue. Not so much as a squeak, rattle, or hint of oddness.

            I’m looking forward to trying out the new one, but I doubt I will trade mine in anytime soon unless it blows me away.

        • 0 avatar
          vwgolf420

          I’ve had a 2010 Golf that I drove for 8 1/2 years with 117,000 miles at the time I traded with never a single issue. I only traded because I wanted a new car and bought a 2019 Golf Sportwagen. 19,000 miles in and no problems. MKV, MKVI, and MKVII don’t seem to have had the abysmal record that MKIV had.

    • 0 avatar
      RayTo

      Right, just like the Bronco, the Supra and every other notable launch in the USA. Americans love to read and dream. Car manufacturers like to sell product.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I’ll be looking to replace my Mk7.5 with a Mk8. I was told by my dealer expect Spring 2021 availability.

    I have read elsewhere that there are no differences between the EU and US versions of the GTI, although it is unlikely we get versions like the TCR.

    That the US is 45% of GTI volume and 40% take the manual is interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’m surprised that it’s as high as 45%, but Europe also gets the Up and Polo GTIs as well, so that may satisfy some of the demand that would otherwise go to the Golf GTI.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’m not surprised that the US is nearly half of GTI volume – most “GTIs” in Europe have been “GTDs” for year and years. Not much slower, much more efficient.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The interior of this new GTI is waaayy too weird. No buttons, slider for volume control and a face that looks like it just ate a lemon.

    The current GTI, especially with tartan seats, is the high water mark. Kind of like how BMW’s 3 series from the early 2000s is still the best looking they’ve made.

    I can guarantee a way for VW to sell at least one more Arteon. For the R-Design, put the VR6 in it and offer up those tartan seats. You’re vw for chrissake… act like it! Offer options that no one else does.

  • avatar
    bobbysirhan

    I think they’ve taken their design stagnation a step too far. This just looks like a blobby flaccid shadow of what has come before.

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