VW Ditching Manual Transmission in GTI

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Pour one out for yet another sporty car being denuded of its manual transmission. According to reps at Volkswagen, 2024 will be the final year of three-pedal production for the Golf GTI and Golf R.

We’re gearheads like you, explaining why we are trying to read between every single line of VW’s announcement to see if they’re giving themselves an out or leaving any doors open for the return of a stick in these models. While slim, we suppose the GTI and R could be reincarnated with a manual ‘box under new trim names – but we know that’s a reach, at best. All hands seem bullish on an all-electric future and, as we well know, three pedals are on the endangered species list.

As for the car in these pictures, VW is calling it the GTI 380. It is made up of a special equipment set that’s standard on every 2024 manual-transmission GTI and is available exclusively in the North American market.

“The GTI 380 conveys our appreciation for the enthusiasts who have continually demonstrated their love for the manual-equipped GTI for over four decades,” said Petar Danilovic, Senior Vice President of Product Marketing & Strategy for Volkswagen of America.

Erm, yes. Y’all could convey that appreciation by continuing to build the thing with a stick. We understand DSG-equipped variants can post better numbers than ones fitted with a manual – but there are occasions in which a car is more than its boilerplate numbers. Cars like the GTI thrive on driver engagement; giving up a couple of tenths in the run to 60 mph in exchange for a date with three pedals on a twisty mountain road is an exchange many gearheads are glad to make.

Anyway, the 380 designation comes from the Mk8’s internal model code and is a nod to the GTI 337 special edition, sold in 2002, which borrowed its name from the Mk1 GTI internal designation. This time around, the model grabs a set of wheels from the Golf R 20th Anniversary car and wraps them in sticky summer rubber, paints its roof and other sundries in gloss black, and then shows up for duty in one of seven available paint colors. So far as we can tell, there are no performance adders other than the tires, though such rolling stock may help cornering and braking measures.

As with the rest of the 2024 Golf GTI lineup, GTI 380 trims are powered by a turbocharged 2.0L making 241 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft of torque. Putting a nail in the coffin, VW goes on to note “this model is the last Golf GTI to be offered with a 6-speed manual, while the 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission will carry forward on future GTI models and on the Golf R.”

The 2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI 380 goes on sale this autumn with a starting MSRP of $32,485 for the GTI 380 S. Add about five large if you want the SE, while the top-tier Autobahn trims will carry a sticker of $40,625.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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5 of 48 comments
  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Aug 31, 2023

    Relevant to this story is the delay in getting a car. I don't know what GTI delays are like, but I ordered an R a little more than two years ago and have been waiting ever since. The good news is that I got a call yesterday that my car is on a dock in Germany and should be here by mid-October. 😁 My point is that if someone who has been sitting on the fence on a GTI and decides to order one now to get the manual transmission, they may be out of luck if GTI wait times are anything like R wait times.

    • See 1 previous
    • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Sep 01, 2023

      Matzel - Yes, I'm in Saint John, NB. Where are you?

      18 months seems a bit optimistic given my 26 month wait, but it could be that VW has supply issues worked out and the line is running better now. Also, I could have shortened my wait by a couple of months as I was offered the only 20th Anniversary R that the dealer was getting. It was black, which I was fine with (mine is blue) but the deal-breaker was the DSG transmission. Yes, it's a great transmission, but I'm not willing to give up a manual just yet. As for the interior, I'm a bit worried about the haptic controls. But when I look at what I use in my GLI, it isn't much. I hit "auto" on the HVAC and maybe adjust the temperature occasionally. Heat or ventilation on the seat occasionally too. My phone is paired to the stereo and I use Spotify for everything. I've never had the radio on a channel. I've never used the GPS. I adjusted the settings to Sport when I took delivery and they haven't changed since. So I'm hoping that since I won't be interacting with much in the car that I'll get used to the few things that I do use.

  • Glennbk Glennbk on Aug 31, 2023

    VW is grasping at every last way to reduce cost. Manual transmission happens to be the last big choice to go. Removing physical buttons will help equally whether left or right drive. Performance hatches (GTI or Type R) and SUVs the last hugely popular VWs in America.

    • Matzel Matzel on Sep 01, 2023

      Performance hatches and SUVs are the only vehicles VW currently offers in North America. 🤨

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  • Arthur Dailey No.
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