Volkswagen Golf GTI Review
The Golf GTI is expected to be a great all-rounder – fast enough to be great fun, sensible enough to drive every day comfortably. But the next Golf R will be even faster when it goes on sale later.
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This is the latest in the Volkswagen Golf GTI dynasty, and it continues the ‘superb all-rounder’ game that it has mastered throughout the generations.
The new Mark 8 VW Golf GTI looks like a regular Golf after a trip to JD Sports. It has lowered suspension and a black grille with some cool LED daytime running lights. There are also lots of GTI badges about the place and a bunch of contrasting red stripes – just like the original Mk1 from the seventies.
Meanwhile, the interior of the new Mk8 Golf is a great place to start for the GTI, because it’s all very minimalist and classy, with few buttons and fiddly details. The GTI has a sportier steering wheel with some bright red bits, plenty of sporty contrasting stitching, and sports seats with chequered trim.
There’s also mood lighting with 30 customisable colours, and there’s even a funky start button that pulses red before you start the engine.
An 8-inch infotainment system and a 10-inch digital driver’s display are both standard but you can pay extra to get a pair of 10-inch screens instead. Both displays come with GTI-specific graphics and you can customise the driver’s display using buttons on the steering wheel. You also have the option ability to control lots of the car’s features using voice commands – just as you can in the standard Golf.
It's a successful formula - take the very good standard Golf and make it a look a bit cooler and drive a bit faster. The GTI-specific graphics for the infotainment system is a classy touch
Under the bonnet lies a 245hp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which also produces 370Nm of torque. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox is also available. This gets the same shift-by-wire controls as the standard Golf, so you use a tiny switch to change gear instead of a big mechanical lever. Or you can use the paddles on the steering wheel – whichever you prefer.
The power output is the same as the Performance Pack version of the old Golf GTI, and allows the DSG-equipped car to complete the 0-62mph sprint in 6.2 seconds. Both manual and automatic models reach a top speed of 155mph.
Just like the old Golf GTI, the Mk8 is front-wheel drive. It also gets independent suspension all-round, which should help it feel agile through the corners. You can also pay extra to have it fitted with adaptive dampers. These let you stiffen everything up for hooning down country roads and soften the ride for cruising home on the motorway.
You can personalise these settings through the infotainment system, too. So you can fine-tune your favourite setup and save it for later.
You can get the VW Golf GTi with an optional driver-assistance pack called IQ.DRIVE. This beefs-up the standard Golf’s adaptive cruise control so it can accelerate, brake and steer for you at up to 130mph. This might be a God-send if you spend hours cruising up and down the autobahn, but in the UK the normal adaptive cruise control will probably do you just fine.
Tap below to watch the top 10 things you need to know about the Mark 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI.
We can’t wait to drive it, and will let you know what it’s like as soon as we do. The new VW Golf GTI is now on sale in the UK now. It costs from £33,460 for a six-speed manual model and £34,960 for a model with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. Check out our latest Volkswagen Golf deals to see how much you could save.