New 290hp Volkswagen Golf GTI spotted

Russell Campbell
July 11, 2019

The eighth-generation of the world’s most famous (and most sensible) hot hatch – the Volkswagen Golf GTI – has been spied. Here’s everything you need to know.

News that a new Golf is on the way means only one thing – there will be a new GTI, too. And here it is, spotted undergoing final testing at Germany’s Nurburgring.

It may be an all-new model but all the vinyl wrap in the world can’t hide that this is a Golf GTI, thanks to the familiar two-box (bonnet and passenger compartment) body shape, simple lines and subtle styling kit. 

That said, it’s also easy to see where the changes have been made compared with the current car. Up front, the new GTI gets slim LED headlights with ‘W’ shaped daytime running lights. Hidden under the wrap, you can also expect to see a red trimmed-honeycomb grille with a GTI badge and a sporty front bumper underneath it.

Those muscular looks carry over to the sides of the car, where you’ll find side skirts, blistered wheel arches, big alloy wheels with uprated brakes and a boot mounted spoiler, you’ll also spot this car’s low ride height. Evident, in these hard-charging cornering shots, as the wheel tops dip into their arches.

Around the back of the GTI you can see a subtle rear bumper and a glimpse of the car’s new-look LED tail lights, which will likely be slimmer than the current car’s. As before, you get a single (real) exhaust pipe on both sides of the car.

Could that hint the new GTI will use a revised version of the current cars 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine? That’s the current thinking, anyway. The new GTI is tipped to be offered in two flavours – with 255 or 290hp. The latter getting it from 0-60mph in around 5.5 seconds with VW’s optional seven-speed, quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission in place of the manual six-speed gearbox.

Go for the 290hp model, rumoured to be called the TCR, and you can expect to get extra goodies. Goodies such as a limited-slip differential – that’ll make the Golf’s front tyres grip corners harder when you floor the throttle – and even more powerful brakes that are better suited to track days.

The new GTI’s biggest asset, however, will likely be its everyday usability. Based on the upcoming new Golf, you can expect it to get a significant infotainment upgrade over the current model – complete with a voice activation system like the Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa you can have at home. 

Interior space will also increase, to keep the Golf a size larger than the ballooning VW Polo. As a result, you can expect to get slightly more rear legroom and a tad more boot room than the already spacious current version.

Will it be enough to maintain the GTI’s status as the hot-hatch for discerning buyers? Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait another year – when the car’s expected launch – to find out.  

Keep an eye on the carwow news pages for more on the new GTI when we have it.