New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI hits the Nurburgring
VW’s next-generation hot hatch is seen again in disguise being driven hard on the world’s most formidable circuit
Following the end-of-2019 reveal of the new Mk8 Golf, the new GTI is expected to be shown in the middle of 2020. It will receive a number of upgrades including more power, more advanced technology and a weight reduction.
Following the lower-speed shots earlier this week, the latest prototype shots show the camouflaged hot hatch at speed on the Green Hell – cocking a rear wheel as it negotiates the ‘small karussell’ corner.
The design adopts the familiar cues of previous GTI models to mark it out from the mainstream version, which we’ve already spotted without disguise. These include different front and rear bumpers with larger air intakes, chunkier wheels and tyres covering larger brakes, the familiar split dual-exit exhaust and a rear spoiler.
2020 VW Golf GTI: engine and powertrain:
In a reversal of original plans, Wolfsburg as decided not to make a more radical switch to hybrid power. Instead, the eighth-generation Golf GTI is set to stick with much of the hardware that has made the seventh-generation model such a success, both critically and commercially.
That means an updated version of the Audi-developed EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine used in the existing Mk7 Golf GTI. Again, like the current car, it will be offered with two power outputs: a standard output of around 252bhp and a more powerful 286bhp model badged TCR, which will replace the current Performance version of the GTI.
The TCR badge has been used for the first time on a run-out version of the current Mk7 Golf GTI and is designed to improve the link between the model and the firm’s GTI TCR racing car.
An increase in torque beyond the 258lb ft and 273lb ft of today’s two versions of the GTI is claimed to establish new levels of performance. In the case of the higher-spec model, it is said the 0-62mph time will be less than 6.0sec and the top speed 155mph. Gearbox choices will include carry-over versions of today’s six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch items.
As recently as last October, VW had planned to switch the Golf GTI to mild-hybrid power as the performance flagship of a new range of IQ-badged petrol-electric mild-hybrid models.
That system is also based around the EA888 engine, and is due to be revealed this year. However, it will not now be used on the Golf GTI, under the instruction of VW Group chairman Herbert Diess, who reversed the decision of his predecessor Matthias Müller.
The transversely mounted 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant will be mated to an electric motor and 48V electrical architecture. It is a set-up VW plans to mirror on the smaller 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel units to be used by the next Golf, due to receive a public debut towards the end of this year after being delayed from an expected Frankfurt debut in September.
The original plan had been to improve the Golf GTI’s low-end response with electric boosting. Additionally, the technology was to bring a coasting function that idles the engine on a trailing throttle and a recuperation system that harvests kinetic energy during braking. However, VW’s about-turn on hybrid technology should lead to a similar character to today’s car.
2020 VW Golf GTI: chassis and underpinnings
The new Golf GTI is underpinned by a further-developed version of the existing model’s MQB platform, featuring a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension in combination with adaptive damping control.
Engineers involved in the new car’s development say a lot of attention has been focused on steering accuracy. The electro-mechanical set-up of the outgoing model has been heavily reworked to provide it with added levels of feedback and a more direct ratio.
The GTI’s exterior styling isn’t likely be a major departure from what has gone before, but insiders have hinted that the car will have a more extrovert, aggressive look, most significantly around the front grille, which is expected to feature a deeper vent section, and new, slimmer front headlights that take advantage of the latest LED technology. Around the car’s rear wheels, enhanced shoulders are expected to give the car a sportier stance. Buyers will be restricted to just one bodystyle: a five-door hatchback. The three-door will no longer be produced.
Changes inside include a new digital cockpit with an optional head-up display unit and new switchgear, including a centre console featuring a stubby T-shaped gearlever for DSG-equipped versions.
The new GTI is also expected to follow the mainstream model and get a technical overhaul. Most significantly, this includes the integration of a new, larger central digital screen that will have some touch functionality, but also a new tactile control system designed to make the most common control adjustments easier.