New VW Golf GTI confirmed for Geneva motor show
Mk8 Golf GTI is one of four hot Golfs launching this year, alongside GTD, GTE and R models
The highly anticipated, eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI will be revealed at Geneva motor show in March, the car maker has confirmed.
The transformation from regular Golf to GTI is likely to be as subtly handled as previous variants. It will include the usual dual-exit tailpipes, red brake calipers, chunky air intakes and a bodykit extending around the lower portion of the car.
2020 VW Golf GTI: engine and powertrain:
In a reversal of original plans, Wolfsburg has 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 242bhp and a more powerful 287bhp model, which will replace the MK7 Performance version.
Although it was previously thought that the latter variant would wear the TCR badge, VW’s decision to leave the racing series as part of its plans to end all combustion-engined motorsport means it will go by the Clubsport name instead.
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 late 2018, 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. However, it will not 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 setup that VW plans to mirror on the smaller 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel units used on the new Mk8 Golf.
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 the new GTI having 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, using 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.
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.
GTE, GTD and R variants: what do we know so far
A performance increase for the GTI is necessary to ensure that it occupies a performance level above the new GTE, revealed at the same time as the standard Golf.
That model’s 242bhp comes from a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine combined with an electric motor, with a lower-powered 201bhp variant expected at a later date. It makes use of a 13kWh battery that allows up to 43 miles of zero-emissions range, and can be taken up to 87mph without any assistance from the engine. Performance figures are yet to be detailed, however, as are economy figures.
Details of the GTD are even more scarce. We know it will use a variant of the Group’s well-established 2.0-litre diesel engine with mild-hybrid tech, but a power output is unconfirmed. The previous variant made 181bhp and 280lb ft of torque, with both figures likely to be improved upon. The mild hybrid system should ensure even better economy, too.
The R is again likely to use a heavily boosted EA888 motor with at least 300bhp in entry-level form, mated to all-wheel drive. Insiders suggest a range-topping R Plus is still on the cards, albeit with around 350bhp rather than the previously rumoured 400bhp.