A high-ranking Volkswagen executive says there were two reasons the Wolfsburg-based firm opted not to go the hybrid route with the new Golf 8 GTI.

While earlier reports suggested VW would equip with eighth-generation Golf GTI with a 48 V mild-hybrid system – seemingly as part of its push to meet stricter emissions regulations in Europe – it ended up going with an unelectrified evolution of the familiar EA888 turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder unit.

Matthias Rabe, chief technology officer at VW, explained the reasoning to Autocar.

“I like the Golf 1,5 TSI with the mild hybrid, and you feel the low-end torque. But it adds weight, and you don’t need the extra torque on the 2,0 TSI engine. It doesn’t give you much at the high end for a performance car,” he said.

“In the future, we will have lots of mild hybrids to lower fuel consumption, but on the sporty side you will see combustion engines with new refinements, or you go to plug-in hybrid [such as the new Golf 8 GTE] or electric,” Rabe added.

He went on to say he believed “we will have the internal combustion engine in parallel with plug-in hybrid cars for a long time”.

“Therefore, the hot hatch will continue.”

As a reminder, the four-pot now delivers 180 kW and 370 N.m. Transmission options include a six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed dual-clutch cog-swapper, although only the latter will be offered when the front-driven Golf 8 GTI arrives in South Africa towards the end of 2020.

Interestingly, VW says the DSG is now shift-by-wire in configuration, resulting in quicker gear changes. The Wolfsburg-based automaker has yet to reveal a claimed zero to 100 km/h sprint time but it should be a tenth or two quicker than the outgoing DSG version’s 6,4 seconds.