As before, the new GTI draws its urge from a version of VW’s familiar EA888 engine. Here, though, the turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit has been tuned to deliver 180 kW (up from the SA-spec Golf 7 GTI’s peak output of 169 kW and confirming earlier rumours) and 370 N.m (some 20 N.m more than the outgoing model). Figures for the TCR/Clubsport variant have yet to be released.
Transmission options include a six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed dual-clutch cog-swapper, although we expect only the latter to 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.
As before, the MQB-based GTI's suspension comprises MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, with a 15 mm lower ride height than the standard Golf. Interestingly, a new driving dynamics control system dubbed the “vehicle dynamics manager” has been added to the mix, regulating both the electronic differential lock function and the lateral dynamics components of the optional regulated dampers.
And styling? Well, VW says the GTI’s standard LED headlamps are positioned low down than before and form a crossbar with the illuminated grille. A red line spans the leading edge of the bonnet, while below there’s a large, one-piece lower air-intake grille in a honeycomb pattern. Those X-shape foglamps integrated into the air-intake grille, though, are optional (in Europe, at least).
The new GTI will ship standard on 17-inch Richmond alloy wheels, while items measuring 18 or 19 inches in diameter will be optionally available. The brake callipers are again painted red, featuring “GTI” logos, with the lettering repeated on the front wing.
At the rear, you’ll find standard LED taillamps, with the “GTI” lettering now positioned centrally below the VW logo (and no "Golf" badging at all). The subtle roof spoiler extends rearwards and merges with the black edging round the rear window, while a diffuser (bearing a tailpipe on either side) further distinguishes the GTI.
Inside, you’ll notice the sports steering wheel (featuring three silver double-spokes, a recessed Wolfsburg emblem and touch controls), a black “golf ball” gear knob (for the manual model, anyway) and GTI seats in tartan with black side bolsters. There’s also VW’s 10,25-inch digital cockpit and a 10-inch touchscreen.
See Full Volkswagen Golf price and specs here