Volkswagen’s technical chief says the freshly revealed Golf 8 GTI is “more GTI than its predecessor”, suggesting the eighth-generation version is truer to the badge than the one that went before it.

Speaking to Autocar after the reveal of the new Golf GTI, Matthias Rabe, chief technology officer at the Wolfsburg-based firm, promised fans would “feel it when you drive it”.

“The Golf 8 is a big step from the Golf 7 and the step forward we took with the new GTI is bigger than with the normal Golf,” Rabe told the British publication.

“It was very important for us to ensure we made the GTI a perfect car for everyday use, but one that was still a true sporty car.

“The new car will be more GTI than its predecessor, and not only from the looks; you will feel it when you drive it,” he promised.

Rabe told Autocar it was “important to get the car to reach the fans”.

“We can talk very openly: looking back four Golf generations ago, the GTI was like a trim line, and then Volkswagen decided to get it back to the GTI. The GTI is a special car that makes your heart beat faster. I can promise that you will love this car,” he added.

As a reminder, the new GTI draws its urge from a version of VW’s familiar EA888 engine. The turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit 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.