Mk8 is Great: The Latest Version of the Iconic Volkswagen GTI is Here
When it comes iconic enthusiast vehicles of the modern era, few cars are more accomplished than Volkswagen's Golf GTI. Delivering a sublime balance of performance, build quality, practicality and affordability the GTI is often considered the ultimate daily driver— and it's a big deal whenever a new generation of the GTI comes around. Needless to say, there's been a a lot of excitement about the debut of the Mk8 GTI amidst the now-cancelled Geneva Motor Show.
Unlike some cars which constantly try to reinvent themselves, the GTI has always taken a more evolutionary path with its new models. The Mk8 looks to improve upon all the already-great Mk7 without departing too far from its look.
The look of the new GTI carries the same basic form as the Mk7, but a closer look reveals a number of cosmetic differences, most of which can also be found on the previously-announced Mk8 version of the standard Volkswagen Golf. GTI-specific touches include more aggressive fascias and the signature redline that goes across the front grille and headlights.
Under the hood, the Mk8 GTI gets the latest version of Volkswagen's tried and true 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It makes 242 hp for a solid bump over the current model's 228 horsepower. An even more performance-oriented version is expected to join the lineup with closer to 300 hp in the future.
While Volkswagen's dual clutch automatic is one of the best gearboxes in the business, the Mk8 GTI will still come standard with a six-speed manual with the seven-speed DSG being optional. We imagine it being hard to fault either choice.
As with the exterior, the interior of the Mk8 also gets fully modernized but retains all of the GTI's signature elements including plaid seats. A digital instrument cluster will also be standard on all GTI models.
The debut of the new GTI comes at a time of transition for Volkswagen as the company prepares for rollout of its new electric models and a time of booming SUV sales here in America. And while it looks like the regular versions of the Golf won't be sold in the SUV-crazed US market, both the Mk8 GTI and the yet to be unveiled Golf R will continue to be offered in the states. Pricing and specific details on the US market GTI should be revealed soon, with the car going on sale for the 2021 model year.
Here at Driving Line we are big fans of the Golf GTI and are looking forward to seeing how the Mk8 improves things. After spending some time behind the wheel of a Mk7 model and fitting with some basic upgrades, we found that it's possible to make a great hot hatch even hotter.
For more on that, you can check out our impressions of the Nitto NT05 tire on our 2017 GTI project car.