The new VW Golf GTI 2021 starts to go on sale in Europe this second half of 2020 in the European market, and the tests being carried out by the European press point out that this is the best GTI ever.
The Golf GTI Mk8 comes with the 2.0 TSI EA-888, 245 hp engine, coupled with 7-speed DSG automatic transmission, capable of accelerating the hatch from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.
The Golf GTI, since the launch of the first model in 1976, has created the concept of a hot hatch – a sports car, to be used every day, and has since become an icon of a performance sports car.
In this 8th generation, the Golf GTI displays red details on the grille and throughout the cabin, and new features such as gear shifting system by push-button, 18-inch wheels, five-point fog lights and LED matrix headlights.
Under the bonnet, the new a new Golf GTI brings the 2.0-litre turbo engine with 245 hp and 370 Nm of torque.The aerodynamic drag coefficient has fallen from 0.3 to 0.275, but the top speed has remained electronically limited at 250 km/h. Equipped with the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission, the Golf GTI accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.
The GTI’s aesthetics include a large roof spoiler, unique wheels, wraparound front splitter, full-width black honeycomb lower air intake, subtle sill extensions, rear diffuser and twin exhausts.
In combination with the suspension, the wider tyres, this is clearly the best looking Golf Mk8 of them all.
The Golf GTI Mk8 project was not focused on power increase, so much so that the GTI Mk7 Performance already offered 245 hp. The progress was made in terms of drivability, which became smoother, but precise. This Golf GTI is a more complete sports car than the BMW M235i xDrive and the Mercedes-AMG A35. It remains to know how will be the new Audi S3, which shares the Golf platform.
Unlike some rivals, the GTI can only be purchased with front-wheel drive. This may cost a few tenths against the stopwatch, but in no way detracts from the remarkable driving pleasure, which clearly prioritises balance and engagement over speed, traction and grip. Although it shares a platform with the Mk7, the new GTI outperforms its forerunner on the 3,296-metre Ehra-Lessien track by a remarkable four seconds.
How did the GTI GTI achieve this?
For a start, the engineers recalibrated the springs (5% front, 15% rear), mounting points and bearings. To reduce some kilos and increase lateral rigidity at the same time, the steel rear chassis has been replaced by the aluminium item used in the GTI Clubsport S, while the wheels have been redesigned. VW still charges extra for the mandatory adaptive damping, which is acting even faster now, thanks to a major software boost.
Perhaps the main improvement is the so-called Driving Dynamics Manager, which integrates all stability systems and the electronic differential. A wet clutch directs torque to the wheel that needs it most, virtually eliminating understeer. To get the car to follow the chosen line, more power is gradually transmitted to the outside front wheel, a move that rapidly reduces the cornering radius and thus the tendency to widen the curve. If necessary, the inside wheel is decelerated simultaneously for a subtle attitude .
Controlled by the Driving Dynamics Manager, Dynamic Chassis Control also suppresses body roll, accelerates steering response and – in combination with the XDS differential – ensures predominantly neutral cornering style, even when pressed.
Those looking for more excitement simply press the Sport button, which appropriately increases the lock rate to improve traction while pre-charging the differential for a more emphatic throttle response. In just 2.1 laps from stop to stop, the variable-rate progressive power steering feels extremely agile when changing direction, while being totally at ease in the forward position.
In addition to the standard DNA spectrum, which ranges from Comfort to Sport, the two extremes can be further extended at some points to SuperComfort and MegaSport.
The first things you notice when you get into the 2021 GTI are the stubby transmission drive selector, the three-spoke steering wheel full of shiny things to do with your fingers and the well-integrated touchscreen.
Start the engine and check out the redesigned digital instrumentation, which offers three different views.
Few physical buttons remain. To deactivate ESP and put dampers in Sport mode you have to dive into sub-menus of the infotainment system.
This is considered by the European press to be the best Golf GTI since the first generation.
It’s fast, but not absurdly fast, and has an extensive range of talents: smooth and quick dynamic behaviour, and, as always, driving pleasure.