8 GTI will be the most impressive yet

Since the Geneva Motor Show was canceled for 2020, Volkswagen was forced to do a virtual debut for the 2020 Mk.8 Golf. During that stream, we learned about the Golf GTI, GTD, and GTE, but a lot of necessary information for the GTI was left shrouded in mystery. Now, despite the fact that the Mk.8 Golf GTI is still a year or so away from landing Stateside, VW company execs have spilled the beans and given us a little something to be excited about.

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI – A Closer Look

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is Faster On the Track Than the MK7 Golf GTI Performance Exterior
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The Mk.8 Golf GTI will carry around a new version of VW’s turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s good for 242 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque – an improvement of 14 horsepower and 15 pound-feet over the Mk.7 GTI. This is also about in line with what the GTI Performance of the last generation was able to deliver. There’s no word on the MK. 8 GTI Performance quite yet, but we still believe it will be good for around 287 horsepower when it launches a year after the base GTI. There’s also word that the Golf R Plus could breach the 400 horsepower mark thanks to a handy hybrid powertrain,, but that’s a story for another time.

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is Faster On the Track Than the MK7 Golf GTI Performance Exterior
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Back to the point at hand, the Mk.8 Golf GTI will deliver power via your choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed DSG automatic, both of which will be available across all trim levels. As far as the six-speed goes, you can thank the 40-percent of buyers that opted for the manual on the Mk.7, by the way.

Two big parts of the GTI’s improved performance fall on the limited-slip differential and the Vehicle Dynamics Manager.

The LSD isn’t really anything new, but the VDM is a big deal. It’s basically a performance computer that monitors the car’s major systems, including the active dampers, LSD, and steering several hundred times per second. It’s basically like vehicle stability control on crack. It can add braking force to certain wheels when needed, cut down roll stiffness, and quicken or tighten steering input, among other things, on-demand.

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is Faster On the Track Than the MK7 Golf GTI Performance Exterior
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While all of this helps the Mk.8 Golf GTI handle better than the Mk.7, it’s not all in the computer control.

VW revised the GTI’s suspension with new MacPherson front struts and a revised multi-link rear end. The springs and dampers were reconfigured, and a lighter aluminum subframe in the front end helps reduce unsprung weight.

Add in give new wheel options and the optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and the MK.8 GTI is set to be one hell of a hot hatch. So much so, in fact, that VW couldn’t help but express just how much better it is.

The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is Faster On the Track Than the MK7 Golf GTI Performance Exterior
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The company took the Mk.8 GTI configured exactly like the MK.7 GTI Performance to its test track in Germany. So, we’re talking about two cars with identical power output on identical tires, and as it turns out, the MK.8 GTI was four-seconds faster around the two-mile test track than the MK.7 GTI Performance. VW has said that the Mk.8 GTI will launch a the end of 2021 as a 2022 model in the United States.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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