How much power will be enough for the Golf GTI Mk8?

Volkswagen just launched 2020 Golf Mk8, and by far, the biggest surprise is a hybrid GTE model that cranks out 242 horsepower. That’s more than the outgoing Golf GTI, rated at 227 horsepower in standard form and 242 horses with the Performance Pack. Now that the hybrid GTE is more potent than the regular GTI, is there a future for the GTI badge in the Mk8 lineup?

Volkswagen made a surprising move with the GTE

With the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTE rated at 242 horsepower, is there a future for the GTI? Exterior
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With 242 horsepower on tap, the GTE renders the current GTI almost useless

The GTE nameplate itself isn’t surprising. The Mk7 also had a hybrid that paired a 2.0-liter TSI engine with an electric motor. What’s surprising is Volkswagen’s decision to offer two GTE models, with a range-topping model that develops more oomph than the GTI. With 242 horsepower on tap, the GTE renders the current GTI almost useless and puts a lot of pressure on the badge for the Mk8 model.

Volkswagen could easily offer a brand-new GTI with around 250 horsepower, but it would be somewhat pointless with the GTE capable of 242 horses. Sure, the GTI comes with those nice red accents, a unique interior, and a sportier suspension setup, but the difference wouldn’t be massive. And even if hardcore fans would prefer the GTI over the GTE, some customers will probably migrate toward the hybrid to take advantage of the electric range and all the benefits that come with a hybrid. It sure seems like the GTI needs to enter a new era or die altogether.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk8 could be a lot more powerful

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI
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The best solution here is to transfer the 48-volt technology from the regular Golf into the GTI

One option is to pump notably more power into the next-generation Golf GTI. And by notably more, I mean push the horsepower rating to around 280. While this is totally doable with the existing engines — the Golf R cranks out 306 horses from a similar 2.0-liter unit — it would defeat the purpose of Volkswagen’s new electrified Golf range. The best solution here is to transfer the 48-volt technology from the regular Golf into the GTI.

Not only this would improve fuel economy, but it could also increase output. Volkswagen didn’t release much data about its 48-volt system and how much it contributes to the oomph equation, but we do know that the technology is quite capable. And it’s become common as well, with other automakers from the Volkswagen Group, including Audi and Porsche, offering it in various models. Volkswagen could pull a trick similar to what Mercedes-Benz did with the AMG E53 Sedan, which features a 48-volt system, called EQ Boost, that generates 22 horsepower and a whopping 184 pound-feet of twist. With such a device, the Golf GTI could easily surpass the 300 horsepower mark for short bursts.

With the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTE rated at 242 horsepower, is there a future for the GTI? Exterior
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With close to 300 horsepower, the GTI will probably be able to hit 60 mph in six seconds or less

The second option would be to use the 2.0-liter TSI with upgrades similar to the Golf R, but detune it a little bit for enhanced reliability.

With any of these options, the GTI will move well above the GTE in terms of both output and performance. With close to 300 horsepower, the GTI will probably be able to hit 60 mph in six seconds or less and set a new benchmark for the nameplate.

Needless to say, Volkswagen won’t let the GTI brand die, but a model that’s not notably more potent than the GTE would simply dilute the badge and upset quite a few enthusiasts. Let’s hope that this won’t happen.

The Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 should be even wilder

With the 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTE rated at 242 horsepower, is there a future for the GTI? Exterior
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The Golf R could go full hybrid and become an even more powerful version of the GTE

With the GTI set to climb a step on the performance ladder, the Golf R should also move up. The 2.0-liter TSI will continue to power this hatchback, but with never-before-seen output numbers. Again, the 48-volt system is a likely candidate here, and based on Volkswagen’s target output, it’s actually mandatory. With the outgoing model rated at 306 horsepower, the Golf R Mk8 needs to deliver in excess of 330 horses to make a difference.

But we could see a big twist here. The Golf R could go full hybrid and become an even more powerful version of the GTE. This would make things easier for Volkswagen, as a TSI engine and an electric motor could generate well in excess of 300 horsepower together. A 350-horsepower drivetrain is totally doable, and it would deliver solid performance while emitting less C02, consuming less gas, and providing at least 30 miles of all-electric range. A hybrid Golf R is actually an old rumor, so don’t be surprised is Volkswagen pulls it off for the Mk8 generation.

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