The Volkswagen Golf GTI Wasn’t The First Hot Hatchback By A Long Shot
Introduced in 1976 and produced continuously over eight generations as of 2021, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is arguably the world’s most famous and popular hot hatchback. The Golf GTI is often regarded as the world’s first hot hatch and the car that started it all, but it’s no true. There are at least four companies that unleashed performance-oriented hatchbacks before Volkswagen and this article will set the record straight.
2022 Volkswagen Golf R Variant
Performance and practicality are two words that rarely go together. More often than not we talk about the perfect compromise between the two, rather than the perfect blend. That doesn’t stop manufacturers from trying to give us the best performing version of a normal car.
Station wagons, in particular, seem to be making a comeback and currently, Volkswagen is rigorously testing a more practical version of its Golf R – the Variant. Regardless of which version we talk about, the people’s car from Germany has always been a good all-rounder, but does the Golf R Variant still has what it takes to compete?
Volkswagen Passat - Driven
Sometimes, a car needs a full redesign to address a fundamental flaw. Perhaps it’s too small, or too big. Maybe its styling is stale or unappealing. Or perhaps its platform can’t support modern needs.
The 2020 Passat has revised interior and exterior styling, more standard features, and an updated engine. That’s a cheaper set of changes than a full redesign, and Volkswagen is passing those savings on to the customer. Is that enough to excuse the Passat’s old bones? Or are you better off opting for a fresher competitor? Here’s what we learned from our time behind the wheel.
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTi Clubsport
For over 40 years the Golf has been defining and refining the hatchback formula. With generation eight, we get plenty of performance. And with the recent rise in performance in the hot hatch scene, the German brand had to bring a bigger gun in order to stay competitive. The Golf GTI Clubsport Mk8 is tailored specifically to the harsh terrain of the Nordschleife. Could they have made the ultimate hot hatch, or is it just an overly stiff grocery-getter? Let’s find out.
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 - The First VW ID To Arrive In The United States
The Volkswagen ID.4 – the first ID EV model to make its way to U.S. shores, has finally been revealed, and it looks to compete in a cut-throat segment. Riding on VW’s new MEB architecture, the same underpinnings that supports the ID.3 hatch, the ID.4 features an 82-kWh battery (77-kWh of which is usable) and a rear-mounted motor that’s good for 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. VW’s press release promises a range of 520 km or 323 miles on the WLTP scale, which boils down to about 250 miles of range per charge in the real world. To help ease the pain of range anxiety, however, the ID.4 will come with three years of unlimited charging. In a DC fast charger rated at 125 kW, VW claims that the ID.4 can suck in 198 miles worth of electricity in 30 minutes.
According to VW, the ID.4 is capable of hitting 62 mph (100 kph) in 8.5 seconds and tops out at just 99.41 mph. Come spring of 2021, VW will offer an AWD model that will boast a total of 302 horsepower, an extra 101 ponies coming from the front motor. Torque, we suspect will be somewhere in the 300 pound-foot range, but that is purely speculation at this point. VW’s new EV does offer up 8.26-inches (21 cm) of ground clearance, which is said to be enough to handle “gentle off-road terrain.”
The inside is fairly basic for an EV, but comes off as a decent blend between modern design and futuristic tech. A driver-oriented infotainment system sits atop the dash with a small horizontal screen providing basic driving information like speed, range, and the like. Luggage capacity is rated at 19.17 cubic-feet with max storage coming in at 55.62 cubic-feet. Overall, the ID.4 could bring quite the fight to models like the Hyundai Kona EV, Chevy Bolt, and Nissan Leaf, but only time will tell how successful it can really be.
2021 Volkswagen Arteon
At a time when the whole world is moving from sedans to crossovers and SUVs – much to the dismay of the car lovers – the Volkswagen Arteon comes as a knight in shining armor. The Arteon was launched as a successor of the Volkswagen Passat CC just three years back, and now VW has given it a mid-cycle refresh with a few tweaks on the outside and many changes on the inside. The German automaker is unearthing the R-Line variant, adding a plug-in trim, and also introducing a shooting brake body style.
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
The Mk. 8 Golf GTI TCR will build on top of an already amazing package to take things to the next level. As a model that’s more oriented toward the driver, it’ll feature a whopping 300 horsepower, all of which will be shunted through an eight-speed DCT. There’s no definite on-sale date as of yet, but it should launch in late 2020 as a 2021 model.
Update 5/12/2020: The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR was spotted in the wild with almost no camo. Check it out in our special “Spy Shots” section below!
2021 Volkswagen Arteon R
The Volkswagen Arteon came to our attention back in 2017, during its unveil at the Geneva Motor Show. Three years into the fastback-shaped sedan’s career, Volkswagen is planning to give the Arteon a well-deserved nip and tuck which would keep customer interest fresh and address the areas that needed further improvements.
With the refreshed Arteon, however, we’re expecting Volkswagen to introduce a spicier, more performance oriented version under its notorious R badge. Our suspicions are backed up by a recent set of spy shots that show a virtually undisguised test mule that wears a lot of R-specific features. Allow us to detail, then.
Update 4/29/2020: The Volkswagen Arteon R was spotted once again, this time sporting a look that represents the upcoming facelift and what we can expect from the new Arteon R. Check it out in our special Spy Shots section below!
2021 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8
Here it is, ladies and gentlemen! It’s been a long road to get to this point, but now we’re finally getting our first look at the next-generation 2021 Volkswagen Golf R. A test mule of the big daddy VW Golf R was recently spotted doing some test runs in the snow, and yes, this particular prototype is wearing nothing but fresh paint.
There’s no camouflage in sight, allowing us to see the next-generation car in all its glory. Specific details in the prototype present clear markings of the new Golf R’s DNA so unless Volkswagen has a surprise for us with a different Golf-based hot hatch, what we’re looking at here is the next-generation MK8 Golf R.
There’s no set timetable on when it’s expected to arrive, but with the just-as-new Golf GTI expected to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen could hold off the R’s debut for later in the year. Or it could join the Golf GTI in Geneva. Either way, the all-new Golf R is here.
2020 Volkswagen Touareg R
The 2020 Volkswagen Touareg R is a high-performance version of the familiar midsize SUV. Unveiled in February 2020, ahead of the Geneva Motor Show, the 2020 Touareg R is the first of its kind to boast an "R" badge. It’s also the first R model with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and the first range-topping variant of any Volkswagen nameplate to feature electrification.
The 2020 Touareg R also makes the Touareg the third VW nameplate to offer a hybrid model after the Golf and the Passat. Because Volkswagen no longer offers the Touareg in the United States, where it has been replaced by the Atlas, the Touareg R won’t cross the pond to North America. Let’s find out more about this SUV in the review below.
2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet
The 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet is a drop-top version of the company’s subcompact crossover. Launches two years after the coupe regular version, the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet isn’t just a T-Roc with a soft-top, it also features only two doors instead of four. What’s more, the soft-top has a sleeker design, so the Cabriolet looks sportier than its standard sibling. Inspired by the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet is Volkswagen’s only small convertible to date after the discontinuation of the Beetle.
The soft-top and the revised shape of the roof are the only features that set the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet apart from its standard sibling. The bodywork and the interior are similar, as is the technology package. They’re identical under the hood as well, although the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet doesn’t yet feature the more powerful gas engines. Volkswagen doesn’t offer diesel mills for this model either. Let’s find out more about this bold convertible in the review below.
2021 Volkswagen SMV
The 2021 Volkswagen SMV is a brand-new SUV that the German firm will unleash on the Chinese market sometime in 2020. Based on a concept vehicle unveiled at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, the SMV is slightly bigger than the Atlas, currently the company’s longest SUV.
Specifically, at 201 inches long the SMV is almost three inches longer than the Atlas, sold as the Teramont in China. The production model doesn’t have an official name yet, but it was spotted testing in cold weather in Sweden. But don’t get your hopes up, although Volkswagen is testing it in Europe, the SMV will be a China-only vehicle. Let’s find out more about it in the speculative review below.
2019 Volkswagen Golf GTi - Driven
We have been itching to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk. 8 and would really love to try out the yet-to-be-released Mk. 8 Golf GTi, but we’ve been told we still have to wait a while. To make things good, however, and hold us over, Volkswagen decided to send out an MK. 7 2019 Golf GTi and, while it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, we have to admit that the week we spent with it was beyond memorable.
As you can see from the photo gallery organized into the slider above and the page below, the Golf GTi, even in its older design, is quite the looker. It’s attractive from all angles, and the interior really gives you the feeling that you’re sitting in a proper hot hatch. The flat-bottom steering wheel and eight-inch infotainment displayed helped in the regard, but the overall fitment of the seats and materials put together one hell of a package.
The 2.0-liter turbo-four under the hood isn’t the most powerful four-cylinder on the block – the title is reserved for the Mercedes-AMG A45S – but it’s powerful enough to keep just about any enthusiast happy at 228 ponies and 258 pound-feet of torque. Volkswagen claims that’s good for a 5.7-second sprint to 60 mph, but we actually got there around one-tenth faster. More impressive than that is the fact that this baby is as nimble as can be. The 35.8-foot turning circle means it can turn on a dime (this is much better than both the Focus ST and i30 N that it competes with) while the 5.1-inch ride height feels like the sweet spot in terms of dealing with typical road conditions.
All told, our week with the Golf GTi isn’t one that we’ll forget, and we can’t wait to try out the MK.8 to see just how Volkswagen will manage to improve. Until that happens, though, you can enjoy our massive photo gallery. We’re busy putting together an in-depth review on the 2019 golf GTi, so be sure to check back in with us soon to learn the finer details!
2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk8 GTI
The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI may still be the most popular hot-hatchback out there, but it’s getting a bit long in the tooth after more than four years on the market. With Ford already working on a new-generation Focus ST, which will be significantly more powerful than the current Golf GTI, Volkswagen needs to roll out a new hatchback really soon. Fortunately, the Germans are already testing the next-generation Golf GTI, which is rumored to break cover sometime in 2019.
Not much is known about the upcoming performance hatchback, but it should borrow many design features seen on recently introduced Volkswagen models, including the sporty Arteon sedan. The company also promises a revolution inside the cabin, including a "total digital environment," according to design chief Klaus Bischoff. Set to use a revised version of the company’s MQB platform, it will also a new engine with power ratings of up to 250 horsepower. Let’s find out more about that in the speculative review below.
Updated 12/30/2019: The 2021 Volkswagen Golf MK8 GTI was caught doing some cold-weather testing with next to no camo and zero padding. Check out the new images and the latest details in our spy shots section below!
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept
Volkswagen will be in attendance at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show, and it’s bringing with it a host of tricked-out SUVs that are built for the American outdoors. Arguably the coolest of these concepts is the Atlas Adventure Concept. It looks the part of an SUV that can handle itself in the Nevada desert with the kind of ease you won’t see from a lot of SUVs offered at SEMA. It comes with a menu of unique equipment, including a clever housing accommodation setup that should make it comfortable for you and yours to enjoy a good night’s sleep under the stars. The Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept is one of three Atlas concepts that will be on display at Volkswagen’s booth in the world’s biggest aftermarket auto show.
2020 Volkswagen Golf
The 2020 Volkswagen Golf is the eighth-generation of the iconic hatchback. Unveiled in Wolfsburg, Germany, the company’s home town, the 2020 Golf Mk8 shares the same MQB platform as the third-generation Audi A3 and Seat Leon. An evolutionary design on the outside, the 2020 Golf looks similar to its predecessor but employs more angular styling features similar to larger Volkswagen cars and SUVs. The interior is a notable departure from the old car and sports a more upscale design and fresh technology. Under the hood, the 2020 Golf continues to offer gasoline and diesel engines, but Volkswagen started using 48-volt systems and now offers a higher performance hybrid.
Arguably the most advanced vehicle in its class, the 2020 comes with a major drawback: it will be notably more expensive than the competition. Actually, there’s a good chance that the 2020 Golf will be only marginally cheaper than the Audi A3 Sportback, which could become a serious issue for the German automaker. What’s more, the 2020 Golf won’t be sold in the U.S. in base trim, as Volkswagen confirmed that only the GTI and R models will cross the pond to North America.
2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
BMW has the X6 and X4, Mercedes-Benz the GLE and GLC Coupe, Audi created the Q8, and Porsche’s Cayenne Coupe is fresh off the press. So here comes Volkswagen, trumpeting its intentions to join the SUV-coupe craze with a sloping-roof design that uses the Atlas as a starting point.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the U.S.-only Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. Yes, it’s an SUV-coupe of sorts, because guess what: that’s precisely what was missing from VW’s stable, a model that belongs to the niche of a niche created to appease the buyer’s appetite for sloped-roof yet still high-riding SUVs that don’t require too much investment from the carmaker, which makes them the ultimate cash cow for whoever builds them. Obviously, the Atlas Cross Sport takes a lot after the on-sale-now VW Atlas, but as usual, there’s more than meets the eye. Let’s check it out.
2020 Volkswagen Golf 8 GTE
With Dieselgate still not just an ugly distant memory in the back of Volkswagen’s brain, Wolfsburg looks like it’s leading the electrification revolution in the car world, driven by the traction offered by the behemoth that is the Volkswagen Group. But Volkswagen, as a brand, irrespective of what its other sisters and brothers are doing, has become synonymous with electrification plans of all sorts.
This so-called offensive will ultimately rub off on VW’s future models. TheID.3 is already out of the bag, but for now, the company is busy at work preparing the new Golf 8 for debut. When that finally happens on October the 24th, the new Golf will also come as a mild-hybrid model, the first in its history, as well as in the shape of conventionally-powered versions (i.e., diesel and gasoline variants). What’s more, the VW Golf will also receive a plug-in hybrid iteration under the GTE moniker, but no e-Golf model - since the ID.3 is already here to cover the all-electric ground. So with the e-Golf out of the scene, we’ll focus on the new VW Golf 8 GTE, which was caught during pre-production tests by our spy photographers.
2020 Volkswagen ID.3
The 2020 Volkswagen ID.3 is an all-electric compact hatchback that the German automaker unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The 2020 ID.3 is the first Volkswagen based on the new MEB platform, which will underpin a full range of electric vehicles in the future. Heavily based on the ID Neo concept, the 2020 ID.3 is similar to the Volkswagen Golf in size, so it’s pretty much a replacement for the e-Golf.
A competitor for models like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, and Tesla Model 3, the 2020 Volkswagen ID.3 is available with three drivetrains that provide different outputs and mileage ratings. The range-topping model will deliver in excess of 200 horsepower and return more than 300 miles of range on a single charge. The 2020 ID.3 will cost less than €30,000 in Europe. Sadly, this EV won’t come to the United States. Let’s find out more about it in the detailed review below.
2020 Volkswagen ID.4
With an impending approach of the numerous Volkswagen ID electric cars, the spy photographers come into their own finally having a proper reason to film camouflaged Volkswagens. The latest that fell victim to a spy photographer’s lens is a curiously uncovered Volkswagen Tiguan. It was wheeling, silently, in nearly the same way as that Golf Sportsvan I wrote about earlier. As it turns out, this one famously hides the body of the next Volkswagen ID Crozz. It is definitely one of the most important electric vehicles that will appear in the next year or two, and this is essentially all that we know about it.
Update 08/11/2019: We spotted the Volkswagen ID Crozz testing with what we believe to be official metal. Check out our latest spy shots and what we’ve learned in our special spy shots section below!
2020 Volkswagen Golf Crossover
Volkswagen actively tests an all-new, raised Golf. We have seen it in Sweden in the winter, and even on the Nurburgring in May. While Volkswagen did not announce anything new in the Golf lineup, we may be surprised with a new Golf-based crossover, or an innovative, fresh, jacked up version of the popular hatchback. As Volkswagen actively seeks out new segments to sell its vehicles in, I can identify at least two market brackets where the new Golf-based crossover or just a jacked up hatch could play its part.
If you look closely at the Mercedes-Benz lineup, you can see that its entry-level crossover - the GLA - feels like a jacked-up version of the A-class. If Volkswagen creates something similar to it, based around the Golf’s basic shape and chassis, then it would be the only manufacturer in this very tight segment to offer a cheaper alternative to the GLA.
On the other hand, a raised Golf hatch might not be anything more than just a hatchback version of the upcoming Golf Alltrack. That car would directly compete with the cool Ford Focus Active!
If it comes to fruition, this alleged new five-seat crossover will sit between the T-Cross and the T-Roc within the Volkswagen lineup. Interestingly enough, Volkswagen did announce an all-new five-seat crossover at its media event earlier this year. This might well be it, and I would not be surprised if Germans transform slow-selling Golf Plus into a sort of a crossover.
2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0 Autobahn Driven
For 45 years, the Volkswagen Golf has proudly carried the compact hatchback flag for Volkswagen. For 45 years, the Golf has established itself as one of the most popular models in its segment. And for 45 years, the Golf continues to be one of VW’s most popular models. Generations have passed and versions have come and gone; through it all, the Golf name has remained front and center in the conversation on the best hatchback models in the market. That reputation has extended to the Golf’s sporty alter-ego, the GTI.
It’s no secret that the Golf GTI has evolved into a separate model with a separate identity from its Golf brethren. Need proof of that? Look no further than the 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn, the range-topping version of the current GTI line that proudly carries the name of Germany’s famous thoroughfare. Does the 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn live up to the billing as one of the finest sporty compact hatchbacks in the market today? More importantly, does it live up to the billing of the Golf name from where it traces its roots and the Autobahn from which it was named after? We got our hands on a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn seeking answers to these questions, and, for what it’s worth, our questions were answered emphatically.