Flying in the face of electrification.
Now that the Beetle has a best-by date, the only major model that Volkswagen has to be very careful about screwing with is the Golf, particularly the Golf GTi. While cars have come and gone, the Golf GTi has always been a fixture in the lineup since its introduction, and while it had some missteps (we shudder at the thought of the Mk4), it’s since sharpened its game and remained true to form. Practical, versatile, and undeniably giggle-inducing. No wonder it’s so popular the world over.
With a new generation set to be ushered in in 2020, the Volkswagen Golf GTi was set to bring about some major changes. Outgoing VW boss Matthias Müller ordered that the 8th-generation Golf GTi feature electrification, aimed at improving the low-end response of the hot hatch. But new boss Herbert Diess has reversed that call, upending what was a surety up to as late as October 2018.
Instead of a revolutionary new driveline, the new Golf GTi will feature a heavily-reworked version of the current EA888 engine replete with its current transmission options. As part of that heavy reworking, the updated EA888 mill will likely put out considerably more than what it already does, though it’s suggested by Autocar that the majority of engineering time will be spent fine-tuning the steering feel.
The new Golf GTi won’t just carry over the powertrain, but also the platform. Moving into a new generation doesn’t necessitate a new platform, and the Mk8 will make use of an updated version of the current MQB platform. The Mk8 will also put a great emphasis on technology, with a digital cockpit complimented by a head-up display, as well as a larger central screen.