More details have been unveiled about one of the most iconic hot hatches ever and there’s a lot to get excited about with the 2022 Volkswagen GTI. The eighth-generation GTI will arrive in Canada next year, though Europeans will get it on their roads later in 2020.
Here are a few things GTI fans can look forward to.
Improved Driving Dynamics
The GTI’s buttoned-down driving dynamics have always been its calling card and it wouldn’t be right if VW introduced a new version without making it even better. Although the GTI already sets a high benchmark for hot hatches, the competition is quite stiff. The current GTI is undeniably good — it’s poised and confident — but it’s not the most engaging or personality-driven performance car. Volkswagen says it made extra efforts to make the GTI more fun without compromising performance.
VW says tweaks to the chassis and suspension have increased precision and stability while providing better traction and more agile handling. Enhancements have also been made to the steering to make it more direct and engaging, and the brakes are now more responsive and powerful.
The 2022 Volkswagen GTI will be powered by the German brand’s heroic turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine. Horsepower has increased to 242 from 228 and torque now stands at 273 lb-ft, up from 258, though final North American figures have yet to be released.
Of course, a six-speed manual transmission will be standard and a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission with paddle shifters is optional. Volkswagen said that about 40 per cent of drivers who bought the seventh-generation GTI and Golf R opted for a manual. The GTI gets a new shift-by-wire system for the automatic, which frees up room on the centre console.
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Although lighting isn’t the selling feature many driving enthusiasts are lining up for, the redesigned GTI has some unique lighting elements that give it an upscale and futuristic look. The hatchback will get an illuminated grille for the first time, a design element that Volkswagen will incorporate into other cars in its lineup. The light strip spans the entire width of the front, sitting above the headlights and meeting at the VW emblem.
New standard fog lights are also a defining design feature with five lights on each side, neatly integrating into the GTI’s honeycomb grille. The GTI also gets new puddle lights on its side mirrors that will illuminate as you approach the car and 30 different ambient interior lighting colours.
VW is adamant that the new GTI will be the leader in terms of features and technology among its competitors. Along with the regular suite of standard safety and driver assistance features, the new GTI will get a standard 10.25-inch digital dashboard, a heated leather steering wheel, and more. The dashboard is a “complete digital environment,” meaning there are barely any buttons inside, so the look is uncluttered and focused. The new steering wheel also gets touch controls and perforated leather.
Optional extras include a big 10-inch touchscreen, a head-up display that projects onto the windshield, a Harman Kardon sound system, ventilated leather seats for the first time, 19-inch wheels, and more.
The GTI is still built in Wolfsburg, Germany. The U.S. will only be getting the GTI and the Golf R for its eighth generation, but Canada will be getting the base Golf. In terms of the GTI, only the five-door GTI will be offered here, as the take rate for the three-door hatch was too low. And although an electrified GTE is available in other parts of the world, it will not be offered in North America. Fuel economy has not yet been announced, and VW expects the price of the new GTI to increase by no more than 10 per cent over the seventh-generation model, which makes sense considering all the new standard features.
[This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the base model of the eighth-generation Golf will be available in Canada.]