The Mark 8 version of the Volkswagen Golf GTI debuted in late February, and we were originally under the impression it would arrive as a 2021 model. However, new details surrounding its U.S. launch revealed that we’ll actually have to wait much longer to see VW’s latest hot hatch.
Instead of launching this year, the company announced on a conference call earlier this week that the GTI would instead launch as a 2022 model, along with the yet-to-debut Golf R. That means we’ll have one more year with the current Mk7.5 GTI before moving onto the all-new version.
It should be worth the wait
Fortunately, what’s come out of Wolfsburg on the new Volkswagen Golf GTI looks promising. Apart from the new styling, the iconic hot hatch is set to get a host of technological and performance upgrades as well. The latest version of VW’s 2.0-liter EA888 engine manages 245 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, from from 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque in the Mk7.5. A six-speed manual transmission still comes standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission will still be an option. A front limited-slip differential will be standard equipment, and VW is also fitting a new Vehicle Dynamics Management (VDM) system aims to help make this the most agile version yet.
Beyond the third quarter of 2021, it’s not immediately clear exactly when the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI will launch. However, it now seems like it will launch very closely to the Golf R. So when we do finally get the next-generation model, we should get both choices at the same time, which should please hot hatch enthusiasts all over the country. With a new generation, more tech and more power, we do expect a price bump (though not a huge one) from the current GTI.
Hein Schafer, VW’s senior VP of product marketing and strategy said, “I don’t want to put a number on the page, but I would probably guess that there’s going to be less than a 10 percent increase from Mark 7 to 8.” If that does end up being true, then the new Golf GTI could start at a touch over $30,000. Bear in mind, though, that those numbers are always subject to change and we have a long way to go before pricing is confirmed.
Nevertheless, while the wait is disappointing, 2021 will be a great year for hot hatches as Volkswagen ups its game for the next generation. Due to slow sales on our shores, the company will not offer its standard Mk8 Golf to American customers — just the GTI and Golf R.