The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf will be revealed sometime later this year, and with the marque also being on the verge of great change with the simultaneous debut of its first bespoke mainstream electric car, the ID.3, it’s great to see that fans more into tartan than techno fabrics will still be catered for with the next-generation Golf GTI, spied here for the first time.
The prototype here is undeniably a GTI with the tell-tale design elements such as the honeycomb grille, twin exhaust outlets and more aggressive rear spoiler all laying bare the sporty nature hiding underneath the swirly wrap. The wheels on this specific prototype have been borrowed from the current-generation Golf R, alluding to a 19-inch wheel and tyre package that is likely to be standard, if not a definite option.
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Despite the threat of widespread mass-hybridisation within the Volkswagen Group, the Mk8 Golf GTI will likely retain its 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, and instead include possible mild-hybrid assistance, perhaps in the form of the 12V system as seen in the recent Audi A4 TFSI with which it shares its engine. This system is designed to ‘trim’ the petrol engine’s outputs, by recuperating energy and deploying it back into the electrical systems rather than directly assisting drive as in other mild-hybrids. Volkswagen is also expected to keep hold of the six-speed manual transmission, although the dual-clutch automatic is expected to make up a majority of sales. Specific power figures remain unconfirmed at this point, but we suspect Volkswagen will need to lift the current car’s 242bhp figure to between 270 and 300bhp in order to keep in touch with rivals such as the new Ford Focus ST and Hyundai i30 N.
The rest of the package will adhere to the changes that we’ll see in full when the Mk8 Golf is finally revealed at this year’s Frankfurt motor show. These will focus around a refined MQB platform, all-new interior and digital user interface, fresh exterior design and improvements in efficiency, but should combine these refinements with the proven GTI recipe that has historically appealed beyond the mere some of its parts.
Any new Golf is always an important car for the world’s largest automotive conglomerate, but as the whole industry readies itself for the seismic shift about to be thrust upon it with the incoming electric car revolution, the new Golf will have to appeal more than ever to keep in touch with the normal buyer. The new GTI is expected to appear around 12 months after the standard Golf’s reveal, with an even hotter, all-wheel-drive Golf R replacement sometime after.