The Volkswagen Golf GTI, since its inception, has always been the epitome of a hot hatchback car, in which Volkswagen has continued to refine and upgrade the GTI so that it is able to retain its accolade of being the definition of the traditional hot hatchback. Volkswagen are now in their seventh generation of GTI and are soon to release the Mk8 GTI in the Autumn of this year, alongside the GTD and GTE models. But what can you expect from the GTI’s newest candidate?
First of all, the Mk8 is equipped with a 2 litre, turbocharged, 4-cylinder petrol engine that provides a total of 241 brake horse-power, which is the same engine capability as the performance version of the Mk7 GTI. This makes the Mk8 GTI a more powerful and therefore, a faster and sportier version of the standard Golf Mk8. Despite not yet being confirmed, it is widely speculated that the Mk8 GTI will have a top speed limited to a respectable 155 miles per hour, with a 0 to 60 speed of approximately 5.9 seconds. Although this means that the Mk8 GTI is not the fastest hot hatchback available or soon to be available on the market, it excels in other areas as a result of its focus on technological innovation and pleasure extracted from driving.
The GTI Mk8 is standardly equipped with a 6 speed manual gearbox, however, you are able to opt for a 7 speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox that enables you to change gear through a switch embedded in the centre console rather than the conventional lever that it has been intended to replace, or via paddles fitted onto the steering wheel. This is very similar to the standard Mk8 golf. However, it is expected that the Mk8 GTI will be around 200 pounds (91 kilograms) lighter than the Mk8 golf as it employs an aluminium rear subframe instead of a steel one. This, alongside other minor changes to the material that constitutes some components, will increase the performance of the Mk8 GTI in comparison to the Mk8 golf. Larger brakes and upgraded suspension also improve the general performance of the Mk8 GTI, although it could be argued that an opportunity has been missed in the fact that the new model is only compatible with front wheel drive, with no way to integrate a four wheel drive system.
The Mk8 GTI adheres to the orthodox exterior design that would be anticipated from a golf, but the front of the car has been altered slightly, supposedly to make the car more aerodynamic. Nevertheless, it still retains the iconic rear diffuser and roof spoiler that further contribute to enhancing aerodynamic properties. The car also features a large, black air intake grill in a honeycomb pattern, encrusted with LED lights with separate exhaust pipes. Furthermore, the Mk8 has lowered suspension to improve traction, coupled with larger, 17-inch wheels to better handling through corners. The interior insists in being minimalist and contemporary, with both the seats and wheels embracing a sporty design. These seats are chequered and hemmed with red stitching for contrast. Moreover, you are able to change the interior ambient lights to a menagerie of 30 different colours. What’s more, before the engine is activated, the start button will pulsate with a red glow. The Mk8 is also equipped with a 10 inch digital driving display and an 8 inch infotainment screen that enables you to control the majority of the cars functions. This infotainment screen is said to be able to be directed by both voice and gesture commands.
The adaptive dampers on the Mk8 GTI as well as the tauter suspension maximise comfort both on and off the road, whilst enabling the Mk8 to cleverly alter its suspension to suit its terrain. Both the car’s electronic differential (which enables wheels to rotate at different speeds whilst turning) and anti-lock brakes are managed by the Driving Dynamics Manager . This Driving Dynamics Manager also prioritises handling through corners and transmits torque, via the clutch, unevenly, with a bias towards the wheel that requires the most torque. This prevents understeer and the car deviating from a desired driving line. When Sport mode is activated, locking will be increased on the differential so as to increase traction and to push the car into the surface, whilst allowing more rapid acceleration. With the car, you are also able to purchase IQ drive, which is a driver assistance package that increases the autonomy of the car by improving adaptive cruise control. This enables the Mk8 GTI to steer, accelerate, and brake via an algorithm and without user interaction at speeds up to 130 miles per hour.
Evidently, Volkswagen have emphasised on the technological capabilities of the Mk8 GTI, its handling, and the driver’s satisfaction instead of on raw speed and performance alone. As standard, the Mk8 GTI will most likely sit slightly above the price threshold of £30,000 in the UK, although the actual price has not yet been determined. The Mk8 GTI also has a diesel engine counterpart, the Mk8 GTD, and a hybrid alternative, the Mk8 GTE, whose electric motor collaborates with a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine to produce the same horse-power as the Mk8 GTI with less emissions.
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