It's also much quicker than the last GTI.
Originally set to make its debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show before the event was canceled, the eighth-generation GTI was revealed earlier this year to much fanfare. Just like the Mk7 model before it, the Mk8 looks like an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary step forward with revised styling, a new interior, and an updated engine while retaining all of the good stuff you'd expect of a GTI.
While the car has already been revealed for the European market, Volkswagen recently hosted a conference call with North American media to talk about more specific details on the car, including when it will arrive in the United States. Sadly, while Europe will have the chance to drive the Mk8 GTI in 2020, it won't arrive stateside until 2021 as a 2022 model year vehicle. It also means that the current Mk7 GTI will be a carryover in the US for the 2021 model year. This is a disappointingly long time but when the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI does finally arrive, it should be worth the wait.
We already knew that the Mk8 GTI will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 241 horsepower linked to a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG. But VW has now shared more performance figures on the car, including how much quicker it is than the outgoing MK7. The Mk8 lapped VW's 2.05-mile Ehra test track 3.9 seconds faster than the Mk7, which is a staggering achievement.
VW says it developed the new Mk8 to offer greater driving pleasure, more cornering grip, greater stability, improved predictability, and everyday practicality. Even the base model will be equipped with VW's electronically-controlled, front-axle limited-slip differential (VAQ), which helps to overcome the traditional traction disadvantages of a front-wheel-drive vehicle. In fact, VW confidently claims you will be able to have "big fun" with the car including some tail slides.
The GTI will include five basic drive modes - Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual, and Snow - but within the Individual settings, drivers can select from up to 15 configurations ranging from Below Comfort to Above Sport. Benjamin Leuchter, VW's test driver, says that the highest sport setting will allow for some excellent slides.
In addition to the improved performance, the 2022 GTI will arrive in the US with some never-before-seen features. We already knew about the car's awesome virtual gauges but the car will also ship with an illuminated front grille, puddle lights, head-up display, optional Harman/Kardon sound system, and heated steering wheel. Base models will include heated cloth seats with a new plaid design while the leather seats will add ventilation for the first time ever.
VW will also offer more wheel designs than ever before including 17-inch base wheels, two 18-inch designs, and for the first time in the US, two 19-inch wheel patterns. There will be plenty of tire options depending on the wheel size and the 19s can even be wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. With all of these improvements, we would not be shocked if the 2022 GTI costs significantly more than the current model ($28,595).