The wait for the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R is nearly over.
It's been a long wait for the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf to arrive in America. In Germany, the all-new Golf went on sale nearly two years ago, but only the high-performance Golf GTI and Golf R versions of the new hatchback are being sold in America. The Golf GTI debuted in February 2020 for the European market, followed by the Golf R last November. Thankfully, the wait is nearly over for American hot hatch enthusiasts because the 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R will arrive in US dealers later this year.
Before sales begin, Volkswagen has released a new video featuring Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President of Product Marketing & Strategy for Volkswagen of America, and Product Manager Megan Closset giving an in-depth tour of the 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R's exterior design, interior tech, and mechanical upgrades.
Volkswagen set the standard for hot hatchbacks with the original Mk1 Golf GTI back in 1976, and traces of the originalcar's design DNA can be found on the new model. Like the original Golf GTI, red accents adorn the grille and fenders and the new hot hatch retains the original's signature honeycomb elements.
Of course, the Golf GTI wouldn't be complete without plaid cloth seats, which come as standard. There are also golf ball details on the shifter just like the MK1 Golf GTI. While the original Golf GTI rode on 14-inch alloy wheels, the new Golf GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. For the first time in North America, VW is offering larger 19-inch wheels.
The original Golf GTI comes powered by a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine rated at 90 hp. For the new Golf GTI, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.
Unlike many manufacturers, VW is keeping the manual gearbox alive: the 2022 Golf GTI can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox. Each trim has more standard equipment than ever before: the entry-level S trim comes with LED headlights as standard and the Autobahn trim now comes with a head-up display. In the US, the 2022 Golf GTI starts at $29,545 excluding destination charges.
If you want more performance, the new hardcore Golf R produces 315 hp and 295 lb-ft from the same engine when fitted with the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox, which is sent to the four wheels. According to VW, one of the automaker's professional drivers was able to beat their lap time at the Nurburgring by 19 seconds in the Mk8 Golf R compared to the Mk7.
VW's adaptive damping system is offered as standard for the Golf R and a new aluminum subframe reduces unsprung weight by nearly seven pounds. These improvements "leave the mk7 Golf R in the dust." Compared to the Golf GTI, the Golf R has more aggressive air intakes, blue accents, quad exhaust pipes, a more prominent rear diffuser and a large rear spoiler. Naturally, the Golf R's extra performance comes at a cost, starting at $43,645 excluding destination charges.