But not all is lost.
In September, Europe is set to switch over from its current emissions standards to a new system called the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). WLTP will be far stricter, and we have already seen some repercussions. BMW was forced to end production of the current F80 generation M3, and Volkswagen was forced to decrease the Golf R's output from 306 to 296 horsepower. Autocar reports that VW will now have to drop the standard Golf GTI from its lineup, in preparation for WLTP.
WLTP will be more difficult to pass because it is based on real-world tests rather than lab-data. It simply didn't make sense for VW to sell two versions of the Golf GTI, so the base model has been axed. The more expensive performance version of the Mk7, which produces 242 hp, will still be offered. The next generation Mk8 Golf will arrive next year, so the base GTI won't be gone for long.
The Golf GTI is not the first performance car to be cut because of WLTP and we doubt it will be the last. Fortunately, the US isn't affected by these new regulations, but we may still feel some residual effects from automakers killing off performance models. Automakers are very smart, and hopefully have next generation models with improved emissions for WLTP ready to go.