Volkswagen will be pulling the wraps off a number of new products during the Geneva Motor Show media preview next week, but the spotlight is likely to center around the debut of the new VW Golf GTI.
The hot hatch will not only get a new look, both inside and out, but also more power and more new technology, including what the automaker is calling an “innovative driver interface.”
It’s been 44 years since the German automaker launched the first version of the GTI, the 2021 model marking the sporty hatchback’s eighth generation. Along with the GTI, Volkswagen will unveil new versions of the hybrid Golf GTE and diesel-powered GTD at Geneva’s Palexpo convention center.
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“It is important for an icon like the Golf GTI to evolve in order to cope with the march of progress,” VW said in a new release confirming rumors the new GTI would come to Geneva. “For 44 years, Volkswagen has been re-inventing this sporty, compact-car icon while retaining the original concept. The eighth reinterpretation of the Golf GTI … is fully digitalized and networked. Put simply, it’s a Golf GTI that’s perfect for the modern era.
Visually, the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI has a softer, more rounded look, with a sloped nose anchored by a low, crosshatched grille. Slit-like headlamps are linked by a chromed crossbar. A narrow line spans the nose of the hatchback, in red for the GTI, blue for the higher-mileage GTE and GTD models.
The sides are more curvaceous than the outgoing GTI and there’s a subtle, coupe-like roll to the hatchback’s roofline.
The new GTI comes with 17-inch Richmond aluminum-alloy wheels, though buyers can upgrade to 18 or 19-inch wheels and tires. Visible behind the spokes are new red brake calipers.
Inside, the 2021 GTI adopts the new Innovision Cockpit which essentially fuses a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10-inch infotainment screen. The Gen-8 GTI retains the sport steering wheel design but now integrates multifunction touch controls.
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That includes the optional Travel Assist button which, when engaged, allows the new GTI to reach a top speed of 130 mph.
Inside and out, the new Golf boasts a long list of standard gear, including a rear diffuser and roof spoiler, an automatic climate control system, LED head, tail and running lights, and an assortment of advanced driver assistance systems, such as Lane Keeping Assist and Automatic Emergency Braking.
What differentiates the GTI from a run-of-the-mill Golf, of course, is its powertrain. The new model is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four making 245 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox comes standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission available as an option.
VW claims the GTE hybrid can match the performance of the GTI. It pairs a 1.4-liter turbo-four making 150 hp with a 114-hp electric motor. As they hit peak at different RPMs, the combination is rated at a max 245 hp and 295 lb-ft. Using European ratings, meanwhile, the hybrid GTE is expected to get up to 37 miles on electric power alone.
The GTD, meanwhile, makes 200 hp and 295 lb-ft with its 2.0-liter turbodiesel. Unfortunately for American buyers, only the GTI will be shipped to the States.
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Pricing, mileage and other specs will be released closer to the 2021 Golf GTI’s U.S. introduction later this year.