Volkswagen has finally revealed its hotly-anticipated Mk8 Golf GTI ahead of its in-the-flesh debut at next week’s Geneva International Motor Show alongside two other new performance Golf variants.

Much like the more regular versions of the upcoming Mk8 Golf, the emphasis has been placed on drastically changing the styling, interior presentation, and technology compared to the outgoing Mk7, with many of the oily bits being carried over.

As such, it’s set to be powered by the same basic ‘EA888’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder seen in its predecessor, which in this entry-level GTI will send the same 180kW and 370Nm to the front-wheels through a quick-shifting seven-speed DSG or, drumroll please, a six-speed manual. Enthusiasts, rejoice!

The looks, as mentioned, are one of the biggest changes here, although it’s still every bit a GTI. The go-fast wheels resemble those seen on the Mk7 40 Years/Clubsport and regular Mk7.5 GTI, the red grille highlight still remains but is now teamed with an optional full-width light bar, and there are still big twin exhausts at the back.

VW’s new logo with thinner lines is now accompanied on the front grille and, unusually, in the centre of the tailgate by a redesign of the original serif-font GTI badge which also now features slightly thinner lettering.

Otherwise, it’s all pretty similar to what we’ve seen on other Mk8 Golfs so far, with the new GTI looking sporty in a suitably subtle and discrete way, although it is perhaps a little too discrete compared to the Mk7.5’s aggressive front-end. Simply put though, it’s a Golf GTI, and that’s all that needs to be said really.

Inside, a new tartan upholstery design and grippier, sportier GTI-branded wheel are fitted to the very minimalist and button-free Mk8 interior which sees most of the controls now housed inside its all-new infotainment system, which is teamed with a fully digital instrument cluster. While DSG models, as pictured here, will feature the stubby new shifter, the manual will receive a classic golf ball shift knob in keeping with the Germans’ sense of humour.

When it’s revealed in person next week, it’ll be placed on its stand alongside two other nearly identical performance Golfs – the diesel GTD, and hybrid GTE – which, while perhaps more intriguing mechanically, are unlikely to be seen here in Australia.

The GTD features a 147kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine which uses twin-dosing to cut nitrogen emissions and comes paired exclusively to a seven-speed DSG auto, while the GTE pairs a 110kW 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine to a 13kWh battery and an electric motor to help it deliver the same 180kW as the GTI to the front wheels through a six-speed DSG, and to allow for nearly 60km of electric-only driving on a full charge.

While the GTD and GTE are, as mentioned, unlikely to make it here at any point, the GTI is slated for release here at some point before the year’s end.

This leaves only the Mk8 Golf R to be revealed, which won’t be coming here until early 2021 but will feature all-wheel drive and over 222kW when it does arrive.

The Geneva International Motor Show kicks off on March 5, at which the GTI, GTD, and GTE will all be on display.

Patrick Jackson
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