February 27, 2020 By Gerard Jude Castillo

A rich heritage meets a digital future in the 8th-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI

The original hot hatch—this is the moniker often used to describe the iconic Golf GTI. First seen in 1976, it has gone through seven generations, each one improving upon the previous iteration, managing to offer driving pleasure in a practical and usable package.

For its eighth generation, which is set to make its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show next week, the GTI finds itself at the cusp of a new era—the digital age. This means it’s got all sorts of digital and earth-friendly features that make it more connected, convenient to operate, and of course, environmentally sound. VW, however, blends these with good old GTI favorites to balance things out and tie it in with its forbearers.

Case in point are goodies like LED light bars across the front grille, on the bumper, and other parts of the front fascia that enhance the already recognizable 8th-gen Golf face. These are complemented by new wheels, LED rear taillights, a revised rear diffuser, and a larger rear spoiler. What remains, however, are the signature GTI brake calipers and red accents all styled in the trademark hatchback profile.

Inside, it’s the same story: a standard 10-inch center touchscreen for the infotainment system, a select-by-wire gear selector, steering wheel with the new VW logo, and an available 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with navigation. All this is matched by plaid seats and red accents—both of which any GTI fan will clearly recognize.

VW Golf GTI

VW Golf GTI

Under the hood, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder remains, along with either the 6-speed MT or 7-speed DSG. In this application, however, this engine makes 245 bhp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This gives it more power and torque over the previous iteration.

As for the traditional McPherson struts and up and rear multi-links, they are enhanced by adaptive dampers or DCC in VW-speak, which react to road conditions and steering, braking, and throttle inputs for more balanced ride and handling.

All told, the 8th-generation 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI looks to be a mix of new tech that has its eye on the 21st century and good old GTI fare that are an ode to its rich motoring heritage.

The car will debut at the Geneva Motor Show that begins on March 3, 2020.

VW Golf GTI

VW Golf GTI

VW Golf GTI

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