BY BRIAN BYRNE
A NEW generation Volkswagen Golf GTI will be arriving in the autumn of this year, the eighth generation of the car.
In a global online media reveal, the company detailed changes that include a sharper styling, improved aerodynamics, and substantially upgraded interior.
According to the local distributor, the price should be similar to the current model, in the region of €46,000.
With a similar 245hp power output, the makers say the car is more agile and faster through tight driving conditions.
Features include matrix LED headlights, 18-inch alloys, GTI-specific sports seats and steering wheel, and a digital infotainment display.
It will be available with a manual or DSG automatic gearbox. There will be GTE and GTD derivatives following.
Some 44 years ago, the GTI version of the Mk 1 Golf hatchback defined a new genre called ‘hot hatch.’ The original plan was to build just 5,000, but in the seven generations since that figure has reached 2.3 million units.
The power output through the iterations has grown from 110hp to 245hp.
The latest GTI style includes headlights with a ‘bird of prey’ look, a larger lower air-intake with a honeycomb grille and new LED fog-lights clusters.
At the rear, the trademark dual exhausts are larger bore and have been moved further towards the edges.
Overall, the aim was to produce a car that, in design terms, is ‘not too loud and not too silent,’ according to head of Volkswagen Group design Klaus Bischoff.
Inside, the driver’s area has gone totally digital, with two 10-inch screens providing a very customisable level of instrumentation and information management.
According to the company, improvements to the chassis technologies have enhanced both comfort and driving dynamics. The development goals included better handling, greater grip, more stability and precision.
Everyday practicality in a by-design sporty car was another requirement. A lighter front suspension sub-frame and reconfigurations to other elements helped to achieve those.There have also been changes to the rear axle, including optimised software for the Dynamic Chassis Control system.
New tyre options include a racing option of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup on 19-inch rims.
Changes to the steering software means the car offers direct steering and reduced steering angles.
Four driver-selectable driving modes include an ‘Above Sport’ option which provides for minimal roll and maximum agility. Damper hardness on individual wheels can change 200 times per second in individual wheels work with automatic braking interventions on either side of the car to deliver very precise control in high-level driving.
The new body has been optimised for aerodynamic balance, offering less drag and more stability, with reduced fuel consumption.