2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Review: Eighth Wonder

Volkswagen Golf GTI driving

The originator of the modern hot hatchback has a tall reputation to live up to, so does the eighth-gen Volkswagen Golf GTI measure up? We test it in Singapore and find out…


Sports cars used to be just sports cars: Two doors, no space for nothing, and terribly impractical to drive in traffic.

That is, until 1976, when the engineers at Volkswagen had the crazy idea of making the bog standard, very pedestrian, first-generation Volkswagen Golf hatchback drive like a sports car, with a high performance engine to match. A whole new segment was born – some say it even ‘democratised high performance’ and here we are, 45 years and eight generations of the Golf GTI later.

Volkswagen Golf GTI parked

The basic premise of the Golf GTI has remained the same in that it’s still a front-wheel driven hatchback that’s practical for urban commuting, but really gets going once you attack twisty roads like you would in a real sports car. The car is still built on the Volkswagen Group’s modular and highly developed MQB platform, and the Golf GTI, version eight, like the one before it, is still powered by a 2.0-litre, four cylinder turbo engine. 

Volkswagen Golf GTI cabin

It’s broadly still the same base EA888 engine from the previous model, but has been further developed to produce 245 horsepower, an improvement of 15 horses over the last generation version.

To Page 2: Design and Interior

1. Introduction
2. Design and Interior
3. Driving Experience
4. Conclusion and Competition

about the author

Lionel Kong
An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.