245hp means the new VW Golf GTI is a rocket

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 8

More power, more technlogy, and possibly a plug-in GTE model due in Singapore late 2020 – early 2021

Geneva, Switzerland 

Volkswagen has unveiled the new eight-generation Golf GTI hot hatchback ahead of the Geneva motorshow. 

The Mark 8 VW Golf was unveiled last year, as we wrote in CarBuyer back then, the new Golf takes a big step forward with technology as the prime focus, introducing mild-hybrid versions, plus more advanced infotainment and safety onboard. 

L-R: Volkswagen Golf GTD, GTI, GTE

The new GTI performance hatch was unveiled alongside the plug-in version, the GTE, and the diesel version, the GTD – more on those further down. 

There’s no official word on when the GTI is coming here. But with the launch of the new Mark 8 Golf expected only in late 2020, the GTI version should arrive in Singapore a few months after, so we’re estimating a 2021 debut.

EA2888 Evo 4 engine makes 245hp now

The big number here is 245, which is the horsepower the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine makes (VW says it’s the EA888 evo4 powerplant), which is around 15hp more than the most powerful Mark  7 GTI with the Performance Pack. Max torque is 370Nm, or 20Nm more. 

VW hasn’t released performance numbers yet, but given the Mk7 PP could do 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds, expect the Mk8 to better than slightly. 

Hardcore fans will be glad to know that some things don’t change: The GTI is available with a six-speed manual gearbox (complete with Golf ball shaped knob), although it’s unclear if that model will be available in Singapore even on an indent basis. 

Most GTIs will have the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG), which is now shift-by-wire and hence does away with a gearshifter altogether, freeing up cabin space. 

The new GTI is based, as is the Golf, on the MQB platform, with a McPherson front axle and multi-link rear suspension. Adaptive suspension (DCC adaptive chassis control) is an option. The standard sport suspension setup is 15mm lower.

Dynamic behaviour is also governed by a new system dubbed the Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which controls the electronic differential system and adaptive suspension together to maximise driving dynamics. 

With Singapore announcing a push towards electrification, and lower road taxes for hybrids, the GTE model has a better chance of being sold here – the previous model was already available as a GTE plug-in hybrid. 

The new GTE has a 1.4-litre turbo engine (EA211) with 150hp – that’s essentially the standard Golf engine for the Mark 8 – but adds on an 85kW (114hp) electric motor. Together they deliver the same peak output (245hp) as the regular GTI, and more torque, at 400Nm.

A lithium-ion battery pack delivers up to 60km of purely electric range that is available at speeds of up to 130km/h. 

The GTD model has a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine with 200hp and 400Nm, but like previous GTDs, is not likely to be sold in Singapore. 

As the GTI is based on the Mark 8 Golf, the size increases incrementally overall, so we can expect more passenger room and boot space this time around – Volkswagen hasn’t released any exact measurements as yet. 

New GTI: Now with 50 percent more frown

The most striking thing you’ll observe is how ‘frowny’ the new GTI looks – the front grille and headlights are all beneath a new character line/lightbar (bisected by the VW badge) that’s linked up with the daytime running lights and spans the entire front end. This feature is present only in the three GT models, not the normal hatch.  

That, plus the more curvaceous bonnet and the large air intake (with GTI trademark hexagons and red outline) and inset gem-like fog lamps, gives it a sporty look that’s immediately distinguishable from the normal Golf. The rear end features dual tailpipes and diffuser in black, with the dark section spanning around the entire car, including the side skirts and front lip. 17-inch wheels will be standard in the car’s home market, with 18-inch and 19-inch options available.  

Like the new Golf, active safety will feature as standard comprising autonomous front braking/warning (Front Assist Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring), Lane Assist lane keeping, and the XDS electronic front differential system. A 10.25-inch active instrument display is also standard, as seen on the current GTI, plus an 8.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, optionally upsizeable to 10-inches. 

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong