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Volkswagen unveils Mk 8 GTI, no GTD or GTE for Oz

Volkswagen tears covers of its new Mk 8 Golf GTI, manual gearbox returns

28 Feb 2020

LESS than a week out from its global debut at the Geneva motor show, Volkswagen has revealed the GTI, GTD and GTE performance variants of its new Mk 8 Golf, though only the former will make it to Australian shores.


Due to arrive in the first quarter of next year, the new Golf GTI will be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as its predecessor, meaning it will wade into the hot hatch battle with the same 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque as before.


Drive will be fed to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with a limited-slip differential coming as standard.


Few other mechanical details have been revealed about the iconic hot hatch other than VW executives promising it will be “much more dynamic and even more agile”.


For reference, both the current Mk 7.5 GTI and its hotter R cousin utilise a Macpherson strut suspension setup up front while a multi-link independent arrangement takes care of things at the rear.


Both the diesel-powered GTD and plug-in hybrid GTE models share the same underpinnings as the new GTI, but neither of them are on the agenda for Australia according to Volkswagen Group Australia after it dropped the GTD in 2009 and its move to focus on all-electric cars rather than hybrids.


Style-wise the new Mk 8 features an almost entirely new front end with narrow, downturned LED headlights creating a more serious and sinister looking demeanour either side of the drastically narrowed grille, now sporting two continuous LED light strips along its top edge.


Adding to the impression of intent is a gaping lower air intake – finished in a black honeycomb pattern – which is both taller and wider than before, effectively spanning the entire front bumper.


Five integrated LED fog lights (optional) are housed at either end of the mesh grille, a styling feature VW describes as “unmistakeable” in conjunction with the new headlight and upper grille light arrangement.


Inside occupants will find the iconic checked pattern on the new sports seats has been retained while a new leather multifunction sports steering wheel greets drivers with the classic three silver spokes also making a return.


Local pricing and specification are both yet to be confirmed, though the current Mk 7.5 GTI currently retails from $46,690 plus-on road costs and comes as standard with keyless entry and push-button start, adaptive cruise control, Adaptive Info Display digital dash, smartphone mirroring, Bluetooth, rain sensing wipers, Emergency Assist, driver fatigue detection, manoeuvre braking, traffic jam assist, autonomous emergency braking, park assist, reversing camera, blind spot monitoring.


Last year Volkswagen sold 14,355 Golfs nationally, down 24.7 per cent on 2018’s total sales but still accounting for 9.5 per cent of the sub-$40,000 small car segment.


Things are not off to a great start in 2020 either with 1119 units sold ending January, accounting for 10.8 per cent of the segment and down 9.1 per cent year-on-year.

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