Next-Gen Volkswagen Golf GTI Will Arrive in U.S. as 2022 Model

When the next-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI reaches U.S. shores, it will pack VW’s EA888 turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, good for 242 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque, as well as new vehicle dynamics systems and available adaptive shock absorbers. Volkswagen announced more details today on the U.S. version of the venerated sports compact, which the automaker told us would have the same specs as its European counterpart.

Details on the global GTI first emerged in February ahead of its anticipated debut at the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show, an event organizers would eventually cancel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But today’s news confirms that the lion’s share of information — and then some — revealed in February will carry over to the U.S.-bound GTI.

Mark Gillies, a spokesman for the brand, told Cars.com by email that the Golf GTI will arrive “sometime toward the end of next year as a 2022 model.” We’d expect pricing closer to then; the current (2020) Golf GTI starts at $29,515 (with destination charge),

Drivetrain

Engine output, at 242 hp, is 3 horses short of VW’s initial European specs in February, but torque remains unchanged, and both are modest increases over the current-generation GTI’s output (228 hp, 258 pounds-feet of torque). A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic optional. A new vehicle control system, dubbed Vehicle Dynamics Manager, debuts in the GTI to manage Volkswagen’s XDS electronic locking differential lock and VAQ limited-slip differential.

Suspension

A new aluminum subframe knocks 7 pounds off the front suspension, and spring rates are up 5% in front and 15% in back versus the prior-generation GTI. We wondered in February whether the optional adaptive shock absorbers announced for the global GTI would come stateside; it turns out they will, also as an option, with driver-selectable settings that allow umpteen degrees of variation — rather than the usual two or three — between the most sport- and comfort-oriented calibrations.

Aerodynamics and Interior Updates

The GTI’s slipstream styling cues signal improved aerodynamics, with the coefficient of drag now 0.275 from the previous 0.300. Inside is a gaggle of digital displays and what appear to be capacitive touch buttons, the latter a development we’ve bemoaned in the Volkswagen Group’s luxury Audi brand. Sport seats with integrated head restraints will offer a plaid fabric pattern that Volkswagen calls Scalepaper. Standard equipment will include automatic climate control, two USB-C ports and an 8.25-inch touchscreen. An optional larger touchscreen (10 inches) integrates with the digital gauges to form what Volkswagen calls the Innovision Cockpit.

Golf R Coming, Too

As its name suggests, the Golf GTI is based on the Golf, Volkswagen’s global hoi-polloi hatchback. The automaker unveiled the Golf’s eighth-generation redesign in late 2019, confirming at the time that the GTI and a higher-performance variant, the Golf R, would make it stateside. U.S. shoppers won’t get the diesel-powered GTD or plug-in-hybrid GTE variants.

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