The styling is somewhat more adventurous than previous Golf GTIs. Picture: SUPPLIED
The styling is somewhat more adventurous than previous Golf GTIs. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Volkswagen Golf GTI was to be one of the highlights of this week’s Geneva motor show, which was cancelled to fears of the coronavirus spreading in Europe.

Though show visitors were no longer able to kick the tyres, VW has revealed pictures and full details of its much-awaited hot hatchback.

Almost full. We know the car is powered by a turbocharged 2.0l direct injection petrol engine with outputs of 180kW and 370Nm, powering the front wheels via either a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox or a six-speed manual.

We don’t yet know the claimed performance figures, but expect the car to be quicker from 0-100km/h than its predecessor’s 6.4 seconds.

The styling plays it less safe then usual Golf tradition. Though the new GTI isn’t as visually flamboyant as rivals like the Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS, it’s sportingly embellished with a gaping honeycomb grille inset with a quintet of five fog lights on each side that recall a chequered flag — the latter idea somewhat plagiarised from the Renault Megane RS.

The digitised interior can be paired with retro-styled plaid seats. Picture: SUPPLIED
The digitised interior can be paired with retro-styled plaid seats. Picture: SUPPLIED

The traditional red stripe on the GTI’s nose remains, while the grille is optionally illuminated.

Plaid seats, as used in the original GTI, are one of the interior options offered overseas although we don’t know whether these retro-styled seats will make it to SA when the car is launched here either late this year or early in 2021.

The fast Golf rides on a McPherson front axle and multilink rear suspension and drivers get to adapt the car’s driving character using a new Vehicle Dynamics Manager (VDM), which varies the function of the electronic differential lock and the adaptive dampers on cars fitted with optional DCC adaptive chassis control.

VDM is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it feature that sharpens the GTI’s driving dynamics in sporty driving and increases comfort in normal driving.

Like the rest of the new eighth-generation Golf range introduced late last year, the new GTI sports a modern interior with a digital instrument cluster and large touchscreen infotainment system.

The new Golf GTI is one of the first compact cars to communicate via Car2X with other vehicles, taking safety to a whole new level. Car2X allows connected cars to communicate with one another, or a piece of infrastructure, and warn drivers of unseen hazards.