It was 46 years ago that Volkswagen launched the first Golf GTI.
No-one could have guessed then that the letters G, T and I would become the emblem of an icon. The secret of this success is in its genes, which have never changed: a pared-down design, front-wheel drive, particularly agile running gear, a powerful petrol engine, emblematic elements … not to mention the chequered upholstery.
For this eighth generation, the brand combines tradition and innovation by introducing a host of smart, high-tech aid systems and a design that is at the same time both sporty and elegant. For the design, Volkswagen speaks of a GTI charisma, with among other things specific LED projector headlights forming a front crossbar and black sills. On board we find the digital cockpit, the classic tartan upholstery and thee new multi-function sports steering wheel clad in perforated leather with touch controls. All this is rounded out by background ambient lighting that can be customised in up to 30 colours, comprising a specific GTI mode.
Under the bonnet of this eighth generation, the 2-litre turbo petrol engine is still 245 hp (180 kW) and the torque 370 Nm at between 1,600 and 4,300 r.p.m. This four-cylinder engine is associated with a six-speed gearbox. Our model for the test drive was equipped with the highly responsive seven-speed DSG gearbox with dual clutch.
While the technical basis has not changed, the evolution is nonetheless more substantial than appears at first sight. For example the improvement in comfort and dynamism, with the introduction of a new dynamic behavioural management system (DCC or “Dynamic Chassis Control”). This technology takes account of steering and braking actions and reacts permanently to the road surface and the driving situation. The driver can select a driving profile from among different modes such as Individual, Comfort, Eco or Sport. The GTI will thus suit a greater number of motorists wishing to combine sportiness and comfort depending on the situation. With this system, sports driving enthusiasts will appreciate the disappearance of the under-steer that is so typical of front-wheel drive vehicles.
To conclude, this new generation is a great success with its versatility, its day-to-day use and its good on-demand performances on the road.
Image source: Volkswagen
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