• South Africa received all GTI models besides the first-generation.
• The new EA888 engine now produces 180kW and 370Nm.
• The Golf 8 GTI will be the first derivative in the range to be launched locally in 2021.
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.
Local petrolheads wait in eager anticipation for the arrival of the hot hatch from Germany with the legendary three letters slapped on its butt.
The Volkswagen Golf has a massive following in South Africa, even more so the GTI. It is down to this that local petrolheads have enjoyed the performance derivative ever since the second generation.
Lucky number 8
By all accounts, the Golf 8 GTI needs no introduction because the numbers alone speak for itself. VW has enjoyed enviable success with their EA888 engine since the seventh-generation launch, and they've stuck with a winning recipe in the 8.
Under the bonnet lies an uprated 2.0-litre TSI engine that generates 180kW and 370Nm, 11kW more than its predecessor, where it will almost certainly be coupled to a new 'shift by wire' seven-speed DSG transmission. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
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While many of the car's performance aspects are built from the base of the MK7, it's in the design and technical departments where the hot hatch turns up the wick.
Although local specification still has to be confirmed, the 'lazy eye' LED headlights, and daytime running lights should come as standard but the distinctive honeycomb section at the bottom of the bumper where cold air is channelled directly to the intercooler forms part of the new design.
The car will likely come standard with 17" alloys, but there should also be optional 18 and 19" wheels on offer.
According to Volkswagen, each Golf comes standard with a Lane Assist lane-keeping system, Autonomous Emergency Braking Front Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Monitoring, XDS electronic differential lock, and Car2X, a local communication with other vehicles and the traffic infrastructure.
On the inside, a very minimalistic digital cockpit and standard 8.25" Composition infotainment system with We Connect and We Connect Plus online services and functions forms part of the convenience functions. Other standard features include a multifunction steering wheel, single-zone automatic climate control, Press & Drive comfort start system, Bluetooth connectivity and two USB-C ports.
A local favourite
Even though it will cost a sizeable amount, that won't deter fans of 'vrrphaa' from forking out hefty sums to own the Golf's latest iteration.
Such is the popularity of the GTI; it will be the first version to be launched followed by the TSI and R. Sadly, the ClubSport has not been considered for local introduction.
The hot hatch segment is becoming a hotly contested one where the GTI will be up against formidable opponents like the BMW 128ti, Hyundai I20 N, Audi S3, and Toyota's forthcoming Yaris GR.
It's not long now before South Africa's favourite performance son returns for the eighth time. Keep your eyes on Wheels24 for specs and pricing details, which will be released closer to its local launch.
Compiled by Robin Classen