An increase in torque beyond the 258lb ft and 273lb ft of today’s two versions of the GTI is claimed to establish new levels of performance. In the case of the higher-spec model, it is said the 0-62mph time will be less than 6.0sec and the top speed 155mph. Gearbox choices will include carry-over versions of today’s six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch items.
As recently as last October, VW had planned to switch the Golf GTI to mild-hybrid power as the performance flagship of a new range of IQ-badged petrol-electric mild-hybrid models.
That system is also based around the EA888 engine, and is due to be revealed this year. However, it will not now be used on the Golf GTI, under the instruction of VW Group chairman Herbert Diess, who reversed the decision of his predecessor Matthias Müller.
The transversely mounted 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant will be mated to an electric motor and 48V electrical architecture. It is a set-up VW plans to mirror on the smaller 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel units to be used by the next Golf, due to receive a public debut at September’s Frankfurt show after an unveiling this summer. The GTI is likely to join it at that event.
The original plan had been to improve the Golf GTI’s low-end response with electric boosting. Additionally, the technology was to bring a coasting function that idles the engine on a trailing throttle and a recuperation system that harvests kinetic energy during braking. However, VW’s about-turn on hybrid technology should lead to a similar character to today’s car.
The new Golf GTI is underpinned by a further-developed version of the existing model’s MQB platform, featuring a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension in combination with adaptive damping control.
Engineers involved in the new car’s development say a lot of attention has been focused on steering accuracy. The electro-mechanical set-up of the outgoing model has been heavily reworked to provide it with added levels of feedback and a more direct ratio.
The GTI’s exterior styling isn’t likely be a major departure from what has gone before, but insiders have hinted that the car will have a more extrovert, aggressive look, most significantly around the front grille, which is expected to feature a deeper vent section, and new, slimmer front headlights that take advantage of the latest LED technology. Around the car’s rear wheels, enhanced shoulders are expected to give the car a sportier stance. Buyers will be restricted to just one bodystyle: a five-door hatchback. The three-door will no longer be produced.