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Hot hatch to digital dash: New VW Golf GTI gets hi-tech touch, more power

(SOUTH AFRICA) – If cars could ever lay claim to being household names in South Africa, the Volkswagen Golf GTI would most certainly be among them.

And so there will be sighs of relief and many enthusiastic discussions among petrol heads, in motoring circles and even around dinner tables when Volkswagen unleashes its up-powered, new generation Golf GTI in the second quarter of this year.

New-generation tech and torque

Much anticipated and eighth in a long line of award-winning and iconic GTIs, the Golf 8 GTI is Volkswagen’s most digitally advanced hot hatch yet.

On Wednesday 3 March, Volkswagen South Africa released specifications and images of the new model which is powered by a 7-speed DSG® petrol engine that thrusts out a highly invigorating 180kW.

Setting the stage for the new model arrival, VW said the GTI was first launched at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt 45 years ago and that the car had gone on to become an international and domestic sales success.

Image: Motorpress

The numbers speak for themselves

“….the three letters G, T and I have gone on to identify an icon. The current generation Golf GTI has sold 14 252 units since its launch in South Africa in July 2013,” said the German brand.

“South Africa is one of the biggest Golf GTI markets outside of Europe; 34% of 42 320 total seventh generation of Golf sales were the GTI derivative. The Golf model range was also the best-selling in the A Hatch segment in South Africa last year with a 29.1% segment share,” continued VW.

Genuine GTI

According to the Automaker, the GTI’s formula of success is that its DNA has never changed. “It still has a clean design, front-wheel drive, the most agile running gear, a powerful petrol engine and insignias like the red stripe in the radiator grille.”

But the big news around the new model is about how Volkswagen has digitalised the new Golf GTI towards “catapulting it into the future with a multitude of intelligent assistance systems and a powerful and stylish design”.

New start

The Golf GTI’s ignition lock has been replaced by an engine start/stop button (standard equipment), which is notable in that once the doors are opened, it pulses red until the engine is started.

“The design of the new Golf GTI also matches its added driving dynamics. At the front, the wide air intakes, low-positioned standard LED headlights and unmistakable signature light on the radiator grille are particularly distinctive. The latter is illuminated for the first time by a narrow LED strip, which flows on the left and right into the headlight modules,” noted VW.

The LED headlights feature 22 individual LEDs per headlight matrix signal and drivers can customise their cars with the optional and sliding turn indicators.

At the rear, the roof spoiler, diffuser and two round tailpipes located at the outer sides are striking distinguishing features of the new GTI. The optional panoramic sunroof is controlled using a swiping action.

Image: Motorpress

GTI’s digital dash

This is the first generation of Golf GTI to have a completely digitalised interior landscape of displays and controls. The digital displays of the standard InnoVision cockpit and infotainment system start up as soon as the doors are opened.

The previous three-spoke sports steering wheel has been transformed into a new multi-function leather sports steering wheel with touch controls. The interior is optimised through the standard InnoVision Cockpit (digital display) which is 10.25 inches wide and is complimented by a touchscreen for the infotainment system.

The conventional controls for the headlights, as well as fog lights, have been changed to a digital panel. The new Golf GTI features a smaller gear knob as a result of adopting a shift-by-wire system. Swiping actions are also required to change the volume and temperature.

Image: Motorpress

Ambient lighting is also a standard feature which gives drivers 30 interior colours to choose from. The Golf 8 GTI will be the second model in the Volkswagen range to come available with the optional Harmon Kardon sound system with a 12-channel amplifier with 480W output as well as eight speakers, one centre speaker and a subwoofer.

The specs, standard and optional equipment

The Golf 8 GTI in South Africa only comes in one derivative.

Standard features include; 18-inch Richmond alloy wheels, Lights and Vision Package including high-beam control light assist, Climatronic air conditioning, heated leather-wrapped multi-function sports steering wheel with touch control and shifting paddles, GTI Vienna leather seats, keyless locking and starting system, Composition Media Radio, multi-colour InnoVision Cockpit, App-Connect, Cruise Control with speed limiter, Park Distance Control, mobile phone interface with inductive charging function as well as 30-colour ambient lighting.

Optional features include; panoramic sunroof, mechanically swivelling trailer hitch, IQ Light: LED Matrix Headlights, Black Styling Package with black 18-inch Bergamo alloy wheels, Head-up Display, Adaptive chassis control including driving profile selection, smokers package, 19-inch Adelaide alloy wheels, Harmon Kardon sound system, Discover Pro Radio (Satellite Navigation, USB, Wireless App-Connect and Voice Control), Park Assist (parallel parking assistant), Rear Assist with rear view camera, Blind spot monitor (Rear Traffic Alert and Lane Assist including Electronically Folding Mirrors), Travel Assist (Lane Assist with Adaptive Cruise Control) and Adaptive cruise control with Front Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking.

Image: Motorpress

The new Golf GTI will be available in three solid paint exterior colours (Pure White, Urano Grey, and Moonstone Grey), four metallic colours (Dolphin Grey, Atlantic Blue, Kings Red and Reflex Silver) and two pearlescent colours (Deep Black Pearl and Oryx White Pearl).

Networked and with active driving dynamics

The iconic Golf has been given 11kW more power than its predecessor. The 2.0-litre turbocharged front-wheel drive engine now develops 180kW and a torque of 370Nm. The four-cylinder engine is coupled with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. It takes 6.4 seconds to complete the 0 to 100km/h sprint.

The agility and sportiness have been perfected with the new, networked Vehicle Dynamics Manager. This higher-level control system co-ordinates all electromechanical running gear functions.

Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) running gear with variable shock absorbers is available as an option so that GTI drivers can choose their own individual set-up using the standard driving profile selection which results in an even more precise driving experience.

New Golf 8 GTI pricing

Pricing for the new Golf 8 GTI will be announced closer to the launch date.

 

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