Long the choice of keen drivers, Volkswagen’s Golf GTI Mark 8 acquires the additional ability to almost drive itself.
On sale from May 24 priced from $53,100, the GTI adds the new IQ.DRIVE, with its near fully autonomous open road capability, and the Innovision Cockpit. These join an array of distinct GTI features, themselves an advancement from the Mark 7/7.5 GTI, the most popular version since the original sports hatchback was introduced in 1976.
In standard form the GTI is the most impressively equipped sporting hatchback for any price comparable or approaching it. With options the GTI compares to luxury brand vehicles priced at considerably greater sums.
“The art that continues to elude the GTI’s imagined competitors is a car that is as civilised in daily deployment as you choose, but which can be an accomplished sports car when you wish,” Volkswagen Group Australia Managing Director Michael Bartsch said.
“It is these virtues, coupled with a classic rather than kitsch design and the latest in on-board technology, that will ensure the GTI and, next year, the Golf R Mark 8, continue to outsell rivals by a great margin.”
The Golf Mark 8 GTI becomes the first car of its type to receive the Volkswagen Group’s new generation driver assistance systems, IQ.DRIVE, which supports the driver in regular, real-world scenarios including parking, lane changing and accident prevention, all the while increasing daily driveability and comfort.
A key feature of IQ.DRIVE is Travel Assist, Volkswagen’s semi-autonomous setting that is capable of accelerating, braking and maintaining the Golf’s position within its lane in open road driving – a boon during typically monotonous long-range freeway trips.
The full suite of the GTI’s IQ.DRIVE fixtures includes:
- Travel Assist
- Front Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Monitoring
- Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
- Lane Assist
- Oncoming vehicle braking when turning
- Driver Fatigue Detection
- Side Assist
- Rear Traffic Alert
- Rear View Camera (RVC)
- Park Assist
- Emergency Assist
- Exit Warning System
- Parking distance sensors, front & rear
- Manoeuvre braking, front & rear
- Tyre Pressure Loss Indicator
In addition to IQ.DRIVE, the GTI’s standard safety systems include:
- Driver’s airbag
- Front passenger airbag
- Front side airbags
- Rear side airbags
- Curtain airbags, front and rear
- Front and rear seat belt tensioners
- IsoFix and top tether child seat anchors
- Proactive occupant protection system
- Multi-collision brake
- Front and rear seat belt unfastened warning
Having set the in-car information standard in the Mark 7 Golf, the Mark 8 advances the game.
The Innovision Cockpit that debuted in Volkswagen’s Touareg is standard in the Golf GTI. Combining Digital Cockpit Pro with the 10-inch Discover Pro navigation system, the Innovision Cockpit offers a range of customisable functions via its digital display. The vast screen of the Discover Pro is augmented by touch buttons and finger-tip operated touch sliders.
The rev counter with GTI logo in the centre is surrounded by a round instrument to the left and right. These instruments can be individually assigned, for example, to show the engine’s boost pressure or the current power output.
To reflect the transformation within, the Mark 8 GTI features a range of new exterior features alongside the familiar. For the first time the red GTI grille strip is accompanied by a parallel LED crossbar stretching from the outside of the LED performance headlights to the VW badge in the centre of the radiator grille. This makes for an distinctive light signature.
The lower bumper also features GTI-specific design with a black honeycomb air intake and unique LED fog lights. Other GTI characteristics include the front spoiler, side sills, rear diffuser with chrome tailpipes and bespoke rear spoiler extending the roof line. The 18-inch Richmond alloy wheels have been designed exclusively for the Mark 8 GTI and provide a view of the red brake callipers.
Interior trim is also refined. New sports seats with integrated head restraints that are reminiscent of the first Golf GTI with red stitching and a tartan style fabric on the seat base and backrest areas. These are complimented by stainless steel pedals, ambient lighting and black headlining.
Having introduced the now ubiquitous flat bottomed sports steering wheel in the Mark 5 GTI, the Mark 8 features a re-designed version with a red appliqué and the GTI badge. The GTI’s traditional honeycombs grille is echoed in patterns on the dash and doors. Once the doors are opened the new engine start/stop button pulses red until the engine has been started.
Power comes the fourth evolution EA888 2.0-litre turbo petrol four cylinder engine adopted in the MY19 GTI with 180kW and 370Nm. As with all Golfs, this torque is available from well under 2000rpm. On one hand this continues the GTI’s traditional low speed driveability and ensures fuel consumption of 7.0 litres per 100km. On the other, it achieves 100km/h from standing in 6.3 seconds.
Drive goes to front end via the latest DQ381 7-speed wet clutch Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) now augmented by new shift by wire technology. There is no stick for selecting gears, rather a toggle with a sports mode that frees space, manual gear selections being made by via steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles. As expected, the GTI has a standard Progressive steering and a front differential lock that comes into its own during hard cornering minus the weight of all-wheel-drive.
The new Vehicle Dynamics Manager coordinates and activates the functions of the electronically controlled front-axle differential lock as well as the lateral dynamic components of the electronically controlled shock absorbers (Adaptive Chassis Control) during every driving manoeuvre.
It is possible to adapt the ESP intervention in two stages. In addition to the previous ESP Sport mode where the ESP and traction control thresholds are increased. The new GTI also features an ESP Off mode, however, Front Assist does reactivate ESP in emergencies.
Optional packages are kept to two.
Sound & Vision package $1500
- Head Up Display (windscreen projection surface for displaying speed, driver assistance system messages or navigation instructions)
- Harman Kardon 480W premium audio system
- 8 + 1 (centre) speakers, subwoofer and 12-channel amplifier, there are four sound settings for a more personal listening experience.
Luxury package $3800
- Vienna leather appointed upholstery
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Electrically operated driver’s seat with memory
- Heated steering wheel
- Panoramic electric glass sunroof
The Mark 8 GTI comes in Pure White, Moonstone Grey Premium, Dolphin Grey Metallic, Atlantic Blue Metallic or Deep Black Pearl Effect. Or, for $300, Kings Red Premium Metallic.
The GTI is available with a Care Plan for five years at $2300 (saving the cost of the first scheduled service) or three years at $1450.