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New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI spotted for the first time

Car Buyer logo Car Buyer 10/07/2019 Ben Custard
a car parked on the side of a road: New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI spotted for the first time © Carbuyer New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI spotted for the first time

The next-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatchback has been spotted in camouflage at the Nurburgring racing circuit. Engineers are testing the car’s handling before the car is officially revealed. It’s likely that two different versions will be available, and the first of these will be launched in the middle of 2020 - a few months after the launch of the new ‘Mk 8’ Golf.

Expected to stick with its current 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the next Golf GTI should again be available in two different power outputs. The standard GTI will have around 250bhp, while a more powerful version with 280bhp is also expected, wearing either a ‘GTI TCR’ or ‘GTI Performance’ badge.

a truck that is driving down the road © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited The more powerful model will compete with the Hyundai i30 N Performance, Renault Megane RS and SEAT Leon Cupra. A six-speed manual should still be offered alongside a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and both models will be strictly front-wheel drive.

The GTI will feature other performance upgrades besides the extra power. It’ll sit lower than the standard Golf, with sportier suspension and chassis tweaks, and the brakes will be bigger.

Fittingly for a GTI model, we can see that the GTI will look much racier than the standard Mk 8 Volkswagen Golf. Below the front number plate, the lower grille is distinct from the one we’ve already seen and much bigger. The bumper itself looks sportier, and the fog light surrounds may be replaced with extra air vents for cooling.

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The rear end will get a similar treatment, with a redesigned bumper to incorporate a subtle diffuser and twin exhaust pipes. A larger spoiler is fitted at the top of the tailgate, while bigger wheels will feature too. It’s not clear if the car in these photos is the standard GTI or a faster version, but the latter will offer sportier looks and components to justify its position at the top of the GTI range.

We haven’t seen any pictures of the inside, but tartan seat upholstery and a golf ball-shaped gear knob are almost certain; they’re hallmarks of Volkswagen GTI models. The seats themselves will be a bit sportier, with more supportive bolsters to keep you in place when cornering quickly.

The new Golf GTI will share much of the interior with the standard car, so expect twin screens on the dashboard - one as a virtual instrument cluster, and one as a hi-res infotainment touchscreen - similar to the latest Mercedes A-Class. These will be slightly different to standard cars, as they’ll show performance data and may be able to record lap times. VW has previously said that the only analogue aspect of the new Golf will be the steering wheel (everything else will be digital), and that the car can be online all the time. There’ll be a full suite of driver assistance and safety systems, although you may be able to turn a few of these off if you want a more old-fashioned driving experience.

a person riding on the back of a truck driving down a street © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

As the GTI gets closer to the Volkswagen Golf R in terms of power, we expect the next-generation Golf R to offer around 350bhp. That would split the Mercedes-AMG A35 and A45 almost perfectly, and the car’s four-wheel-drive system and automatic gearbox will bring its 0-62mph time down to around 4.5 seconds.

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