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The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 8 Might Have 250 Horsepower

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 7/8/2019 Daniel Golson
a car driving down a street

We've already seen the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf with almost no camo at all, but the next-gen GTI, a perennial favorite of ours, has been somewhat of a mystery. Our spy photographers have now gotten the first photos of the GTI, giving us a good look at the performance version of the new Golf. Like the standard car, the GTI is getting an evolutionary redesign that doesn't take many risks.

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a car driving down a street: The GTI might be the lowest-end version of the next-gen Golf that comes to the United States.© Chris Doane Automotive The GTI might be the lowest-end version of the next-gen Golf that comes to the United States.

Despite the camouflage wrap, we can see that the new GTI has a much racier look than the regular Mark 8 Golf. At the front there's a larger lower grille with a honeycomb pattern, integrated fog lights, and a lower splitter, and the upper grille should get the GTI's ubiquitous red stripe. We can also see deeper side skirts, wheels nabbed from the Mark 7 Rabbit Edition, a bigger rear spoiler, and a new diffuser with dual exhaust tips.

a car parked in front of a building: 2021 Volkswagen GTI (spy photo)© Chris Doane Automotive 2021 Volkswagen GTI (spy photo)

Although our spy photographer didn't get a shot of the inside, it should stick pretty close in design to the regular Golf, which is getting a radical interior redesign. The GTI will likely get plaid cloth seats, a golf-ball-like shifter, additional red accents, and a sportier steering wheel to distinguish it from the standard car.

a car driving down a street: 2021 Volkswagen GTI (spy photo)© Chris Doane Automotive 2021 Volkswagen GTI (spy photo)

The Mark 8 should use an evolution of the current GTI's EA888 engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. In the U.S.-market Mark 7 that powertrain produces 228 horsepower, but special models in Europe like the TCR make 286 horsepower. Rumors suggest the "base" Mark 8 GTI could make 250 horsepower, while a higher-end model will offer closer to 300. Transmission choices should remain the same, meaning a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

a car driving on a road: 2021 Volkswagen GTI (spy photo)© Chris Doane Automotive 2021 Volkswagen GTI (spy photo)

The standard Golf will be revealed in a few months, with the GTI following soon after. Recently, a report came out saying the GTI would be the lowest-end version of the Mark 8 Golf that will be sold in the U.S., meaning no base Golf-that was slightly debunked by a VW spokesperson, but it could still be true. We think that if the Mark 8 GTI does become the entry-level Golf, its cost could come down a bit from the 2019 model's $28,490 base price.

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