Hooniverse Asks: What do you think of the new Volkswagen GTI?

Volkswagen is showing off an all-new GTI. This version marks the eighth-generation of the warmed-up hatchback. And it’s making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. So what’s new? Well, it clearly has a new look about it. You can still get plaid seats on the inside, which is a nice tie-in to the past versions of the car. And buyers in other markets can also shop for a GTD (diesel) or GTE (hybrid) version of the car.

The GTI employs VW’s EA888 engine up front. This version makes 245 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, and it pairs with a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission also available.

I’m certain the latest GTI will be a delight to drive. I’m not as certain that the style works for me personally. This car seems angrier than it needs to be. There’s a clear scowl across the face and at the same time, I also see a bit of “unfrozen caveman lawyer” in there as well.

What do you think? How do you feel about the eighth-generation Volkswagen GTI?

15 Comments

  1. I really like the grille compared to the newest jetta. It doesn’t look like it was designed for chinese design tastes in mind.

  2. Not bad, but I definitely prefer the Mk VI and Mk VII. The Mk V was too soft and bubbly-looking for me; the Mk VII was starting to get a little sharp/angular for my taste, but still quite nice; the Mk VI was kinda the sweet spot. This, I’m not even really sure how to categorize, but first reaction is the headlights feel too small and/or the lower grille is too large.

    Having said all of that….man, how much more can they squeeze out of the EA888? Not only does it appear to be evergreen, they keep turning up the wick. I know these engines used to respond extremely well to chiptunes; I wonder how much of the power increases made to them over the past few generations has been due to VW just running more-aggressive tunes/eating into what probably started as a quite large safety margin, and how much has been due to structural or design improvements.

    [Edit: I forgot that the EA888 was also used in the Mk VII Golf R and cranked up to even more power, so the ~250 hp in this application is really nothing new. My curiosity as to where those extra horses came from remains, however.]

    1. I _think_ they might carry the same rating in all markets, and most refer to continuous power rating, ie not taking into account overboost that is what is seen on dynos.

  3. I really like the grille compared to the newest jetta. It doesn’t look like it was designed for chinese design tastes in mind.

  4. Looks-wise, I think the entire front clip is a step back from the Mk7. That is actually a huge understatement, because the Mk7 still turns my head for its combination of tidy elegance and chunky, muscular elements. This car is ugly not just in comparison, but outright. The headlights suggest sullen eyes under a heavy brow, and the lower grille now looks like a gaping toothless mouth. It’s not bad viewed from the rear, but it has lost some of the solid “carved-from-stone” stance of the Mk7. I’m admittedly no VW fanboy (mainly because of my dislike of FWD), but I find the Mk6 handsome and the Mk7 downright gorgeous.

    I’ve heard some people complaining that VW didn’t change enough– that this car is too similar to its predecessor and isn’t much more than a facelift. Whatever– I’ve rarely been impressed by celebrity facelifts, and this one suggests the surgeon should be sued.

    1. Just walked past a coworker’s Mk7 and it’s very similar but has the ‘character line’ below the lights instead of above on the 8. The 8 looks a bit more ‘blobby’ overall in pictures at least.

  5. I felt the opposite. The GTI always had a style that showed it was serious. Not exactly angry, but purposeful and it communicated that it meant business. Don’t mess with me.

    This one looks sleepy. The wheels look like accessory wheels for an Accord. Nice, but not particularly aggressive. The look doesn’t communicate the capabilities of the GTI the way the older ones did for me.

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