The Upcoming 2021 VW Golf GTI Has Lights in Its Grille, and it Rules

Semi-autonomous and Car2X tech, meet plaid seats.

byChris Tsui|
Volkswagen News photo

Ahead of a full reveal at March's Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen has released a single sketch of the upcoming Golf GTI's front end and, big surprise, it looks like a GTI. Also, it has freaking lights on its grille.

Based on the new Mk8 Golf that debuted late last year, the next-gen VW hot hatch will apparently feature a version of the model's signature honeycomb grille that now lights up and sits under an optional light bar that spans the width of the upper grille, just like the diesel-powered GTD that VW teased in a similar fashion last week. 

And here's a shot of the regular Golf for comparison.

2020 Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen

VW hasn't released any visuals of the rest of the car but the automaker promises the new GTI will, like the old ones, get its own rear diffuser, two exhaust tips, and the obligatory plaid cloth seats. It isn't confirmed yet but we'd be willing to bet its shift knob will be styled after that tiny ball rich dudes like to knock into faraway holes for fun as well.

While its styling sounds pretty classic GTI, the tech onboard is supposedly anything but. In addition to a Digital Cockpit instrument cluster and leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls, the Mk8 GTI will get the regular Golf's Car2X tech which lets it communicate with other cars and objects up to 875 yards away. Provided infrastructure can keep up (which, if we're honest, is quite an ask for many cities), future Golfs can be warned of looming traffic jams, oncoming emergency vehicles, or an emergency braking event by a nearby car ahead of time, potentially improving traffic flow and preventing collisions. Like universal healthcare or high-speed rail, however, Car2X sounds cool but we can't honestly see it becoming the norm anytime soon.

While we're on the subject of things most Americans won't actually be able to test out, the new GTI's assisted driving tech will apparently be able to semi-autonomously pilot the car at autobahn-ready speeds of up to 130 mph.

Power figures have yet to be confirmed but Volkswagen says "The power delivery of the GTI turbo engine will exceed expectations," while a previous leak alleged that the car would produce 241 hp, up from the current car's 228. By our spoiled-child math, that must mean the actual Mk8 GTI will make something like 341 horses. Right?

The speculation will end once Volkswagen officially debuts this thing at Geneva in early March and rolls it out to dealerships—U.S. ones included—sometime in the second half of this year.

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