The Volkswagen Golf is about to roll into its eighth generation, and while we already knew that the standard car would be a no-show here in the States, details on equipment and options for the performance variants like the GTI and Golf R have been scarce until recently. On Thursday, VW confirmed that the GTI will hit our shores in late 2021—and yes, there will still be a six-speed manual gearbox offered.
The new car will arrive in dealers' lots as a 2022 model and will feature a number of comfort, tech, safety, and handling upgrades, some of which are pretty unique in a car that should start around $30,000.
According to VW, the next GTI will come standard with the tartan plaid fabric upholstery that has been a fixture in the model line over the years, though perforated leather will be offered as an option. No matter what’s covering them, the front seats will come with standard heating, as will the steering wheel, which will also feature touch-sensitive controls. Adding leather upholstery also brings ventilated seats, which is a first for the GTI.
On the exterior, there's an illuminated grille that will feature LED lights running underneath the car’s signature red stripe. New ten-piece LED fog lights will sit in a honeycomb lower grille, and the GTI will get under-door puddle lights as standard kit.
A new digital cockpit display for the driver will join an 8.25-inch infotainment screen as standard equipment, though the most advanced features will be reserved for the optional 10-inch screen. Together with the digital cockpit display, the larger screens form what Volkswagen calls its “Innovision Cockpit.” It should function similar to the system in the latest Audi models, where maps and other information from the central screen are mirrored to some degree in the driver’s display. Lane-keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking, and pedestrian/cyclist detection are also standard equipment.
Underneath, the new car will feature a trick differential called VAQ, which is a torque-sensing limited-slip differential. VW says the unit will help the car overcome traction disadvantages of front-wheel-drive cars, including torque steer, which is a tendency in front-drive cars where hard acceleration causes a distortion in steering feel and direction. It also helps vector torque to apply power where it’s needed, such as when exiting a corner.
The unique differential first showed up on the Jetta GLI last year and uses a multi-plate clutch between the differential and right driveshaft. It functions like a normal system but uses a computer to control lockup instead of needing to adjust gears and clutch discs inside of a traditional unit.
The 2022 VW Golf GTI will make its appearance sometime late in 2021, but it won't be the only Golf variant we'll see here. The company says the Golf R is coming as well but has not yet decided which car will debut first.
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