Volkswagen of America introduced the Mk8 Golf GTI and Golf R at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show, along with full pricing and model details. The model year 2022 GTI introduces a plethora of interior and handling upgrades for the eighth generation of the original hot hatch, and has a starting MSRP of $29,545 for the S model with manual transmission. The fifth iteration of Volkswagen’s performance halo, the 2022 Golf R offers new performance-oriented content, premium features and further differentiation from the GTI, with a starting MSRP of $43,645 with manual transmission.
“The previous Golf GTI and Golf R models were widely regarded as the best hot hatches you could buy, but the Mark 8 versions up the ante,” said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America. “Now built in Wolfsburg, the cars have more performance, better handling, more standard equipment and improved tech features, yet minimal price increases.”
The 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R are an evolution of the Golf-family design formula. They are slightly longer and sportier, but still carry the styling hallmarks of their predecessors, such as the distinctive C-pillar. The Mark 8 cars have a fresh face courtesy of a more sharply raked hood, new signature LED headlights and an available light bar in the grille either side of the updated VW logo. The GTI bears distinctive new X-shaped foglights and new wheel designs along with the classic honeycomb lower grille, red grille line, red brake calipers and dual exhaust tips. Inside, GTI models still incorporate the golf ball design into the manual shift knob and boast standard plaid seats, though the eighth-generation car wears a new “Scalepaper” tartan pattern.
Volkswagen Golf R models feature a blue grille line and brake calipers, a new wheel design, more aggressive front and rear bumpers and diffusers than on GTI, a large two-piece rear spoiler, body-colored side sill extensions, and a quad-tipped exhaust system. The GTI is available in Oryx White Pearl, Moonstone Gray, Kings Red Metallic, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Reflex Silver Metallic, and Deep Black Pearl, as well as Pomelo Yellow Metallic, a special Autobahn-only launch color. Golf R is available in signature Lapiz Blue Metallic, as well as Pure White and Deep Black Pearl.
Wheelbases on both cars remain unchanged from the previous generation, at 103.6 inches for Golf GTI and 103.5 for Golf R. The Volkswagen Golf GTI is 168.8 inches long, and 57.6 inches high, with Golf R at 168.9 and 57.7 inches respectively, and both cars are 70.4 inches wide. Passengers have 91.9 cubic feet of interior space, with 41.2 inches of legroom in the front and 35.0 inches in the rear. With the rear seats up, there is 19.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which increases to 34.5 with the rear seats folded.
The latest iteration of the EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection TSI® engine is found in both U.S.-bound 2022 Golf models, making them the most powerful versions of the brand’s performance vehicles to date. In either model, the engine can be paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic. The GTI produces 241 horsepower-up 13 from the Mk7-and 273 lb-ft of torque (achieved with premium fuel). The Golf R now makes 315 horsepower-27 more than the previous generation-and 295 lb-ft of torque with the DSG transmission, or 280 lb-ft with the manual. Both models have an electronically limited top track speed of 155 mph.
On the Mk8 models, new vehicle dynamics settings closely integrate the electronic stability control (ESC) with the electronic differential lock (XDS®) and the optional DCC® adaptive damping system. By adapting the individual wheel damping 200 times a second, it can deliver particularly agile and accurate handling.