Volkswagen Golf GTI review

Category: Hot hatch

Section: Introduction

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Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Front 3/4 tracking
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  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Steering wheel detail
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Boot
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Front 3/4 tracking
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Rear 3/4 tracking
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Dashboard
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Rear seats
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Infotainment screen
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Front tracking
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Left panning
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Front cornering
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Rear 3/4 static
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Front seats
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Driver's diplay
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Centre console
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Steering wheel detail
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI 2021 Boot
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Introduction

What Car? says...

What do the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Rubik's Cube have in common? Very little, if we’re honest, apart from the fact that both were launched back in the mid-1970s and have proved to be enduringly successful. But, while Ernő Rubik hasn’t had to do more than tweak his little cube occasionally since then, Volkswagen has had to reinvent the Golf GTI continually over the years. Can you believe this is the eighth generation of its seminal hot hatchback? Well, it is, so keep reading if you want to find out if this icon is still, well, iconic.

Now, the problem with being an icon is twofold. First, it heaps an awful lot of pressure on those engineers tasked with keeping it the same, but different, if you catch our drift – just imagine working to that kind of brief. And second, it means every one of your rivals thinks "I want a piece of that, please" and floods in with imitations.

Still, that's good news for buyers, because these days you can pick from a hot hatch pot that has swelled to bursting point. The Hyundai i30N Performance and entry-level Renault Mégane RS undercut the GTI on price, for instance, and then there are the models that  compete with it directly: the Ford Focus ST, and our benchmark hot hatch, the Honda Civic Type R

So, what has Volkswagen done to keep ahead of the game? Well, the Mk8 Golf GTI comes with a 242bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which, as usual, drives the front wheels. To please all the enthusiasts, there's a six-speed manual gearbox (which comes as standard), for added driver interaction, or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, for more everyday usability. And usability is still a big part of the Golf GTI's brief, but VW also claim that the Mk8 is the sharpest GTI yet through the twisty bits.

Click through to the next page to discover if it hits the spot and if it does, don’t forget that we can take all the effort out of buying your new car? If that sounds good, check out our New Car Buying service for a great, hassle-free deal.

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