With the arrival of the Mk8.5 Volkswagen Golf, we had confirmation that GTI and GTE would be returning as the more performance-focused versions of the hatchback. However, the death knell has rung for the GTD, with the performance diesel absent for the facelift. Despite this, Volkswagen has said it “still believes” in the fuel.
Asked by Car Throttle about the culling of GTD during a roundtable interview, Kai Grunitz, head of technical development for Volkswagen, said the decision to kill the model was taken to focus development on the eHybrid and GTE plug-in variants. Two non-GT branded diesels remain, however. He added: “We still believe in the diesel. So it won’t die, but the focus of the customer group is a little different”.
GTD had been a mainstay in the Golf line-up since its reintroduction with the Mk6, having originally featured on the first three generations of the hatchback - even surviving throughout the dieselgate scandal and through to the pre-facelift Mk8 Golf. With this generation of the Golf marking the end of the internal combustion engine for the nameplate, however, it’s all but certain the GTD badge will be confined to the history books.
What will carry on into the electric age is the Golf itself. Volkswagen has yet to explicitly confirm that a ninth-generation version will exist, and the continued production of the Golf-sized ID.3 would naturally cast doubt over it entering an electric generation. However, Grunitz stated that Volkswagen “won’t kill the Golf” and that he expects the next version to be “fully electric”.
When asked what a fully-electric Golf GTI would feel like, Grunitz added: “You can have a sporty car for the whole day, but you can also be comfortable when you drive to the supermarket, to an event at the theatre. You can do it in a sporty way or a comfortable way”