Tech. That’s the key takeaway from the reveal of the VW Golf 8 - the car is absolutely stuffed full of it. New driving assistance functions, a fancy head-up display, electrified drivetrains, Amazon Alexa - we could go on.
We get why - it’s stuff like this that makes a car sell these days. But what about for the few of us that actually care about the bit between getting from A to B? Thankfully, amongst all the millennial-wooing gadgets, there’s plenty we already know about the latest Golf that should grab the average petrolhead’s attention.
VW hasn’t yet revealed the GTI version of the Golf 8, but we know it’s coming. Plus, we know the Golf 8 GTI won’t - as previously thought - be electrified in any way.
Probably the nicest surprise in the press release was the early confirmation of a GTI TCR. Rejoice!
It’ll be at least as powerful as the current one, which is good for 286bhp. Will it be available with a manual gearbox this time? We’ve no idea, but keep those fingers crossed.
Along with the announcement about the GTI TCR, VW also went on record about the standard GTI, the R and the GTD. We’re excited about the lot of them, but the GTD piques our interest in particular.
With VW’s emissions-fixing scandal wrecking the reputation of diesel worldwide and the company now pushing electrification enthusiastically, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if the GTD disappeared from the ranks. But the popular pokey Golf Derv is coming back. A 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI Golf 8 has already been confirmed - expect the GTD to use the same engine with at least another 30bhp to play with.
The car industry and buyers may be rapidly losing interest in the manual gearbox, but much of the Golf 8 range will still be available with stick. Not only that, but VW has built a “new, efficient” six-speed manual transmission for the 8. It’ll be fitted as standard on non-electrified front-wheel drive models.
The Golf 8 press release states that: “Following the launch of all engines, their output stages will range between 66 kW/90 PS and over 221 kW/300 PS”. Presumably, this means that the new Golf R will be kicking out 296bhp (300PS), making it no more powerful than before.
However, there have been various reports doing the rounds about a much more powerful ‘Plus’ version. Even VW’s sales and marketing boss Jurgen Stackmann has suggested that a circa 400bhp Golf R could work.
It’d be a long time coming - VW first flirted with the idea of a Golf like this some five and a half years ago via the R400 concept, a production version of which was expected to follow. Sadly, it became one of many post-dieselgate cost-cutting casualties.
If you want a quick Golf without having to wait for the GTI, GTI TCR, R or GTD (all of which are launching over the course of the next year,” VW says), you might be swayed by the GTE. The last one was a reasonably quick thing, but the newer model is punchier still. Its 1.4-litre inline-four engine and electric motor combo are good for 242bhp, matching the output of the post-facelift Golf 7 GTI Performance.
That extra power will be offset to an extent by the 13kWh battery pack, which is almost twice the size of the old one. On the flipside, this means the 19-mile electric-only range should grow considerably.
Which of the Golf 8’s many derivatives are you looking forward to most?