The 2021 VW GTI has finally been revealed, and it doesn’t mess with the formula. Inside and out, its only a little more aggressive looking than the regular eighth-generation Golf. Those mild exterior changes hide a punchy turbo four-cylinder that’s even more potent than the last one.
That engine is an updated version of the same EA888 turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that powers the current GTI. Power has increased from 228 to 241 horses, and torque is up from 258 pound-feet to 273. A six-speed manual transmission remains standard while a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is an option. Power still goes to the front wheels, and suspension duties are handled by MacPherson struts at the front and a multilink design at the rear.
While they won’t come to America, it’s worth noting that Europe will get diesel GTD and plug-in hybrid GTE variants. The former comes only with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and makes 197 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The PHEV makes the same 241 horsepower as the GTI and torque that happens to match the 295 pound-feet of the GTD, plus it boasts 37 miles of electric range.
Surrounding the GTI’s pumped-up engine is a basic Golf body enhanced with classic GTI touches and some more aggressive bodywork. A red accent line runs across the front on the top edge of the headlights. It lines up with the red GTI badges on the fenders, too. On the European GTE, those accents are blue, and the GTD gets gray accents. The lower grille now has a hexagonal mesh instead of slats, and it looks completely open the whole way across. Hidden on either side are sets of five fog lights that are nearly invisible when switched off. Another neat piece of lighting is the full-width daytime running light. The GTI also gets a more aggressive front splitter, side skirts, rear spoiler and diffuser. The GTI’s badge is now larger and is displayed proudly in the middle of the rear hatch below the VW badge. Standard wheels are just 17 inches in diameter, though 18- and 19-inch wheels are available optionally.
The GTI’s interior is nearly identical to that of the regular Golf except for a few details. The standard seats are more aggressively bolstered and wear a new version of the GTI’s signature plaid upholstery. A sportier leather-wrapped steering wheel replaces the standard unit, and it features touch controls. On dual-clutch-equipped GTIs, the center console hosts a little shifter nub like you’d find in a new 911. GTIs also come standard with the 10.25-inch instrument display and 10-inch infotainment display. Ambient lighting is also featured and can display 30 colors.
We expect the VW GTI to go on sale in the U.S. later this year. Naturally, pricing hasn’t been announced, but expect that and more details on U.S. equipment to arrive closer to the on-sale date. The current GTI has a base price of just over $29,000, so the new one will probably start at a similar price.