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Volkswagen Golf GTI previewed | Update

First image of Mk8 hot hatch shows it'll share a light strip and grille illumination with the GTD

By Dafydd Wood / Friday, February 21, 2020

Volkswagen has provided a first official glimpse of its upcoming Mk8 Golf GTI via a new rendered image of its nose. While little more than the front lights and grille are shown, the pic does confirm our assumptions that the GTI nose will gain little more than a red line and badge over to its GTD sibling. Both cars are headed to the Geneva motor show next month, with the GTI set for an anticipated - but yet to be confirmed - 245hp, matching the Mk7.5 GTI Performance from the get-go.

That’s pretty much all we have to go on for now as far as the 2.0-litre powerplant is concerned. Although VW has been kind enough to confirm that the illuminated crossbar of the pictured car will be optional, that the interior will get a fully digital cockpit and that the dash screens will have no fewer than 32 background colours. It all points to a bit of a tech fest aboard the eighth-gen hot hatch, which you may have noticed has gained a new family rival in the Cupra Leon, which also gets 245hp as its base power output.

Following the GTI’s launch at next month’s Geneva show, the Golf range will, of course, gain an R with an anticipated 329hp, while more special variants such as the TCR and – fingers crossed – Clubsport are also due. We're expecting them all to continue a trend of evolution rather than revolution. Which is no bad thing really, because the Mk7.5s were rather good…

Previous story: 14/02/2020

With the Mk8 Golf having been unveiled last October, we’ve had a good few months to come to terms with its new visage. Even on Valentine’s Day, though, it remains a hard look to love. 

Luckily, with the more sporting variants yet to come - including, apparently, a 329hp Golf R - there remains ample opportunity for things to improve. First up to the plate is the GTD, which is set to be revealed alongside the hotly-anticipated new GTI at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. 

“The charismatic design of the Golf GTD reflects a unique combination of dynamism and self-confidence,” its creator claims. Behind its bumper will lie the most powerful (197hp if rumours are true) and cleanest TDI engine ever fitted to a Golf, certainly giving the model the on-paper credentials to justify a bolder look. Which seems, we’d tentatively suggest, to be the case. 

The teaser photo seen here reveals a heavily revised front grille, with a hexagonal honeycomb structure and built-in Megane RS-style lights. The DRLs now run the full width of the bumper, while the bonnet creases appear more heavily defined than on the standard model. Not a lot to go on, then, but certainly reason enough to feel optimistic for now.

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