2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R Mk8 launched in the US – up to 315 hp; manual and DSG; from RM124k

During this year’s Chicago Auto Show, Volkswagen took the time to launch the latest Golf GTI and Golf R in the United States, which will arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2021. The hot hatches are the only variants of the Mk8 that customers there will have access to for now, as there appears to be no plans to bring in non-performance options following the end of Golf production in the country in January.

The Golf GTI will have a starting price of USD29,545 (RM124,119) and will be offered in three trim levels, including the S, SE and Autobahn. Meanwhile, the Golf R comes in one fully-loaded trim that retails at USD43,645 (RM183,353).

“The previous Golf GTI and Golf R models were widely regarded as the best hot hatches you could buy, but the Mark 8 versions up the ante,” said Hein Schafer, senior vice president of product marketing and strategy at Volkswagen of America. “Now built in Wolfsburg, the cars have more performance, better handling, more standard equipment and improved tech features, yet minimal price increases,” he added.

Based on the eighth-generation Golf, the GTI is identified by its specific badging and distinctive X-shaped fog lamps and a honeycomb mesh for the lower grille. Elsewhere, the upper grille features a red line accent, along with red brake calipers and dual exhaust tips. This variant is offered in Oryx White Pearl, Moonstone Grey, Kings Red Metallic, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Reflex Silver Metallic, and Deep Black Pearl, as well as Pomelo Yellow Metallic, a special Autobahn-only launch colour.

Meanwhile, the R gets a blue grille line and brake calipers instead, plus front and rear bumpers that are visually more aggressive – the latter has a prominent diffuser and quad exhaust tips. The exterior colour options are limited by comparison, with only Lapiz Blue Metallic, Pure White and Deep Black Pearl being made available.

Under the bonnet, both feature Volkswagen’s EA888 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which can be paired with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed DSG dual-clutch.

The engine makes 241 hp and 370 Nm of torque (up 13 hp from the Mk7) in the GTI, while the R is naturally more powerful, with 315 hp and 400 Nm on tap. With the DSG, the R’s peak torque is reduced to 380 Nm. Regardless of powertrain, both will hit a limited top speed of 249 km/h.

The GTI is front-wheel drive and comes with an electronically controlled torque-sensing limited-slip VAQ differential. The all-wheel drive R gets Volkswagen’s 4Motion system with rear-axle torque vectoring that can distribute up to 100 percent of the rear torque to an individual rear wheel via two multi-plate clutches. The company’s DCC adaptive damping system is standard on the R and optional on the GTI.

Available kit includes LED headlamps, 18- or 19-inch wheels, MIB3 Composition Media or Discover Pro infotainment, IQ.Drive assistance systems, fabric or leather upholstery, a 30-colour ambient lighting system, single- or triple zone Climatronic Touch system, a 480-watt Harman Kardon sound system, 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro display and a head-up display.

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