Finally, the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf GTI has been launched in Malaysia. After two rounds of previews late last year (paddy field and indoors), the only missing piece of the puzzle has now been revealed by Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) – the Pekan-assembled Golf GTI is priced at RM212,711 OTR with SST exemption, before insurance. VPCM includes five years of unlimited mileage warranty, three years of free maintenance and five years roadside assistance.

The previous Golf GTI, the Mk7.5, was launched here in 2019 for RM239,990, so this is a good price that’s surely down to local assembly. CKD for the Mk8 Golf is a big deal, especially for the GTI, which was only ever made in Germany and China. VPCM calls it a “historical milestone”.

Licking your lips already? Here’s what you’re getting for your RM212,711. The eighth generation of the hot hatch that started it all continues to be powered by an EA888 2.0L TSI engine, now making 245 PS and 370 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,300 rpm. That’s an increase of 15 PS and 20 Nm from the regular Mk7.5 GTI, and on par with the Performance Pack version of that car.

Of course, Malaysia gets the seven-speed DSG (wet) dual-clutch transmission instead of the available six-speed manual, and power goes to the front wheels, as it has always been for the GTI.

By the way, the 1.4L TSI engine of the Golf R-Line (order books open today, we have a separate piece for it) makes 150 PS and 250 Nm, so the GTI has a massive 95 PS and 120 Nm advantage, a big step up in the Golf performance ladder. It’s also the only Golf with the quicker DSG gearbox, now that the R-Line has gone 8AT. The GTI’s 0-100 km/h sprint time is 6.4 seconds (same as our Mk7.5 GTI) and top speed is 250 km/h.

Holding the car up are MacPherson struts at the front, multilink suspension at the rear, a front differential lock, XDS electronic differential lock and a sports suspension setup that’s 15 mm lower in ride height compared to the standard Golf. New for the Mk8 is a Vehicle Dynamics Manager control system that coordinates the operation of the diffs and DCC adaptive dampers. Bigger brake discs with red calipers, too.

Kit wise, the GTI gets LED Plus headlights (without the red strip to match the grille; that’s reserved for the higher spec IQ.Light matrix units), LED light bars that go all the way to the logo (not DRLs) and LED taillights, as well as a set of 18-inch Richmond alloys (225/40 Bridgestone Potenza S005).

GTI-specific cues include the trademark red strip on the grille and a honeycomb mesh for the lower grille. Note that the latter does not have the embedded five-point LED fog light option.

Besides the above, you can spot a GTI from the twin chrome exhaust pipes (unlike the R-Line, these are real), a slightly more pointy rear wing (difference is barely visible), and the rear GTI badge, which replaces the central Golf wording below the VW emblem. The GTI is as understated as performance hatchbacks come and it’s only the details that separate it from the already-sporty look of the R-Line.

Move inside and you’ll find a minimalist cabin for the Mk8 Golf. It’s all modern and digital – screens aside, the lighting controls and cluster between the central AC vents are touch sensitive, and the steering buttons are also capacitive.

Beside the 10.25-inch digital instrument panel is a 10-inch Discover Media touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, linked to seven speakers. The only knob you’ll find is for the wing mirrors; even the “gear knob” is nothing more than a tiny protrusion on the sloping centre console.

GTI-only goodies include perforated Vienna leather sport seats (automatic with lumbar and memory for the driver, leather is what buyers of a RM200k car expect here, so no tartan cloth), GTI-specific red gauges on the digital instrument cluster, red trim and GTI logo on the steering wheel (with shift paddles), red piping and stitching on the grey-black seats (not on the steering though) and honeycomb trim on the dashboard.

Click to enlarge pricelist

The kit list also includes voice command, 3D navigation, keyless entry with push start, triple-zone auto air con (includes rear vents with temp control and Air Care filter), an electronic parking brake with auto hold, tyre pressure loss indicator, ambient lighting (30 colours, five presets), auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated wing mirrors and automatic headlamps/wipers. As for charging, there are two USB-C ports in front and two at the back.

As you’d expect, the cabin theme is all-black, including the pillars and headlining, broken up only by the grey panels on the seats and the sprinklings of red. As for exterior colours, the GTI can be had in five shades – Kings Red and Atlantic Blue (metallic), Moonstone Grey (solid) and Deep Black and Oryx White (pearl effect, no extra charge).

On the safety front, the GTI gets the usual six airbags, ABS and ESP. However, there’s zero driver assist tech and even basics like autonomous emergency braking (AEB) isn’t here. One thing of note is that there are Isofix points on the front passenger seat as well, not just the rear seats.

So, the latest Mk8 Golf GTI. The only downer here is safety kit, but perhaps hot hatch buyers are more forgiving in that department? Otherwise, it’s the same proven formula in new skin, with a cockpit that’s all in on digital. RM212k – what do you think?

GALLERY: 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk8