There’s a full-width LED operating gentle hidden between the headlights. Thankfully, it does not seem like a unibrow at night time.

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We don’t have any selection however to warn you that this whole evaluation is one large tease. The pair of 2022 Volkswagen GTIs we examined have German entrance license plates, a forewarning of types, for the reason that eighth-gen GTI continues to be months away from happening sale within the US, together with its higher-performance sibling, the Golf R. If you’ll be able to preserve it in your pants, although, the reward shall be price it, as a result of VW’s newest sizzling hatch is such a delight.


  • Torquey turbo four-pot
  • Sharp dealing with
  • Plaid!

Don’t Like

  • Iffy front-end styling
  • Dumb new cup holders

The Volkswagen Golf shouldn’t be a automobile of radical reinvention, and the 2022 GTI’s type greater than reinforces that notion. From the rear, the hatchback seems extra like a refreshed seventh-gen, with some extra polygonal taillights and a few extra bumper creases. Only ahead of the A-pillars do you start to see some true newness. But I’m nonetheless not absolutely bought on the sloping-brow entrance finish, which provides the automobile a dose of Geico caveman aesthetic. The full-width operating lights and quintuple-hexagon fog lights are cool additions, although. The 19-inch alloy wheels look nice, too, and whereas they’re fairly giant for a compact automobile, they do not seem like caricatures, leaving greater than sufficient area for some sidewall meat.

There’s extra revolution than evolution inside, and mentioned revolution clearly got here for the buttons, as a result of they’re nearly all gone. Touch-sensitive panels now cowl the steering wheel and dashboard, eliminating practically each piece of bodily switchgear. Provided you are cool with that, it makes for a clear, uncluttered look. While the overall form of the dashboard has modified, the inside feels nearly as roomy because it did earlier than, with ample glass making means for ample sunshine and powerful visibility from all sides. The GTI’s plaid seats are again and simply as comfy and supportive as ever; leather-based is overrated, of us.

Other components of the inside are just a little hit and miss. While the middle console’s armrest storage continues to be small, VW straight-up made the cup holders worse. Now, two drinks are relegated to this bizarre indentation the place a small button pops out a spring-loaded cup holder for smaller-diameter drinks. The downside, although, comes with attempting to suit a second drink in there; whereas it is doable, something bigger than the smallest Red Bull can goes to smash uncomfortably towards the drink subsequent to it, which may spell bother. Some of the plastics really feel flimsier than on its predecessor. Take the “phone house” forward of the shifter, for instance; whereas we love that it holds a telephone in place and out of view, its lid feels prefer it’s at all times about 3 seconds from snapping off. The use of piano-black trim on each floor meant for touching means fingerprints will nearly at all times be seen.

Those touch-sensitive bits can show difficult in different methods. The GTI’s steering wheel buttons are clicky, however they’re additionally able to working by a light-weight contact alone, so you’ll be able to drag your finger alongside the amount slider and make bigger changes extra rapidly. However, accuracy shouldn’t be nice, so your eardrums may get greater than they bargained for. Also, VW did not assume to light up the amount and temperature sliders on the backside of the display screen, making any changes far more irritating at night time.

If you’ve got pushed another current GTI, the eighth-gen mannequin will really feel like second nature.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

VW’s newest infotainment system is a strong step ahead, with a contemporary aesthetic and an admirable boot time when chilly. There’s a house display screen that may show a number of sorts of data without delay, and a fast faucet of the house button on the left aspect of the display screen makes leaping between pages sufficiently straightforward. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are good touches, particularly in case you’ve been lagging on updating your telephone cords, for the reason that 2022 GTI is a USB-C-only affair. The gauge cluster is a display screen, now, too, carrying some enjoyable graphics whereas permitting for an awesome diploma of customizability. An out there HUD brings related data a lot nearer to my eyes, though we would not precisely name it mandatory given how effectively the gauges convey issues.

All these cares soften away the second you begin driving the 2022 VW GTI in earnest. High-quality caning has at all times been on the coronary heart of the GTI expertise, and the eighth-gen automobile makes no main alterations in that regard. It’s extra enjoyable than some sports activities automobiles costing twice as a lot, and all of it begins with the GTI’s turbo four-cylinder fuel engine, which in its newest iteration produces 242 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, all of which is routed to the entrance wheels by means of a regular limited-slip differential and both a six-speed handbook or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Using a light-weight foot and short-shifting round city returns easy, gradual ahead movement, however dig just a little deeper into the pedal throw and the two.0-liter EA888 will throw an absolute wall of torque at you, pushing the hatch ahead with stunning haste. The clutch pedal is properly weighted and has a definitive chew level, making for easy begins and shifts, and the lever itself gives simply the correct amount of notch because it slinks between gates.

The EA888 may not seem like a lot from a distance, however there is a mountain of torque emanating from beneath that engine cowl.

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As for the DSG-equipped automobile we examined in California, it is extra proof that Volkswagen’s dual-clutch unit is without doubt one of the finest. Yes, it nonetheless tends to jerkily have interaction first gear when beginning off, however from that time on, shifts are seamless and fast. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters themselves are fairly small, however they provide instantaneous response. If paddles aren’t your factor, you will be completely happy to know the DSG ‘field will maintain gears so long as you need in Sport mode, with the cutest little farty brapp with every upshift.

The GTI is positively elegant within the switchbacks. Adaptive dampers remove any trace of physique roll with out making the journey so stiff as to be annoying, and the mode change additionally provides a pleasant little bit of weight to the electrical energy steering. Combined with the aforementioned limited-slip diff, the brand new GTI is noticeably extra agile whereas cornering. The seventh-gen automobile was no slouch whereas carving by means of California canyons, however the brand new automobile is just extra desperate to dive into hairpins and gives higher traction on nook exit. Honestly, the brand new GTI is nearer to last-gen Golf R ranges of on-road pleasure.

Yet, when it is time to chill, rolling in Comfort nearly looks like a special automobile completely. The stiff damping ceding to a smoothness that dispatches annoying bumps and jostles with little or no motion transferring to the occupants; over Michigan potholes and California freeway enlargement joints, the GTI is a doll. Cabin isolation feels a step above its predecessor, too. In truth, the entire shebang feels considerably extra grownup with out dropping sight of the GTI’s inherent playful nature. If there’s one method that we’re completely happy to see over and over with little adjustment, it is this one.

We’re so distant from the 2022 GTI’s US launch that the EPA has not but launched fuel-economy figures, however that is what the journey laptop is for. Over a pair hundred miles of combined metropolis and freeway, we see round 26 or 27 mpg, which is what the feds price the outgoing GTI in mixed use. Longer stretches of freeway push the needle north of 30 mpg, supplied you cease glomming on the throttle simply to really feel the torque do its factor.

The GTI’s makeover does not mess with that good-looking form.

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Even with some newfound energy and options — and, assumingly, the marginally larger price ticket to match — the GTI’s competitors stays about the identical as traditional. The Honda Civic Si is because of enter a brand new era within the close to future, and whereas it is nonetheless out there in two physique types (coupe and sedan), it is not as enjoyable to drive because the GTI. The Hyundai Veloster N offers the VW a reasonably strong run for its cash, but it surely’s not out there as a real five-door and its cabin merely is not as good. If you need an inside extra intently resembling a luxurious automobile, you’ll be able to step it up with the Mazda3 Turbo, which is not a efficiency variant per se, but it nonetheless strikes like one.

The wait shall be price it for the 2022 Volkswagen GTI. The components that got a dose of radical reinvention do not get in the best way of the driving expertise, which stays as exhilarating and redeeming as ever. There’s a superb cause that is the recent hatch by which most are in contrast, and it does not seem that development shall be altering any time quickly.

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