The new eighth-generation GTI has landed and ’s got its hands on one. It has an angrier face and the new interior has an allergy to buttons, but on paper it has a lot in common with the last one. We head to the Anglesey track to see if there’s any revelations in the corners and new magic in the chassis. Is VW’s new hot hatch really as sensible as it looks? Series 28: Geneva Online Motor Show: First Look: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.Want to share your views with the team?
for 45 years the golf gti has been bringing fun to the masses the quintessential do-it-all family car with a bit of a rebellious streak it’s the classless performance car the thinking man’s hot hatch and now there’s a new eighth generation gti firstly uh sorry about all the banging we are in wales and the weather’s taken a little bit of a turn now based funnily enough on the 8th generation golf you can tell this new gti from its slightly angrier face you’ve got this full width honeycomb grille down at the bottom with these led lights punched into it you’ve also got now a full width led strip that runs straight across there sounds cool but when you see it at night i think you’ll agree it looks a bit weird alloys that are trying a bit harder around the back wider set tailpipes and bigger gti badges you can only buy this in a five door now but the point is it’s not as subtle as it once was perhaps the angry exterior is compensating for the lack of changes under the skin because compared to its predecessor there aren’t many yes faster performance pack and r versions will arrive in time but for now it’s 242 brake horsepower from basically the same two liter four cylinder turbo as it had before that’s the same amount of power as the old mark 7 performance pack mustard but still a fair bit behind rivals like the i30n focus st and megan rs it’s still front-wheel drive still based on the mqb platform and they’re still a choice of six-speed manual or the more popular seven-speed dsg gearbox now i’m not saying there’s anything wrong with vw’s if it ain’t broke don’t fix it approach it’s just not very interesting is it at least they’ve included gti staples like tartan cloth on the seats and this dimpled golf ball gear knob here although i can’t remember seeing any golf balls that were that shape and here is where vw has really flexed its creativity with this virtually buttonless interior and you know what i don’t like it at all don’t get me wrong it looks fantastic it looks futuristic the touchscreen responds well to your inputs and it will match the minimalist aesthetic of your iphone but it turns the simplest of commands into a massive ball lake imagine you’re driving down the road and there’s some decent twisty bits coming up ahead you might want to slacken off the electronic stability control put it in esc sport to do that i have to jab vehicle vehicle again exterior swipe brakes for some reason esc system esc sport yup and then back to the home screen it’s just ridiculous how many jabs was that seven and i’m supposed to do all that while i’m concentrating on driving down the road and that’s not all the steering wheel in front of me it looks fantastic but i’ve counted it up and there’s 19 separate buttons on here and they’re not even buttons it’s just a flat glossy surface with haptic feedback even the key fob down here has done away with physical buttons in favor of this glossy dimpled surface when did the world become allergic to buttons anyway back to the good stuff the seats are comfortable the driving position is spot on the weather appears to be clearing up a bit and there’s a button down here that’s throbbing i think that means it’s time for a drive let’s just get this out the way early shall we this isn’t a particularly fast car not on paper or when you compare it to super hatches like the rs3 and mercedes a45s but the thing that you realize quite quickly is that doesn’t matter half as much as you think it does i mean it’s still pretty quick and how fast do you want your front wheel drive hatch to be when you hit the throttle there is a little bit of turbo lag but the torque band on this car is just ridiculously wide it’s from something like 1600 rpm to 4300 rpm so the game is to try and keep it on the boil and keep it in that band and with this manual gear shift that we’ve got here which is quite light and precise does a good job and that little bit of turbo lag there’s a bit of old-school flavor to the way this car drives and that’s a very good thing new for this car is something vw calls vdm or vehicle dynamics manager it’s basically a computer that collates the inputs from all the various systems around the car stuff like your steering angle the slip at the front wheels which gear you’re in and rather than those systems deciding individually what the best course of action is it collects all that information makes the tech work in harmony and what it should do is make you faster through the corners and make sure you’re having more fun and you know what it works it’s not a night and day different driving experience to the mark 7 gti but it does feel a little bit taller a little bit more agile the suspension is stiffer especially at the rear which is designed to give the car a bit more playful attitude in the corners a bit more adjustability on the throttle yeah i’m enjoying this there’s a strange thing happening to my face i think i’m having fun the thing is most golf gtis aren’t going to be driven by the scruff of the neck most of the time so if i just back off here knock back the dcc adaptive dampers individual mode into their softest setting that’s done on a sliding scale now rather than three distinct settings it’s quite a nice touch then the gti is very happy to kick back and play this refined grown-up family car that’s capable of covering big distances try doing that in the megan rs or honda civic type r without needing back realignment surgery afterwards you can’t with prices likely to start from a little under 35 grand the spec sheet warriors out there will be quick to point out there are several other options for that money with 50 to 60 horsepower more but the question you need to ask yourself is is 242 horsepower enough for me absolutely because it’s powering a car that’s subtly sharper to drive when you’re cracking on but one that still does the everyday things as well as any normal hatch out there you’re paying for that bandwidth for those rock-solid residuals and that annoying sensible but shrewd image all gti owners project gti’s are the 911s of the hot hatch world they don’t need to make any great leaps forward every five years they just subtly evolve and polish up their act until it’s bloody hard to choose anything else and with the exception of that backward step interior this does just that to paint a picture of what kind of a car this is i’ll make a prediction we’re here at speed week in wales we’ve got 18 contenders to choose from and this is going to spend most of its time in the pit lane unloved and ignored in favor of the shinier faster stuff but when it comes to the big drive home from wales and who’s going to keep this for the next week i guarantee you there’s going to be a fight for the keys proper everyday hero this car and it just got a little bit better