2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI evaluation: Predictably top-notch

There is a full-width LED working gentle hidden between the headlights. Fortunately, it does not seem like a unibrow at night time.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

We have now no alternative however to warn you that this complete evaluation is one huge tease. The pair of 2022 Volkswagen GTIs we examined have German entrance license plates, a forewarning of kinds, for the reason that eighth-gen GTI continues to be months away from occurring sale within the US, together with its higher-performance sibling, the Golf R. When you can preserve it in your pants, although, the reward can be value it, as a result of VW’s newest scorching hatch is such a delight.

LikeTorquey turbo four-potSharp handlingPlaid!

Do not LikeIffy front-end stylingDumb new cup holders

The Volkswagen Golf will not be a automotive of radical reinvention, and the 2022 GTI’s type greater than reinforces that notion. From the rear, the hatchback seems to be extra like a refreshed seventh-gen, with some extra polygonal taillights and a few extra bumper creases. Solely ahead of the A-pillars do you start to see some true newness. However I am nonetheless not totally offered on the sloping-brow entrance finish, which supplies the automotive a dose of Geico caveman aesthetic. The total-width working lights and quintuple-hexagon fog lights are cool additions, although. The 19-inch alloy wheels look nice, too, and whereas they’re fairly massive for a compact automotive, they do not seem like caricatures, leaving greater than sufficient area for some sidewall meat.

There’s extra revolution than evolution inside, and stated revolution clearly got here for the buttons, as a result of they’re virtually all gone. Contact-sensitive panels now cowl the steering wheel and dashboard, eliminating practically each piece of bodily switchgear. Offered you are cool with that, it makes for a clear, uncluttered look. Whereas 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 snug and supportive as ever; leather-based is overrated, of us.

Different components of the inside are somewhat hit and miss. Whereas 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 issue, although, comes with making an attempt to suit a second drink in there; whereas it is potential, something bigger than the smallest Crimson Bull can goes to smash uncomfortably in opposition to the drink subsequent to it, which may spell bother. A number of the plastics really feel flimsier than on its predecessor. Take the “telephone home” 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 three seconds from snapping off. Using piano-black trim on each floor meant for touching means fingerprints will virtually at all times be seen.

These 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 lightweight contact alone, so you may drag your finger alongside the amount slider and make bigger changes extra rapidly. Nevertheless, accuracy will not be nice, so your eardrums may get greater than they bargained for. Additionally, VW did not suppose to light up the amount and temperature sliders on the backside of the display, making any changes far more irritating at night time.

When you’ve pushed every other latest 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 is a house display that may show a number of kinds of info directly, and a fast faucet of the house button on the left aspect of the display makes leaping between pages sufficiently simple. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are good touches, particularly in the event 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, now, too, carrying some enjoyable graphics whereas permitting for a terrific diploma of customizability. An out there HUD brings related info a lot nearer to my eyes, though we would not precisely name it mandatory given how nicely the gauges convey issues.

All these cares soften away the second you begin driving the 2022 VW GTI in earnest. Excessive-quality caning has at all times been on the coronary heart of the GTI expertise, and the eighth-gen automotive makes no main alterations in that regard. It is 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 a typical limited-slip differential and both a six-speed handbook or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Utilizing a lightweight foot and short-shifting round city returns clean, gradual ahead movement, however dig somewhat 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 clean begins and shifts, and the lever itself affords 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.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

As for the DSG-equipped automotive we examined in California, it is extra proof that Volkswagen’s dual-clutch unit is likely one of the greatest. Sure, it nonetheless tends to jerkily interact 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 pleased 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 chic within the switchbacks. Adaptive dampers remove any trace of physique roll with out making the trip so stiff as to be annoying, and the mode swap additionally provides a pleasant little bit of weight to the electrical energy steering. Mixed with the aforementioned limited-slip diff, the brand new GTI is noticeably extra agile whereas cornering. The seventh-gen automotive was no slouch whereas carving by California canyons, however the brand new automotive is solely extra wanting to dive into hairpins and affords higher traction on nook exit. Actually, the brand new GTI is nearer to last-gen Golf R ranges of on-road pleasure.

But, when it is time to chill, rolling in Consolation virtually appears like a special automotive 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 actual fact, the entire shebang feels considerably extra grownup with out dropping sight of the GTI’s inherent playful nature. If there’s one system that we’re pleased 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 blended metropolis and freeway, we see round 26 or 27 mpg, which is what the feds charge 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.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Even with some newfound energy and options — and, assumingly, the marginally greater price ticket to match — the GTI’s competitors stays about the identical as typical. The Honda Civic Si is because of enter a brand new technology 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 provides the VW a reasonably strong run for its cash, nevertheless it’s not out there as a real five-door and its cabin merely is not as good. If you’d like an inside extra intently resembling a luxurious automotive, you may step it up with the Mazda3 Turbo, which is not a efficiency variant per se, but it nonetheless strikes like one.

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

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