VOLKSWAGEN’s Mk8 Golf and hot hatch GTI have acquired the additional ability to almost drive themselves thanks to the addition of the German car maker’s IQ.DRIVE platform, and will land in dealers hot little hands very soon.
On sale from 24 May and priced from $29,350 (plus on-roads) for the base model, through to the range topping GTI at $53,100 (plus on-roads), the new Mk8 scores the near fully autonomous open road capability, and VW’s Innovision Cockpit.
The simplified range will be made up of the Golf, Golf Life and Golf R-Line, with the GTI sitting atop the tree, with the latter receiving all the goodies the range has to offer.
With a 5-star EURO NCAP safety rating, the Mk8 Golf range will feature Travel Assist, Volkswagen’s semi-autonomous setting that is capable of accelerating, braking and maintaining the Golf’s position within its lane in open road driving.
Front assist with pedestrian and cyclist monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, oncoming vehicle braking when turning, driver fatigue detection, side assist, rear traffic alert, and a rear view camera are standard.
Likewise, park assist, emergency assist, and an exit warning system are included.
Interior trim is also refined, with new finishes and seat stitching across the range, and in the GTI, sports seats with integrated head restraints, reminiscent of the first Golf GTI, with red stitching and a tartan style fabric on the seat base and backrest areas.
These are complimented by stainless steel pedals, ambient lighting and black headlining. Having introduced the now ubiquitous flat bottomed sports steering wheel in the Mk5 GTI, the Mk8 features a re-designed version.
The GTI’s traditional honeycomb grille is echoed in patterns on the dash and doors, and in a unique touch, once the doors are opened, the new engine start/stop button pulses red until it has been started.
The core Golf range is powered by a 1.4-litre direct injection turbo petrol four cylinder engine with 110kW and 250Nm. It’s a carryover from the previous range, as the new power plants available in Europe are not designed for our high sulphur fuel.
Driven via an 8-speed Aisin torque converter automatic though the front wheels, the Golf’s fuel economy has been lowered to 5.8-litres/100km. The single manual option (in the Golf ‘base’ model), is good for 6.0-litres/100km.
Every core model features stop/start functionality, an electro mechanical parking brake, hill start assist in the auto variants, and auto hold on the manual model. The Mk8 also retains its independent rear suspension and MacPherson struts at the front.
Disc brakes, ventilated at the front, are standard to all variants. The Golf rides on 16-inch alloys, while the Life edition has 17-inch versions and the R-Line sports 18-inch offerings. The latter also employs sport suspension with a firmer tune, and sits 15mm lower.
The GTI is going up market too, with optional luxury add-ons set to put it in direct competition with the likes of Mercedes-Benz. Powered by a fourth generation EA888 2.0-litre turbo petrol four cylinder engine, it’s good for 180kW and 370Nm.
Fuel consumption from the upgraded 2019 engine is 7.0-litres/100km, with a sprint to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds. Drive to the front wheels is via the latest DQ381 7-speed wet clutch direct shift gearbox (DSG) now augmented by new shift by wire technology.
There is no stick for selecting gears, rather a toggle with a sports mode that frees space, manual gear selections being made by via steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles. As expected, the GTI has progressive steering and a front differential lock.
The new vehicle dynamics manager coordinates and activates the functions of the electronically controlled front-axle diff lock as well as the lateral dynamic components of the electronically controlled shock absorbers via adaptive chassis control.
You can have your Mk8 GTI in Pure White, Moonstone Grey Premium, Dolphin Grey Metallic, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Deep Black Pearl Effect, or Kings Red Premium Metallic. It’s also available with three and five year care plans.
For more info, visit your local Volkswagen dealer.