The all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI has been officially launched by Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM). Largely regarded as a very hot hatch, the GTI badge has been providing sporty driving pleasure since it was first launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1975. Of just as great a significance for this latest Golf GTI Mk 8 is its local assembly status, the first of such operations outside of Germany and China.
A Golf GTI is expected to be a thrilling ride and the 2.0L TSI turbocharged engine with 245 PS and 370 Nm of torque channeled through a 7-speed wet clutch DSG promises that. The car’s official fuel consumption is recorded at 7 l/100km, and also features engine battery regenerative braking capability. New and unique to the GTI Mk 8 is the Vehicle Dynamics Manager system which allows further driving personalisation including various pre-determined modes as well as individualised settings to choose from.
We were given a chance to try out the GTI on part of the Sepang track, and although the drive was quite brief, it still provided a taste of the competence of this iconic hot hatch. Briefly, the car’s handling is predictable and you don’t feel like you’re losing control even when you are off the racing line on purpose. There is enough understeer and lean to let you know the boundary. However, it is always advisable to not drive beyond your (or the car’s) capability. A more sensible on-road test drive session can be arranged at a Volkswagen dealership.
The car comes with some recognisable GTI cues such as the honeycomb grille, the red trim and twin tailpipes. The Mk 8 wears 18” Richmond alloy wheels (with anti-theft bolts) with red brake callipers, and like most new cars, is fitted with full LED headlamps and taillights. The DRL now features a lit strip that visually joins both headlamps.
The interior design of the GTI runs with a minimalist theme. The seats are upholstered in Vienna leather in grey tones and red accents and stitching. The front pair are sport seats with integrated headrest; the driver gets powered lumbar support adjustment and position memory. The dashboard includes a 10.25″ digital cockpit that is paired with a 10″ Discover Media infotainment touchscreen that is angled towards the driver. This is what VW calls the Driver’s Workspace. The digital experience includes multiple cockpit themes, including a GTI-specific skin, haptic touch controls, 3D navigation (with pre-loaded data of Malaysia), wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and an intuitive voice control system activated by the “Hello Volkswagen” phrase or a steering-mounted button. This feature assists in vehicle operations such as audio volume and zonal temperature (by detecting the location source of the voice). The 3-zone Climatronic air-conditioning has 2 main modes i.e. Smart Climate and Classic Climate, and each comes with various helpful functions. It is also equipped with Air Care to filter out pollen, spores, and particulates.
A notable feature for the driver is the diminutive shift-by-wire gear selector in place of a conventional gear lever. Another smart feature of the vehicle is the quick entry access by automatically unlocking the doors when vehicle key is within the detection zone. The GTI also comes with Tyre Pressure Loss Indicator that warns when there is loss of tyre pressure. For digital convenience, there are a pair each of USB-C ports in front, and USB in the rear. Further, the dual floored boot space provides 374 litres for storage.
Key safety features include ESC (Electronic Stability Control), Post Collision Braking System (that prevents a second collision), Electronic Differential Lock (XDS) that improves traction and reduces understeer, Driver Alert with fatigue detection, and 6 airbags.
“The GTI is certainly the most iconic three letters in the automotive industry. It has amassed loyal fans globally, and more so in Malaysia where we have a very passionate fanbase. We are proud that we are now rolling it out from our Pekan plant – a historical milestone, really. The new GTI is full of innovation, and we are sure that it too will set new standards and thrill our customers,” said Erik Winter, Managing Director of VPCM.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 8 is available in 5 colours i.e. metallic: Kings Red and Atlantic Blue; non-metallic: Moonstone Grey; and pearl: Deep Black and Oryx White. The car is priced at RM211,689.54 with the current sales tax exemption. VPCM supports with aftersales care through 3 years free maintenance, 5 years unlimited mileage warranty, and 5 years roadside assistance.
Bookings and test drive arrangements can be made at all authorised Volkswagen dealerships nationwide. Alternatively, you can visit the Volkswagen eShowroom at any time: https://eshowroom.volkswagen.com.my/.