Volkswagen will soon launch the highly anticipated eighth-generation (Mk8) versions of the Golf GTI and the Golf R, both widely known as the “hot hatches” of choice for enthusiasts.
What better way for enthusiasts to get a sneak peek at these athletic siblings than at Fastivus, a grassroots celebration of Volkswagen performance. According to Megan Closset, Volkswagen of America product manager for the Golf family, the annual Fastivus event is built around driving, “because fun-to-drive is at the heart of Volkswagen DNA, and is one of the reasons why GTI, R32, and Golf R owners cherish their cars so much.”
Fastivus returns this year on Friday, Oct. 1, and Saturday, Oct. 2, shifting from the West Coast to the East Coast for the first time in its history. The centerpiece is a high-performance driving session for Volkswagen owners at Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia. It features professional driving instruction, plus a car show that highlights pre-production versions of the 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R, along with previous-generation GTI, R32, and Golf R models.
While Fastivus 2021 is sold out, it’s just the beginning of enthusiast excitement for these next-generation performance leaders.
Two iconic cars make one exhilarating leap forward
In recognition of their shared lineage, both the 2022 Golf GTI and the 2022 Golf R have been gifted with significant upgrades throughout. These cars “represent the most advanced Golf family ever,” says Megan Closset. “More power, more performance, more standard features, and best of all, innovations to improve handling, dynamics, and the overall driving experience.”
It all starts under the hood. Propelled by the latest EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection TSI® engine, each car is the most powerful in its model’s U.S. history. The new Golf GTI generates 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, while the new Golf R boasts 315 horsepower and up to 295 pound-feet of torque.
Because the ability to manually shift gears is part of the quintessential hot-hatch experience, both models offer a 6-speed manual transmission, with the option of a 7-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Both cars also showcase new vehicle dynamics settings designed for more agile and accurate handling, as well as DCC® adaptive chassis control with Driving Mode Selection (standard on the Golf R and available on the Golf GTI), which helps to improve ride refinement and body control.
Finally, the 2022 cars receive a style boost, each with a more dramatically raked hood, new LED headlights, new alloy wheel options, and an available light bar on the grille. Interior upgrades include the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro, touch interfaces, and 30-color ambient lighting.
The 2022 Golf GTI: building on a remarkable legacy
The original Golf GTI (Mk1) went on sale in 1976, and came to the U.S. for the first time in 1983, when it was initially called the Rabbit GTI. Since then, the Golf GTI has built an enviable record as one of the world’s most successful compact sports cars. The Mk8 Golf GTI takes that legacy to a new level as the hot hatch for the person who wants a fun experience even in everyday driving.
In addition to the car’s enhanced power, the new Golf GTI benefits from key handling upgrades. It comes standard with an electronically controlled, torque-sensing limited-slip VAQ differential, which helps to optimize grip and handling, and aids in reducing the understeer common in front-drive cars.
In its design, the Golf GTI gets new X-shaped foglights and unique alloy wheel styles to go with its classic honeycomb lower grille, red grille line, red brake calipers, and dual exhaust tips. Inside, the seats retain the model’s traditional tartan look, now in an eye-catching new “Scalepaper” pattern. The manual shift knob, meanwhile, keeps the fan-favorite dimpled golf-ball design.