New 2020 VW Golf GTI: performance line-up leaked

Published: 22 January 2020

► The new 2020 VW Golf GTI revealed
► Scoop intel and artist's impressions
► Original hot hatch rebooted for Golf v8.0

Volkswagen has a long and mostly glorious reputation for building classy hot hatches - and new leaks suggest it won't deviate from this for the Mk8 family. An image posted on Instagram by Cochespais, a Spanish automotive forum, has suggested there’ll be at least five versions of the new Golf. 

According to the screenshot – from an alleged Volkswagen video – the base-model Mk8 Golf GTI could adopt the current Golf GTI’s 241bhp output, with the GTI TCR to cop a 296bhp upgrade from 286bhp. The output of the hybrid GTE would go from 201bhp to 241bhp, while the diesel-sipping GTD could make 197bhp, up from 181bhp for the current model. Elsewhere, the range-topping R is set to pack 329bhp – and those no word on a GTI Cup model. Read the rest of our report on the Golf GTI and you’ll see these numbers confirm some of our current intel, so this could be a legitimate leak after all…

Here’s every flavour of the GTI we’re expecting: 

  • Golf GTI
  • Golf GTI TCR (and possible Cup version)
  • Golf GTD
  • Golf GTE
  • Golf R

New 2020 VW Golf GTI: how will it look? 

The new 2020 VW Golf GTI has been spied on icy winter test, as engineers hone the original hot hatch for its eighth outing. Our photographers caught this lightly disguised prototype testing in Scandinavia, revealing much of the styling bound for the new fast Golf.

Reassuringly, the spy photos confirm the detailing of our artist's impressions (red car, below), including the twin exhaust pipes either side of the rear valance. The widely space Golf badging and GTI motif are absent from this late engineering prototype, too.

Best hot-hatch: CAR's guide to the best on sale

Although the test hack in our photos is lightly disguised, you can see the red-painted brake callipers grabbing enlarged discs front and rear. This car rolls on heavy-duty winter tyres and at the front you can see the extra air cooling below the number plate (but note that the foglamps are a decoy; the real Golf GTI Mk8 will have five diamond-effect LEDs as part of the honeycomb grille, as depicted in our artist's impression below).

Not everybody likes the front end, which strikes some as looking like a sad face. But chief designer Klaus Bischoff tells CAR he’s confident that when you see it on the move you’ll be struck by its freshness and presence. His CEO Herbert Diess nods in agreement. 

And you can be sure that the GTI will look sharper and more purposeful than more mainstream versions, which is the way it’s been since the first Golf GTI appeared in 1976. Expect the traditional red interior accents and chequered upholstery in the new Golf interior.

New 2020 VW Golf GTI: CAR magazine's artist's impression

New 2020 VW Golf GTI: the engineering specs and details

The regular Golf GTI returns with its familiar 2.0-litre turbo four now making 232bhp. It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox or, as a cost option, a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch auto. Expect a 0-62mph time of 6.1sec, aided by a marginally lower weight and a more slippery body. Top speed is restricted to 155mph.

It's not the first time we've snapped the new GTI. Earlier examples away from the Arctic wilds showed the widened side sills and production alloy wheels bound for the production pocket rocket.

The GTI Cup is a new addition to the line-up of go-faster Golfs. Inspired by the TCR derivative of the Mk7, it’s the sportiest Golf by a clear margin. It boasts the wildest aero kit, the lowest ride height, the fattest wheels and the biggest brakes, plus a differential lock to boost front-wheel drive traction.

The power output is a reassuring 286bhp, and the maximum torque of 273lb ft is on tap from 1600 to 4300rpm. Optionally, you can pay to have the top speed limiter chip removed, buying you 166mph.

New 2019 VW Golf GTI: artist's impression by CAR magazine

The new 2020 VW Golf R

The next VW Golf R is, again, powerful and composed – an uber-GTI with tidier road manners and a more comprehensive specification. It shares its 328bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four with the forthcoming Arteon shooting brake. The peak torque of 295lb ft is distributed to all four wheels via the seven-speed DSG. Expect an acceleration time of 4.3sec and relatively frugal fuel consumption. A 48-volt system with mild hybrid technology should be available on all three high-end Golfs. 

The Golf R is marked out by blue accents on the seats and cockpit, with vodka-bar LED lighting giving the sportiest Golf a zesty interior. Those digital dials will allow for sporty instruments, with a central tacho dominating the dials.

Each model gets its own bumper graphics and cockpit treatment, and options including 20in wheels, larger-diameter cross-drilled sports brakes, lowered sports suspension with adaptive dampers, an Akrapovic exhaust and a blacked-out bodykit.

The best hot hatchbacks on sale

Plug-in hybrid VW Golf PHEVs

If you want your Golf to plug in, you'll be looking at the new generation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) Golfs. These pictures below – with almost no camo – show the new Golf in hybrid trim, and our sources suggest it'll be the only electrified version of the hatchback on sale. That's right, Wolfsburg is ditching the eGolf as the ID.3 now takes its place as the flagship EV hatchback. 

The styling is pretty much as you'd expect, save for the charging point toward the front of the car.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel