The most important changes will be found under the hood. In Europe, the next GTI will use the same 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that currently powers the Golf R. In the United States, Volkswagen could choose to offer the GTI with a bigger VR6 mill that will make roughly the same amount of power as the smaller turbo four while delivering a lot more torque.
The Euro-spec model will retain the current GTI’s six-speed manual transmission, though buyers will be able to order a dual-clutch gearbox and a limited-slip differential at an extra cost. Front-wheel drive will be the only configurable available.
Like the next Golf, the GTI will ride on an evolution of the modular MQB platform appropriately dubbed MQB Evo. The hatchback will be lower and wider than the current model, its wheelbase will be marginally longer, but it will weigh between 50 and 100 pounds less thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials like carbon fiber.
The next Volkswagen GTI will be introduced at a major auto show in either late 2018 or early 2019, and it will go on sale several months after. With the GTI pushing 300 ponies, the next Golf R is expected to get at least 350 horsepower while a new model called Golf RS will round out the lineup with a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged four-banger.
The original Golf GTI made its global debut at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show. To commemorate the hot hatch’s 40th birthday, Volkswagen will travel to this year’s Frankfurt gathering to introduce a limited-edition model inspired by the GTI Clubsport concept (pictured) that was shown at the Wörthersee meet a few weeks ago.
Like the Clubsport, the special GTI will feature a 265-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four, upgraded brakes and suspension components, and a model-specific body kit.