2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI, R finally land in America to up the hot hatch ante
VW's banner performance hatchbacks are back and ready to launch with fair prices to boot.
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
We drove the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R, but man was the whole process one giant tease since the models we tested were actually European-spec cars. But today we're one step closer to both cars become reality in the US. On Wednesday, VW revealed the US-spec Golf GTI and R models ahead of their launches in the fourth quarter of this year. You can jump for joy with us because, seriously, these cars are darn good, if you take Managing Editor and Reviews Editor Steve Ewing and Andrew Krok's words.
On the road to hot hatch glory, the first stop is the 2022 Golf GTI, which will be the least expensive Golf to buy in America going forward. Don't forget, the standard Golf hatchback and its derivatives aren't a thing for Yanks any longer. Starting at $30,540, the new GTI packs an updated 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with 241 horsepower, 271 pound-feet of torque and a standard six-speed manual. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available as an $800 option.
Improvements to the driving package include an electronic limited-slip differential, tweaked driver aids and the aforementioned extra helping of power. And for the $30,540 price, there's a lot of gear tossed in. Foremost, the GTI receives a massively overhauled interior nearly void of physical buttons. Instead, base GTI S models get a 10.25-inch digital cockpit and an 8.25-inch display to the right. The plaid seats remain, too, don't worry. They're also heated as standard for extra comfort. Smart keyless entry, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and more all come along for the ride, too.
Climb up the trim hierarchy and you land at a GTI Autobahn trim, which notably adds the DCC adaptive dampers for more driving poise, and a ton of extra gear. The 18-inch wheels turn into 19-inch units, real leather washes over the seats with ventilating functions and a Harmon Kardon sound system provide jams for your road trips. You're looking at a $38,990 with all this equipment, however.
The last stop on this winding road is the Golf R, which lands with a single trim and a $44,640 price tag. Of course, all-wheel drive is standard, compared to the front-wheel-drive-only GTI and power increases further to 315 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Speaking of the AWD system, it now boasts rear-axle torque vectoring to transfer 100% of torque to a single wheel if necessary. Essentially, the Golf R will be more eager than ever to sweep through a corner.
The Golf R, like the GTI, also gets the overhauled interior cockpit with touchscreens and panels, rather than buttons, and numerous R-exclusive touches inside. They include Nappa leather upholstery, unique shift paddles for dual-clutch transmission equipped cars and more. Outside, blue brake calipers logos and puddle lamps also display the R logo proudly.
No matter which hatch you choose, VW's IQ Drive suite of assist tech is also available and includes parking assist, road sign displays and automatic emergency braking for cars with the dual-clutch transmission.
Both cars already proved they're like their predecessors, only reloaded to keep the good times rolling. I'm sure Roadshow's staff will gladly take some seat time in a US-spec car when they start arriving later this year.