2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI starts at $30,540; Golf R costs $44,640

The redesigned 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R hatchbacks are almost here. Volkswagen confirmed on Wednesday at the Chicago Auto Show that the renowned hot hatch will be quicker, faster, sharper, and safer, with the latest tech. And it'll cost more.

The eighth-generation, or Mark 8, Golf GTI and Golf R will come with a price increase of about $1,000. The 2022 Golf GTI will start at $30,540 (including $995 destination), up from $29,515 for the seventh-generation model. It'll still have plaid seats and a golf-ball shifter with a 6-speed manual meant to be thrown when it arrives in the last quarter of this year. The more performance-oriented Golf R will cost $44,640, an increase of $2,175 over the outgoing model. The 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R will be the only Golf models offered and will come as five-door hatchbacks. 

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Golf GTI

The GTI is a bit longer on 18-inch alloy wheels, but the wheelbase and shape remain the same. Standard LED headlights sit over new fog lights with five dots that look like the five on the sides of playing dice. The lower honeycomb grille remains, but above, an available light bar bridges the headlights with the VW logo. The rear sports LED taillights over classic twin tailpipes. Slight revisions to the mirrors, roof spoiler, wheel arches, and other elements make for better aerodynamics. 

Inside, the base GTI S comes with plaid seats like the original from 1976. There's also a flat-bottomed steering wheel, plus keyless start, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, heated seats, an 8.3-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, and 30-color ambient lighting—all unlike the 1976 model. It also has four USB-C ports and VW's 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Advanced safety technology includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control. It costs $30,540, and the quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is only $800 more. 

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The front-wheel-drive hatchback is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, or 14 hp and 15 lb-ft more than the outgoing model. The potent turbo-4 should be underscored by superlative handling, thanks in part to an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. VW revised the MacPherson struts up front, and retuned the available adjustable dampers on the multi-link rear suspension; the springs on all corners are stiffer. Five drive modes let the driver adapt to road conditions and the electric-assist steering has been sharpened with new software that reduces how much the steering wheel needs to be turned lock-to-lock. VW hasn't quoted a 0-60 mph time but claims that it outperformed the Mark 7 on internal testing in European trials. 

The GTI SE costs $35,290 and adds a sunroof, adaptive headlights, LED fog lights, grille light bar, keyless entry, and a 10.0-inch infotainment screen with navigation that can appear simultaneously in the digital cluster. Also included are an uprated Harman Kardon sound system, wireless smartphone charging, a wi-fi hotspot with subscription, and a three-month satellite radio trial. Available leather seats that are cooled and a power driver's seat can be had for $1,225, and the wheels can be painted black for $395. 

At the top of the GTI lineup is the $38,990 Autobahn. It adds 19-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires, adaptive damping, leather seats, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, 12-way power driver seat, three-zone automatic climate control, automatic high beams, and parking sensors. 

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Golf R

The 2022 Golf R puts more power to all four wheels. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, up from 288 hp and 280 lb-ft in the outgoing model. Volkswagen says the turbo-4 launches the new Golf R from 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds when teamed with the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but it hasn't timed the 6-speed manual yet.

The Golf R rides on the same platform as the GTI but its all-wheel-drive system gets a new rear-wheel-drive unit with two clutches that can send all of the available rear-wheel torque to the outside wheel in a turn. The rear axle can get up to 50% of the power. The MacPherson struts on the R mount to a lighter subframe, and the new adaptive dampers have a greater range of settings. For more on the mechanical upgrades to the 2022 Golf R, visit Motor Authority

The 2022 Golf R costs $44,640 (including destination) and $800 more for the automatic. Sold in one trim, it follows the GTI Autobahn's feature list. 

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