Volkswagen Golf GTI 7.5 vs 8: What's the difference?

Volkswagen GTI Main

The Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI has just been revealed. How does it fare in comparison to the outgoing model? We compare the newcomer to the outgoing Volkswagen Golf GTI 7.5.

The all-new Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI should arrive in SA before the end of 2020 and the excitement is high. When it comes to Golf sales, nothing touches the GTI and its easily one of the most successful products from the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer. How does it fare when compared to its popular predecessor? We compare the two GTIs.

1. Engine

The Golf GTI 7.5 was no slouch thanks to a quick-shifting gearbox and responsive 2.0.

At the heart of the Volkswagen Golf GTI is a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. In the 7.5, it delivered 169 kW and 350 Nm, with power going to the front wheels via a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. Volkswagen claimed a 0-100 kph time of 6.4 seconds thanks to launch control. For the new Volkswagen Golf GTI, the engine outputs have increased to 180 kW and 370 Nm, plus the transmission has been replaced by the updated 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Official figures have not been issued, but we suspect it'll shave some time off that. How does 6.1 to 100 kph sound?...

The Volkswagen Golf GTI 8 has improved engine performance, but you'll have to wait a bit longer for R and TCR/Clubsport.

2. Visual appeal

The Volkswagen Golf GTI 7.5 was a sharp-looking product, especially in 2-door guise which sadly wasn't offered in SA.

To use that petrolhead cliche, 'it's an evolution rather than revolution' and is particularly accurate when it comes to the Volkswagen Golf GTI family. One does not mess with a winning formula and for those who think the design is too tame, the good news is there will be more aggressive models coming. There are some common elements across both cars, like the subtle wing, the twin exhausts and honeycomb grille. The first thing you'll notice are the attractive LED lights located in the grille and lower bumper. For a usually restrained design, the GTI is marvellously detailed: note the ornamental 5-piece fog light clusters that create a pair of X-shapes, one at either end of the lower bumper. Finally, there are 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, but we suspect there'll be bigger units available as optional extras. 

How good-looking are those daytime-running lights?

3. Tech

The cabin of the Volkswagen Golf GTI 7.5 was smart, sporty and splashed with luxury

It's in this department where the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI moves away from its predecessor. The interior of the vehicle is a big step up, with its digital dashboard and instrument cluster. You'll also notice the lack of a gear knob, drive selections are actioned by a discrete lever. Once you step into the Golf 8 GTI’s cockpit, its Innovision Cockpit (the combination of the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit instrument cluster and the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, including navigation) is automatically activated and the start/stop button pulses red until the engine is started. The car features single-zone automatic climate control (Climatronic), the comfort start system, LED reading lights and two USB-C ports. The Lane Assist lane-keeping system, Front Assist (Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring), Car2X (local communication with other vehicles and the traffic infrastructure) and We Connect and We Connect Plus online services are included, but obviously not all of those systems are confirmed for South African-spec GTI derivatives.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI 8 cabin continues where its predecessor left off but brings massive amounts of tech into play.

Further Reading

Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI officially revealed

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR vs GTI - What’s the difference? 

New VW's Coming to SA in 2020

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR (2019) Specs & Price

Volkswagen Golf 8 (2020) International Launch Review

2020 Volkswagen Golf 8 Officially Revealed