First Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI lands in Mzansi, but you can’t buy it (yet)

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Apr 28, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - It is said that good things come to those who wait, and GTI fans have certainly waited for the eighth incarnation of their favourite hot hatch.

The Golf 8 GTI was originally scheduled to reach South African shores in late 2020 or early 2021, but Covid-19 related delays, as well as the more recent semiconductor chip shortage, have pushed its arrival date back to later in the year.

Although the vehicle is scheduled to officially launch locally during the third quarter of this year, VWSA has proudly announced that the first units have hit our shores.

“The Volkswagen Group has been impacted by the global shortage of the semiconductor chips and all vehicles built on the MQB platform have been affected. For this reason, the launch of the Golf 8 GTI in South Africa will now move to the third quarter,” said VW passenger car head Steffen Knapp.

“We are working closely with our German counterparts to ensure that we get as many Golf 8 GTI units for the local market as possible. A few Golf 8 GTI units started arriving in the country from mid-April. These units will be stockpiled until we have enough vehicles for the launch at the beginning of the third quarter,” Knapp added.

In addition to a digital premiere, VWSA is also promising to stage customer events around the country, allowing fans to experience the newcomer.

What can we look forward to?

As previously reported, the new Golf GTI is powered by an updated version of the familiar EA888 2-litre turbopetrol engine, with the newcomer pushing out 180kW and 370Nm, which is an 11kW and 20Nm improvement over its predecessor.

The gen-eight GTI, like its GTD and GTE cousins, receives a new driving dynamics system called the Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which controls both the XDS electronic limited slip diff function and the lateral dynamics components of the DCC adaptive dampers, when optionally fitted.

Like its predecessor, the new GTI is not trying to be shouty in the way it looks, but it does come with a number of distinctive design features. These include a large honeycomb lower air intake with X-shaped foglights, an illuminated upper grill strip, wider sills, a larger rear diffuser and 17-inch Richmond alloys. That, of course, won’t be big enough for many customers, which is why VW will also offer 18” and 19” rim options.

The cabin has been fully digitised, with a 26cm instrument screen and 25.4cm central infotainment system, and occupants sit on newly designed sports seats with integrated headrests.

IOL Motoring

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