2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI First Drive – Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broken

If you happen to’re a Volkswagen Golf GTI fan, you had been most likely fearful that Volkswagen would screw it up as they refreshed it for 2022.

Right here’s the excellent news – the corporate (principally) didn’t try this. Particularly with regards to an important a part of GTI possession – on-road driving efficiency.

Right here’s the dangerous information – the identical inside that I panned within the Golf R first drive is available right here as effectively, for the reason that vehicles share their Golf bones. In addition they, in fact, share the MQB platform.

Adjustments for 2022 embrace extra energy for the two.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, suspension modifications, and refreshed styling. It’s longer and decrease than the earlier automobile.

(Full disclosure: Volkswagen flew me to Asheville, North Carolina, and fed and housed me for 2 nights so I might drive the Golf R, GTI, and Jetta GLI, plus another present VW I needed to. They provided socks in the identical sample as GTI seats and I left them behind.)

The engine now makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque with both the six-speed guide transmission or the seven-speed DSG automated.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Tim Healey/TTAC.

On the highway, the front-drive GTI behaves lots like its extra highly effective all-wheel-drive sibling, however the variations are apparent. Like with the R, I used to be cautious about approaching the restrict, however once I did push it, the automobile appeared to succeed in the restrict sooner, and it additionally typically skilled understeer. I drove a top-trim GTI with the obtainable DCC adaptive damping suspension – GTIs have a strut-type entrance setup and the rear is multilink, and each obtain tweaks meant to enhance dealing with.

The automobile felt looser, or no less than much less buttoned-down, than the Golf R, however that’s not essentially dangerous. It lent a playful air to the GTI. The GTI’s steering is equally not fairly as hefty, and it’s a smidge much less correct. Physique roll is current however not too shabby.

There’s much less energy to play with right here, and it exhibits, although the GTI isn’t any slouch. It’s greater than fast sufficient for many back-road blasts together with freeway merging. The clutch and shifter work effectively sufficient to offer the #savethemanuals crowd good emotions, and the brakes are nearly as stiff because the R’s, whereas nonetheless avoiding being grabby.

I had no probability to drive the DSG automated.

I didn’t get any freeway-cruise time within the GTI, however the automobile felt moderately docile round city. The GTI is a bit on the louder aspect by way of engine/tire noise, but it surely’s not too obnoxious for daily-driving duties. Utilizing the Consolation or Regular drive modes positively quiets issues down a bit. Sport provides the driving force heavier steering and a extra responsive throttle.

Just like the R, the GTI will get the brand new digital cockpit, and like with the R, it’s infuriating to make use of at occasions. That is the place VW forgot the mantra “if ain’t broke, don’t repair it” and screwed up a great factor. My kingdom for knobs and precise buttons.

Possibly I’d be a bit extra copacetic if the infotainment system wasn’t additionally so gol-durn gradual to modify menus. No less than the menus within the gauge cluster work higher, look cleaner, and are extra helpful. If VW had stopped the digital revolution on the gauge cluster and stored the knobs, that will’ve been a tremendous compromise. As a substitute, we get an inside wherein even altering the cabin temp requires you to take your eyes off the highway for too lengthy.

No less than the steering-wheel haptic contact controls are simpler to make use of than those on the middle stack.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Tim Healey/TTAC

Because the GTI and R are dimensionally just about the identical, the GTI is just like the R in that it gives good entrance head- and legroom, restricted in-cabin storage, and rear-seat room that’s acceptable for taller passengers so long as the seats don’t return too far. The chairs on this automobile weren’t as cosy because the R’s, however they had been lots cozy.

Golf GTI is available in three trims: S, SE, and Autobahn. S fashions begin at $29,545 ($30,345 for the DSG), with SEs beginning at $34,595 ($35,095 for the DSG). The Autobahn will value you $37,995 for the stick, and $38,795 for the automated. Vacation spot is $995.

Customary options on S embrace automated local weather management, keyless beginning, automated headlights, heated seats, heated steering wheel, wi-fi charging, and rain-sensing wipers. SE provides navigation, satellite tv for pc radio, keyless entry, Harmon Kardon audio, and in-car Wi-Fi, and an obtainable leather-based bundle provides leather-based, an influence driver seat, seat reminiscence, and cooled entrance seats. Autobahn trims get tri-zone local weather management, cooled entrance seats, leather-based seats, heated outboard rear seats, and a head-up show. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are normal, together with Bluetooth. A panoramic sunroof is normal on the highest two trims.

The quantity of USB ports is trim-dependent, however they’re all USB-Cs.

Gas financial system is nearly similar with both transmission – 24/34/28 with the stick and 25/34/28 with the auto.


After I pulled over for photographs, a younger dude in an F-150 pulled over to inform me a bear had been noticed close by. Confused, I believed he was warning me, then it dawned on me that he noticed the digicam in my hand and was making an attempt to assist me get pics of it.

I didn’t see Yogi – maybe he/she was scared off by the GTI’s pink paint job. I’m additionally stunned the native didn’t ask me in regards to the automobile. Often, GTIs draw younger automobile buffs like moths to a flame.

If he had inquired, I’d have instructed him that the subsequent GTI is as enjoyable to drive, if no more so, than the final one. That Volkswagen received an important half – efficiency – proper. That the automobile is admittedly good, apart from its irritating inside controls. Oh, and the sticker for the Autobahn trim makes me wince a bit.

Volkswagen engineers principally didn’t repair what isn’t damaged, with one notable exception. That’s a win.

What’s New for 2022

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is completely up to date, with freshened exterior styling, a reworked cabin, extra energy, and improved dealing with. It’s additionally longer and decrease than its predecessor.

Who Ought to Purchase It

GTI loyalists, the hot-hatch fan who desires a well-rounded automobile.

[Images 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC, Volkswagen]

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