Nearing an End of a Generation: 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI MK7
Generations come and go, and the Volkswagen Golf GTI MK7 has been with us for, gosh, a darn near 7 years now, making this one of the longest running generation for the Golf GTI. It makes sense why it ran for so long though, its darn near faultlessness had competition virtually stunned and nearly hard to surpass when every couple of years, Volkswagen kept making the MK7 just a little better. But as such, the competition has learned the ways of Volkswagen hotness and has challenged its perfection; therefore an end has to be near for the MK7 GTI.
While news hasn’t been released on any future Golf, nor GTI, we can’t imagine VW is taking so kindly to the new Hyundai Veloster N and Honda Civic Type R – both valued engineered hot hatches taking the world and track times by storm.
It’s been no surprise that the Golf GTI has been a staff favorite around here with its superior handling capabilities, excellent performance attributes and, well, its spacious hatch-ness utilitarian ways. Our previous encounters with the GTI has always been at the low end of the GTI totem pole – supporting 210-horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine – the GTI was always a happy little go-getter. That base GTI S sustained a starting price of $26,415 – this time around we’ve upgraded to the next level, GTI SE – at an extra $5000 puts this SE around $31,570.
$5000 is a sticker shock considering the few extra luxuries that gets incorporated into the SE. Seats get covered in leather and are heated, a larger touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a sliding piece of glass in the roof and a little light in the mirror that lest you know someone in your blind spot. If you’d like additional leather on other surfaces; say, the steering wheel, dash and door panel – its an extra $695.
What isn’t keen to the all-seen eye, the SE gets a small increase in performance with 10 extra ponies and a limited slip differential. Making for 220-horsepower the GTI gets a little more spring in its step, pushing highway speeds in just under 6 seconds through the $1100 six-speed DSG automatic transmission. While we prefer to shift our own gears, the GTI DSG is one quick monkey – the gear changes are brisk and move through the gearbox swiftly. Every gear responds as if it was already predicating our every move – push it close to the red line and the dual-exhaust burgles out a cute little belch like a baby Audi S4.
Because the SE gets equipped with the limited slip, it handles its power more linear and planted groundwork. The differential deviates the power more evenly which helps for better acceleration in and out of the corners – creating less under steer. The steering remains to provide excellent articulation with a well in tuned chassis and structural stability that helps the GTI run smooth over coarse roads while still being able to be aggressive in the bends. It carries a level of confidence that helps the driver feel every bit of control. All of this, while maintaining 27 miles to the gallon.
Crazy to think that after all these years, the GTI has never failed to age. All the little tweaks and enhancements made to the GTI generates one attractive looking hatch. The SE here featured upgraded LED adaptive LED lighting system that signify presence of a superior product – the large 19-inch wheels conveys the GTI signature aesthetics and overall generates a sharp appeal. With the boosted leather interior, the GTI continues to feel every bit premium of a German product while the sport seats provide the right amount of body-wrapping comfort.
As seen here, our tester is 2018, recent news falls from the sky for the slightly updated 2019 Golf GTI. A new Rabbit Edition debuted that will slot between the S and SE models starting at $27,595. All trims get a higher performing 228-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a new 6 year/72,000 mile Bumper to Bumper Warranty.
It’s not officially announced when the MK7 generation will end. We at least still have a couple years to go before any future GTI news is officially released. Until then, the GTI continues to prove to us time, and time again that even with undergoing nearly 7 years of this generation, it’s still a noteworthy hot hatch that isn’t afraid to show up to the party and remind everyone it’s still has what it takes to be number one.