Volkswagen has introduced the all-new 2022 Golf GTI and Golf R at the Chicago Auto Show. The next-generation hot hatchbacks carry a starting price of $30,540 for the base Golf GTI and $44,640 for the Golf R. Both prices include a $995 destination charge.
Golf GTI and Golf R Performance Powertrains
The Golf GTI and Golf R are VW’s only remaining hatchback models sold in the United States. While we’re sad to see the once-thriving domestic Golf lineup dwindle to a pair of offerings, the GTI and R are certainly the most exciting models of the bunch and have a devoted fan base dating back decades. Moreover, with numerous versions still in production globally, the Golf’s future is secure internationally.
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The GTI returns with three trims—S, SE and Autobahn—and a single engine option. Updated for 2022, the GTI’s turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injection TSI engine returns packing 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The 2022 GTI also benefits from an electronically controlled torque-sensing limited-slip VAQ differential as standard equipment. Designed to improve traction and handling in performance settings, it allows for a variable locking function of the front differential and the ability to send torque from side to side based on input from numerous sensors and is integrated with the stability control. Previous mechanical units operate in an absolute fashion which can affect steering inputs. The overall result is smoother, more precise steering and handling at speed.
The Golf R arrives in a single trim level and receives a muscled-up version of the same engine producing 315 horsepower and 295 pound-feet when paired with the DSG transmission or 280 pound-feet of torque manual transmission. Those horsepower numbers represent a power bump for both cars, a 13-horsepower improvement for the GTI and an additional 27 ponies for the Golf R. Both cars are electronically limited to a top speed of 155 mph.
The 2022 Golf R features a fully revised version of VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system capable of sending 100% of available torque to the rear wheels as well as directing it to either the left or right rear wheel. The previous system could only transmit 50% of torque rearward. The net result is more torque to the outside rear wheel in cornering, which provides more confident handling and higher cornering speeds, and, one hopes, faster lap times.
2022 Golf GTI and R Standard Features and Safety Tech
The base GTI S gets standard features that include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, “Scalepaper Plaid” heated sport seats, an 8.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth and VW’s digital gauge cluster with a 10.25-inch display. The GTI SE adds a sunroof, adaptive front lighting, a 10-inch touchscreen, a Harman-Kardon sound system and road sign display. At the top end of the GTI lineup, the Autobahn model brings 19-inch wheels, adaptive damping, Vienna leather upholstery with ventilated front seats and tri-zone climate controls.
The 2022 GTI is available in Oryx White Pearl, Moonstone Gray, Kings Red Metallic, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Reflex Silver Metallic and Deep Black Pearl. Pomelo Yellow Metallic, a special Autobahn-only launch color will be avaible for a limited time.
The Golf R is offered in a single trim for 2022 and gets all the goodies in one package. It builds on the GTI with a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system, adaptive dampers, 14-inch cross-drilled brake rotors, Nappa leather sport seats, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, a 10-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, four USB-C ports and an automatic parking assistant with front and rear sensors.
The 2022 Golf R is available in signature Lapiz Blue Metallic, Pure White and Deep Black Pearl.
Both models come standard with Volkswagen’s IQ.DRIVE safety suite. The advanced driver aids include blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning, adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warning, a semi-automated driving assistant and more. However, some features are only available for models equipped with the DSG transmission.
How much do the new Golf GTI and Golf R cost?
After the $995 destination fee is applied, the Golf GTI S starts at $30,540.
The GTI SE starts at $35,290; adding leather seating with front-seat ventilation and a power driver’s seat is a $1295 upgrade; unique 18-inch gloss black wheels are available for $395.
The GTI Autobahn starts at $38,990. Opting for the seven-speed DSG automatic transmission is an $800 upgrade on all models.
The Golf R starts at $44,640 after destination. Pricing includes a manual transmission, so buyers wanting to step up to the DSG will want to budget an additional $800. Volkswagen has not yet announced a firm release date for the cars, but we expect to see them hit dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2021.