The Golf GTI is – or at least, eventually will be – a legend. Sure, it’s not quite the Ferrari or the Mustang, but it did really start the hot hatch trend all those years ago, and while not the most exotic of hatches, remains the bar from which all others are measured. So when VW unveiled the 2019 Golf GTI and all its new features and upgrades, it was bound to create some buzz among hot hatch lovers.
For starters, they’ve increased the turbocharged, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine – found on all GTI trims – to put out a respectable 228 horsepower. Not quite Bugatti levels, sure, but more than respectable for a car of this size. The manual remains a six-speed, while the dual-clutch automatic becomes a seven-speed. Then, they added the limited-slip differential and much larger brakes found on the Golf R – last year’s even-more-tricked out, sportier Golf.
Then, VW went a step further and introduced a new “Rabbit” trim model, which includes all the aforementioned upgrades as well as a host of new exterior bonuses: black trim, new spoiler and black mirrors, and even Rabbit badges, which take their cue from the very first GTI. There’s also shiny new LED headlights with VW’s Adaptive Front-Lighting System, and 18″ black alloy wheels.
Now, be warned that the new-for-2019 GTI is going to be a bit more expensive, even for just the base model, with a starting MSRP of $27,595. We don’t feel that’s much of an increase at all, though, and is definitely worth the upgrades you’re getting. And if you’d like to go for the more-powerful Golf R, which boasts an impressive 292 horsepower, that’ll cost you just over 40 grand.
But hey, it’s the original Hot Hatch, and it just got better. We’re VW fans and will still opt for this over most of the other options – so sign us up.