2019 Volkswagen GTI. Although the exterior of the GTI will look familiar, the interior is expected to gain some nice improvements. One will likely be a revised infotainment screen with gesture control capability. Drivers may also appreciate a new digital gauge cluster reminiscent of the latest models from Audi. Based on what we know about the European version that will debut first, the most notable changes are expected to be a revamped interior, new safety technology and the possibility of a more powerful engine. Volkswagen is taking a cautious approach with the mid-cycle update to the Golf hatchback and its performance derivatives, the sprightly GTI and the even quicker Golf R. Subtle though the changes may be, however, they are nonetheless comprehensive and worth reporting, especially since we’re talking about this car. This isn’t just a car that’s important to Volkswagen; it’s important to us.
Changes to the exterior are minor enough that you’ll hardly notice them unless the new model is parked right next to the old one. All Golfs and 2019 Volkswagen GTIs get LED daytime running lights, with full-LED headlamps available as an upgrade, replacing the previous bixenons. The front and rear bumpers have been restyled now with even straighter lines! and new LED taillamps dress up the derrières of all Golf models from the lowly Golf S to the mighty Golf R. New wheel designs and paint choices also arrive for 2019. New interior trim and materials dress up the 2019 Golf’s cabin a bit, and most versions enjoy more standard equipment.
The S, for example, gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system to replace last year’s 5.0-incher, as well as rain-sensing wipers. Golf SE models upgrade to a new 8.0-inch touchscreen display, and the available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking systems now add pedestrian recognition. Top-dog Golf SEL models add adaptive cruise control and an auto-dimming mirror. No changes were made to the 170-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four serving all non-GTI Golf models or to their transmissions yes, the manual still offers only five forward speeds, while the automatic has six.
It’s a different story for one of our favorite cars, the GTI. The turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the base 2019 Volkswagen GTI S gets a 10-hp boost for a total of 220 horsepower at 4700 rpm, with torque unchanged at 258 lb-ft at 1500 rpm. This brings it in line with the 2019 GTI SE and Autobahn models (the GTI Sport trim level has been dropped). Opt for a GTI S model with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and you’ll get engine auto stop/start functionality, too. If you spring for the GTI SE, you’ll now get the beefier brakes from the Golf R, an electronically actuated torque-sensing limited-slip differential, and full LED lighting. The infotainment screen grows to 8.0 inches, and seating surfaces are the traditional Clark plaid cloth, with leatherette optional. The GTI Autobahn comes standard with adaptive dampers plus the aforementioned 8.0-inch touchscreen in the dash, which includes navigation.
Expect updates closer to the launch of the U.S. version. The 2019 Volkswagen GTI is expected to arrive this fall. Based on our analysis, now is a great time to take advantage of attractive finance and lease deals on the current model. Current Volkswagen owners may also be eligible for a loyalty discount. Shoppers should be aware that Volkswagen tends not to offer cash incentives like most automakers. While it’s not unusual to see a $500 bonus around holidays, Volkswagen actually uses unadvertised incentives to help dealers improve prices. Except for certain vehicles like the Golf R and Beetle Dune Edition, most of the lineup tends to benefit from some level of factory incentives. Official 2019 Volkswagen GTI pricing is still a ways off. For reference, the current GTI starts at $26,415 with destination for the 4-door model with manual transmission. The optional DSG adds $1,100. Prices top out at $36,015 for the Autobahn model equipped with DSG.