The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI makes its debut for 2022, with a fresh, aggressive new face, an all-new interior, new tech, and a slight bump in performance.
Powering the GTI is a new version of the car’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that has appeared in VW products for more than a decade. In the 2022 GTI, it produces 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque — a bump up from the previous engine’s 228 hp and 258 lb-ft. You can still get it with a manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. A revised suspension tuning and a standard limited-slip differential mean the GTI drives better than ever, and the interior benefits from a fresh design and a new infotainment system.
Overall, we’re impressed with the new 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI‘s combination of speed, practicality and technology. But the 2022 model year is shaping up to be a good one for driving enthusiasts, with new versions of the Honda Civic and Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 twins also making their debuts. There’s also the 275-hp Hyundai Veloster N to consider. What to get? Check out our Expert Rating of the 2022 GTI below to help you decide.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that develops 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 13 horses and 15 pound-feet versus its predecessor, but that power is still routed to the front wheels through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. We tested a GTI with the auto ‘box, which had smart shifts and helped deliver the hatch to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds–0.7 quicker than a last-gen Rabbit edition with the automatic.
Not only is the new 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI quicker in a straight line, we credit its electronically controlled limited-slip differential and brake-based torque vectoring for an uptick in entertainment value. Of course, the VW’s expertly tuned chassis deserves as much praise as ever, with its sharp responses and not-too-firm, not-too-soft ride quality. The latter was experienced with the hatch’s highly adjustable adaptive dampers and a set of 19-inch wheels (18-inchers are standard). Nothing puts a damper on spirited driving like a soft brake pedal, but the GTI provides firm feedback and noteworthy stopping power, halting the hatch from 70 mph in just 151 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
We’re not sure how fuel-efficient the new 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is because those figures haven’t been announced, but we estimate that its city and highway ratings will be 24 and 32 mpg, respectively. Once we have the chance to run it on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the Golf GTI’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI boasts a more modern design than before and some traditional callbacks. The dashboard is dominated by two large displays—a 10.3-inch gauge cluster and a 10.0-inch touchscreen—that share a piano-black bezel. The GTI’s three-spoke steering wheel boasts a heavily contoured rim and touch-sensitive controls. Its bolstered front seats have red accents around their outer edges and iconic plaid inserts on the top and bottom cushions.
Unfortunately, unlike the high-quality environs of the previous generation, the new interior is marred by some chintzy finishes. Seeing the road ahead is improved by a lower cowl, but we prefer a simple set of analog gauges over the overly configurable digital setup. The new GTI grows by an inch overall and sees its wheelbase stretch by 0.6 inches, which only furthers its impressive passenger accommodations and cargo space.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The GTI’s infotainment system runs through a standard 10.0-inch touchscreen. Unfortunately, it’s primarily operated via touch-sensitive sliders instead of more intuitive buttons and knobs. Along with a couple of charging ports, the system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These familiar phone apps and menu structures will help offset VW’s otherwise busy and potentially distracting interface.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
VW has said it’ll have common driver-assistance technology standard as well as optional upgrades. For more information about the Golf GTI’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED (C/D EST)
turbocharged and intercooled inline-4, iron block and aluminum head
121 in3, 1984 cm3
241 hp @ 6500 rpm
273 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.4-in vented disc/12.2-in disc
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S005, 235/35R-19 91Y
Wheelbase: 103.4 in
Length: 168.8 in
Width: 70.4 in
Height: 58.2 in
Curb weight: 3154 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.1 sec
100 mph: 12.2 sec
1/4 mile: 13.6 sec @ 105 mph
130 mph: 24.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.5 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.7 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.8 sec
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 151 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 311 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.97 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 25 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 27/24/32 mpg