Volkswagen just announced the changes it’s making to the Golf GTI going into 2019 and even though there’s a minor price hike involved, the industry standard hot hatch will still be a performance bargain. Don’t worry, it’ll again come with a sub-$30,000 price tag, but you’ll be getting a whole host of hand-me-down goodies from the top-of-the-range Golf R as standard.
First, the price. The base GTI will have an extra $1,180 tacked on next year and start at $27,595. But, VW isn’t just inflating the hatch’s MSRP for schitz und giggles — the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is turned up to 228 horses and you’ll get the brakes and the mechanical differential from the Golf R. So, when you think about the trickle-down performance parts the refreshed GTI gets, the extra $1,180 doesn’t sting as much.
Also new for 2019 is the ‘Rabbit’ edition GTI which gets all of the above plus black trim for the wheels, spoiler and mirrors, plus Rabbit badges harking back to the original US-spec GTI if you’re into the whole nostalgia thing. Upstream, the Golf R starts at $40,395, but you can select from 40 different custom order colors including a selection of ‘heritage colors.’ Which means if you want your Golf R to stand out from the rest of the roadway (which you do) you can order it in Oxide Red (basically brown) or Cliff Green.
Adding performance parts as standard and mixing in creative color options isn’t the industry norm which is why (Deiselgate, aside) it’s nice to see VW playing to its old sense of humor and lightheartedness again. The GTI is the benchmark for fun hot hatches and next year it looks like VW plans to continue that trend in spite of the rising competition.
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