How the Volkswagen Golf GTI’s pace shocked everybody at SCOTY 2022

Venerable hot hatch proves faster than performance icons of the past

2022 Volkwagen Golf GTI MAIN PIC

Just how quick is an Mk 8 Golf GTI? You might well be surprised. On paper, the bald facts are that its 180kW EA888 2.0-litre turbo engine will propel it to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds, according to the factory claim. We put it against the clock and recorded 6.21 seconds which, with rounding, bears out Volkswagen’s claim perfectly. So far, so unspectacular.

What is really eye-opening is its lap time around Phillip Island. With Luffy at the wheel, the Golf stopped the timer at 1m 53.76 seconds. That put it a solid midfield position in the Sports Car of the Year rankings, punching well above rivals like the BMW 128ti. But it’s only when you compare it to our last PCOTY visit to Phillip Island that you realise quite what a weapon the new Golf is.

C Brunelli 220228 PCOTY 2022 Volkwagen Golf GTI 2

You’d need to spool the clock back to 2008 for that. Once again, the evergreen Mr Luff was at the wheel of the PCOTY cars, using Racelogic timing equipment. Atmospheric conditions were even comparable, which means that we’ve evened the variables as much as is practicable. Back then, the Golf would have beaten not only the Mitsubishi Evo X (1m 55.1s) but also would have just squeaked its nose ahead of the 310kW FPV F6 (1m53.8s).

The 336kW Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG would have beaten the Golf GTI, albeit by a vanishing 0.16s, which gives you some clue as to the cross-country ability of the latest Golf. And it also raises an intriguing question. Still think you need a Golf R?


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