Volkswagen reveals new Golf GTI, GTD and GTE models

VW hasn’t waited long to unveil high performance versions of its new 2020 Golf - with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options available

James Wilson
Mar 17, 2020

Volkswagen has debuted its next generation of performance-oriented Golfs – the Golf GTI, Golf GTD and Golf GTE. UK prices are yet to be confirmed but the big news is that the plug-in hybrid GTE now matches its petrol-powered GTI stablemate for power. Sales are expected to start towards the end of 2020, with no confirmation on delivery dates as of yet.

The outgoing VW Golf was the first generation to be offered in all three GTI, GTD and GTE specs. For a quick recap, 'I' signifies that a Golf is petrol-powered, 'D' is diesel-powered and 'E' is hybrid powered. Being that all the 'GT' models sit quite high in the Golf range, the levels of equipment are strong, which complements the strong performance on offer.

Hig-performance hatchbacks are a hit with UK buyers, which is why there are so many sporty Golfs available. Traditionally, the most engaging to drive has been the GTI, the most suitable for high mileages the economical GTD and the best for zero-emission town driving (provided you charge the car regularly) with the ability to do longer trips on petrol power, the GTE.

To find out how the Volkswagen GTI, GTD and GTE models are set to stack up against their many rivals, keep reading below.

Quick facts

  • Up to 242hp and 400Nm on offer
  • Petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options
  • Manual and automatic gearboxes available
  • GTD models feature emission control tech
  • Front light bar standard across all models
  • Plug-in electric GTE claims 37 miles range

Golf GTI, GTD and GTE performance figures

This latest crop of performance-orientated VW Golfs are all very closely matched, at least on paper. Looking at the numbers (which are broken down for each model below) it is plug-in GTE variants which seem the most potent.

Of course, that isn’t the whole story as hybrid systems can blunt performance due to their extra weight. Volkswagen is yet to confirm official numbers for top speeds, 0-62mph sprint times and economy/emission figures – so keep checking back on BuyaCar for updates.

2020 Golf GTI performance

Volkswagen hasn’t changed its formula for the Golf GTI – there is a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine powering the front wheels. The latest engine produces 242hp and 370Nm of torque. For comparison, these numbers are identical to those of the outgoing Golf GTI Performance edition but 15hp and 20Nm more than the old entry-level Golf GTI.

Transmissions echo that of the outgoing model, too – as standard the GTI comes with a six-speed manual but there is the option of a seven-speed automatic. For reference, VW refers to its automatic gearboxes as 'DSG'.

2020 Golf GTD performance

The diesel-powered GTD uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine that produces 197hp and 400Nm of torque. Unlike the previous generation GTD, the 2020 model is available exclusively with a seven-speed automatic DSG transmission.

One of the biggest changes to the Volkswagen Golf GTD engine setup is a more comprehensive emission control system. Put bluntly, VW has added a second section in which to inject a chemical called AdBlue to reduce tailpipe emissions.

AdBlue reduces NOx emissions which are generally considered to be a significant risk for human health and are a large part of the reason diesel cars have been facing scrutiny in recent times.

2020 Golf GTE performance

Meanwhile, the petrol-electric Golf GTE features a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Together these have a total power output of 242hp – up around 40hp over the old model.

The system is also reported to be able to muster up a maximum of 400Nm of torque and come solely with a six-speed automatic DSG gearbox. VW has also stated that the GTE will be able to reach just under 81mph using battery power alone.

2020 Golf GTE range and charge times

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTE is set to come with a 13kWh battery pack. As a result, VW is claiming that on a full charge a GTE should be able to travel around 37 miles – although conditions in the real world, such as temperature, will impact this.

To help maximise range, the GTE uses some clever electronics to predict at what point on a journey electrical assistance should be used for greatest efficiency, provided you've entered your route into the onboard sat-nav.

No official charge time has been announced, but assuming the Golf GTE can use a 7kW power supply (standard across most new electric cars) a full charge should take around two hours.

2020 Golf GTI, GTD and GTE specs and tech

All “GT” models are expected to come with a digital drivers’ display (replacing physical analogue dials), a 10-inch media display, LED taillights, automatic air-conditioning and two USB-C ports.

There are a number of standard performance-related items as well. All models benefit from an electronic locking differential (which helps spread power from the engine to the wheel with the most grip) and multi-link rear suspension, which should provide improved agility and comfort.

Standard safety/convenience tech includes lane keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking and Car2X communication. The latter feature is actually quite cool (or scary) as it allows a car to share information about its journey with traffic infrastructure. This, in theory, opens the door to smart traffic management such as ensuring busier routes get more green traffic lights.

There are also a handful of optional features, such as LED running lights which feature red (GTI), blue (GTE) and silver (GTD) hues. Front fog lights are also optional and they create an X pattern on either side of the front bumper – nifty.

To distinguish the “GT” models from one another, there are a handful of unique bits of equipment (such as exhaust tips) for each model. Handily, these have been broken down below.

2020 Golf GTI unique features

• Twin exhaust pipes – separated one either side
• Chequered seat pattern with red accents
• Red accent on the multifunctional steering wheel and exterior GTI badge
• 15mm lower suspension than GTE models
• Standard 17-inch “Richmond” alloy wheels (18- or 19-inch wheels are available, too)

2020 Golf GTD unique features

• Twin exhaust pipe – both on the left-hand side
• Chequered seat pattern with light grey accents
• Grey accent on the multifunctional steering wheel and black exterior GTI badge
• 15mm lower suspension than GTE models

2020 Golf GTE unique features

• No visible exhaust pipes – although there is some exhaust-like chrome trim on the rear bumper
• Charging flap on the front passenger-side wing
• Blue accent on the multifunctional steering wheel
• Chequered seat pattern with blue accents
• Autonomous assisting technology for steering, accelerating and braking at speeds up to 130mph

2020 Golf GTI, GTD and GTE rivals

The hot hatchback sector is booming. Whether you want a fire-breathing, back-breaking track car or a more civilised option, the motoring world has you covered. The Volkswagen “GT” range of vehicles fit in towards the more civilised end of the market, where performance gains don't significantly impact running costs or useability.

Rivals which tread a similar line include the Hyundai i30 N, Audi S3, Cupra Leon, Skoda Octavia vRS, Ford Focus ST and entry-level Renault Megane RS. Those after rapid straight line performance and a plush cabin should go for the S3, those after the best jack of all trades (liveability and performance) should go for the Focus ST, those who love an underdog (that delivers) should go for the i30 N and those that want something distinctive and engaging to drive.

2020 Golf GTI, GTD and GTE prices

Volkswagen is keeping tight-lipped about prices for its new “GT” range of Golfs. That said, the following can be taken as decent yardsticks; expect GTD variants to kick off the range at around £32,000, GTIs at around £34,000 and GTEs at around £35,000.


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