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Best Performance Winner: 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI on Everyman Driver

Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced that the 2022 Golf GTI has been awarded a Motor1 Star Award in the category of Best Performance Vehicle. Motor1 awards the best products in seven individual categories based on five days of in-person testing for 17 highly rated vehicles that have been introduced over the past year.

“The previous Golf GTI was widely regarded as one of the best hot hatches you could buy, but the Mark 8 versions up the ante,” said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America. “Now built in Wolfsburg, the cars have more performance, better handling, more standard equipment and improved tech features, yet minimal price increases. We’re thrilled with this recognition from Motor1.com.”

The criteria for the Best Performance Vehicle category is based on how involving a vehicle is to drive and the accessibility of its performance. In its judging, Motor1.com focuses on how the car makes the driver feel and how easily it allows the driver to explore the vehicle’s performance.

“It was the GTI’s ability to thrill drivers at a wide range of experience levels that ultimately helped it earn the title of Motor1.com’s Best Performance Vehicle,” said Brandon Turkus, Motor1.com Managing Editor. “The GTI can and will thrill novices and long-time track junkies alike with its broad performance profile and forgiving nature. Much like its predecessors, the 2022 GTI is the epitome of the hot hatchback experience.”


The Golf GTI has defined the term “hot hatch” since its first debut in 1975. More than 40 years later, the eighth-generation icon embodies the very same formula—refinement, style, power, and playful performance. The model year 2022 GTI introduces a plethora of interior and handling upgrades for the eighth generation, making it more dynamic than ever before.

The latest iteration of the EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection TSI® engine is found in the Golf GTI, and can be paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic. The GTI produces 241 horsepower—up 13 from the Mk7—and 273 lb-ft of torque.

New vehicle dynamics settings closely integrate the electronic stability control (ESC) with the electronic differential lock (XDS®) and the optional DCC® adaptive damping system. By adapting the individual wheel damping 200 times a second, it can deliver particularly agile and accurate handling.

The new GTI comes standard with the electronically controlled torque-sensing limited-slip VAQ differential. Compared with mechanically operated differentials, the system in the GTI offers a variable degree of intervention depending on the actual driving situation and ESC, EDS and XDS+ functions. This makes it possible to avoid steering corruption, as is the case with purely mechanical differentials. The VAQ differential optimizes grip and handling in fast corners, thus enhancing the performance and helping to decrease understeer, a traditional weakness of front-drive cars.

Available adaptive chassis control (DCC) continuously reacts to the road surface and driving situation. For the first time, the DCC running gear’s lateral dynamic components in the new GTI are coordinated and then further optimized by the vehicle dynamics settings. Via the Driving Mode Selection settings, the driver can influence the reduction in body motion as desired. The required damping is calculated for each wheel and adjusted at the four dampers within fractions of a second. This ensures that DCC can provide the highest level of driving comfort and ideal driving dynamics.

The 2022 Golf GTI features an entirely new electronic architecture, enabling a digitally networked world of displays and controls. 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro is standard, allowing drivers to create a customized display of pertinent information, including car status, driving data, phone information, album art, driver assistance features and more. Models equipped with the Discover Pro infotainment system with navigation are able to display a full screen map in the digital cluster and simultaneously on the 10-inch center display.

The GTI S starts at $29,545 MSRP for the manual transmission and $30,345 for the DSG. Destination is an additional $995.

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