The Volkswagen GTI is set to gain fresh updates for the 2018 model year. Based on what we know about the European version that will debut first, the most notable changes are expected to be a revamped interior, new safety technology and the possibility of a more powerful engine.
Although the exterior of the GTI will look familiar, the interior is expected to gain some nice improvements. One will likely be a revised infotainment screen with gesture control capability. Drivers may also appreciate a new digital gauge cluster reminiscent of the latest models from Audi.
One notable change purists may want to look out for is the elimination of the standard plaid cloth seats. Based on the European car, it appears the GTI will instead be offered with seats sporting a hexagonal pattern with contrast stitching and bold red accents. Better-equipped versions offer supple Vienna leather sport seats.
Under-the-hood specs haven't been announced yet for the U.S. car. That being said, the European version will be getting a bump in power from 210 hp to 227 hp. A Performance Package increases output to 242 hp. For reference, the current Golf R is rated at 292 hp based on a tuned version of the 2.0-liter turbo from the standard GTI.
Safety will be an area in which the GTI is set to gain an advantage over predecessors. The model is expected to have available driver assistance features like city emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor and auto high beams.
Expect updates closer to the launch of the U.S. version.