Model Preview

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.

Volkswagen 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.

Pricing & Release Date

The 2018 Volkswagen GTI is expected to arrive this fall. Based on our analysis, now is a great time to take advantage of attractive finance and lease deals on the current model. Current VW owners may also be eligible for a loyalty discount.

Shoppers should be aware that VW tends not to offer cash incentives like most automakers. While it's not unusual to see a $500 bonus around holidays, VW actually uses unadvertised incentives to help dealers improve prices. Except for certain vehicles like the Golf R and Beetle Dune Edition, most of the lineup tends to benefit from some level of factory incentives.

Official 2018 pricing is still a ways off. For reference, the current GTI starts at $26,415 with destination for the 4-door model with manual transmission. The optional DSG adds $1,100. Prices top out at $36,015 for the Autobahn model equipped with DSG.

Key competitors include the Ford Focus ST, Subaru WRX and Honda Civic Sport.

Learn about the current GTI on sale now»

Pictured: New GTI (Euro spec)

Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen GTI

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