But of course, the powertrain isn’t all that will change as the GTI enters its eighth generation. Vehicle ride and handling should see a substantial improvement, too, thanks to a new driving dynamics control system dubbed the “Vehicle Dynamics Manager”. That system manages the XDS electronic locking differential and optional DCC adaptive damping, if so-equipped, to optimize the driving dynamics depending on the situation.

And then, there’s the design, which sports a sleek new look defined largely by a sharp, distinctive horizontal line made by the thin upper grille and low-mounted standard LED headlights. The lower grille, meanwhile, is broad, massive, and features a sporty honeycomb pattern. Optional foglamps are arranged into a peculiar X-shape integrated into the sides of the grille.

Out back, the GTI flaunts a new set of standard LED taillights and an aggressive, sporty lower diffuser, which incorporates a pair of polished exhaust tips. But arguably the most characteristic feature of the new GTI’s exterior design is the C-pillars, which have been sculpted to recall the original GTI’s classic looks, bringing its signature design into the modern era.