This year is the last for the seventh generation of the iconic GTI hot hatch, which Volkswagen introduced in 2015. An all-new version will come to North America as a 2022 model.
What’s New/Key Changes From Last Year
For 2021, the GTI loses its entry-level trim, so all cars now come in uplevel Autobahn guise.
The GTI Autobahn is the only configuration available this year. It’s standard with a six-speed manual transmission and can be optioned with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The VW GTI’s exterior wears 18-inch tires on alloy wheels, fog lights, auto on/off adaptive LED headlights, LED taillights, heated windshield washer nozzles, passive keyless entry, and power-adjustable/heated side mirrors. Mechanical highlights are a Dynamic Chassis Control adjustable suspension and a differential lock.
Inside, you get a panoramic sunroof, an 8.0-inch infotainment display, dual-zone automatic A/C, a Fender stereo with subwoofer, navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, power driver’s seat with lumbar, heated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, ambient lighting, and leather-trimmed steering wheel and handbrake.
Driver safety assists include adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
VW’s fuel consumption estimates for the GTI are 10.1/7.9 L/100 km (city/highway) with the six-speed manual, and 9.7/7.3 L/100 km with the optional seven-speed automatic.
The market for small, sporty cars shrinks a little every year now, but there remain a few models that compete for a slice of the GTI’s pie. Among them are the Honda Civic Si, Hyundai’s Elantra Sport, the Subaru WRX, the Mini Cooper S and JCW, and the Mazda3 with its new-for-2021 turbocharged engine option.