Over 40 years, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has defined affordable fun, and the Golf R has embellished the package with more power and all-wheel drive.
While the Golf GTI and Golf R will live on, the 2024 model year marks enthusiasts’ last chance to get the legendary hot hatches with three pedals — the manual transmission is dead for 2025.
Aside from a special package for manual-transmission GTIs, VW’s sport compact twins are largely unchanged for 2024. Both get new wheel designs and power-folding mirrors, and manual-transmission Golf GTIs come fitted with a special-equipment package called the GTI 380. The package includes gloss-black 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires, as well as a black roof and side mirror caps. Graphite Gray Metallic paint, exclusive to the GTI 380, is available.
Powertrains and Fuel Economy
The Golf GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 241 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque; the same engine is tweaked to generate 315 hp and 295 pounds-feet in the Golf R. Both Golfs are available with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The GTI is front-drive only, while the Golf R sends power to all four wheels.
With the manual, the GTI is rated by the EPA at 23/34/27 mpg city/highway/combined; the dual-clutch automatic gets 24/33/27. The more powerful Golf R is rated at 20/28/23 mpg with the six-speed and 22/31/25 with the automatic.
Standard and Available Safety Features
With a focus on affordable fun, the Golf GTI and Golf R lack some of the advanced driver-assist features boasted by many similarly priced rivals, but that doesn’t mean they leave the driver out there alone. Standard equipment includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, lane departure steering assist, and front and rear parking sensors. The Golf R adds standard Park Assist, which will automatically steer the car into a parking space; it’s also standard on the top-of-the-line Autobahn trim of the GTI.
Availability and Pricing
The 2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R are on sale now. Pricing for the four-door hatchbacks (including $1,150 destination fee) is as follows:
380 S: $33,635
380 SE: $38,435
380 Autobahn: $41,775
While the Golf GTI is all about driving enjoyment, it’s no penalty box. Even in the base S trim, it comes with heated front seats, 30-color ambient lighting, push-button starting, an 8.25-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a wireless charging pad, and six-speaker sound system. Cars with the dual-clutch automatic ride on 18-inch wheels, while all manual-transmission GTIs get 19s with summer performance tires.
The SE adds a moonroof, keyless entry, navigation, a larger 10-inch touchscreen and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo. Opt for the Autobahn trim and you’ll net 19-inch wheels (regardless of transmission), adaptive suspension, a head-up display, and climate controls and heated seats for the rear passengers. The Golf R’s single trim comes loaded with everything from the Golf GTI Autobahn plus ventilated front seats.