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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk8 to be auto-only, due in May

The Volkswagen Golf GTI will continue to be auto-only in the Australian market with the arrival of the new Mk8, even though there's a manual available overseas.

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William Stopford
William Stopford

If you were hoping for a return of a three-pedal Volkswagen Golf GTI to our shores, we have some bad news.

Volkswagen Australia has confirmed the new, eighth-generation Golf GTI will be available exclusively with a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

It’ll arrive in May 2021, about a week after the regular Mk8 range.

The dual-clutch transmission is connected to Volkswagen’s EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which produces 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque.

Though it won’t be offered here, the six-speed manual will continue in markets like Europe and the US.

“There is no interest in a manual GTI. The last such variant was dropped in 2018 with sales of some 5 per cent of GTI volume,” said a spokesperson from Volkswagen Australia.

That year, both the GTI and the Golf R lost their available manual transmissions.

Though the share of manual GTIs was paltry at the end, many hot hatches retain a three-pedal option.

The Honda Civic Type R is exclusively available with a manual transmission, while the Hyundai i30 N has been manual-only since its launch. It’ll pick up a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission early next year.

The Ford Focus ST offers a choice of manual and automatic transmissions, as do the Renault Megane R.S. Sport and R.S. Cup. Even the similarly-powerful Subaru WRX sedan offers a choice.

The only rival hot hatches that are exclusively automatic are the moribund Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce and the Golf GTI’s corporate cousin, the Skoda Octavia RS.

A new Octavia RS hatch and wagon launch early next year and will continue to solely offer a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It’s mated to the same turbocharged four as in the Golf GTI.

MORE: Volkswagen Golf news and reviews
MORE: Volkswagen news and reviews

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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