German automaker Volkswagen claimed that its hot hatch Golf GTI—which is on its eighth-generation—focuses on improving stability, precision and cornering grip through the development of its chassis design.
Volkswagen’s Head of Driving Dynamics, Steering and Control Systems Karsten Schebsdat said that while it has enhanced driving dynamics, the latest iteration of the practical hatchback has maintained the comfort intended for everyday use.
“The Golf GTI has always been synonymous with pure driving dynamics,” Schebsdat said.
“Few other vehicles in this category offer a similarly finely tuned balance between sportiness and comfort. Thanks to the combination of new running gear setup plus torque-sensing limited-slip differential (VAQ) and Vehicle Dynamics Manager we were able to elevate the outstanding overall performance of the GTI to an even higher level,” he explained.
Volkswagen shared that the running gear setup on the new GTI has been altered to increase precision and driving stability.
The newest design has reconfigured wishbone bearings for its strut-type front suspension and has a revised damping hydraulics. “The springs and buffer stops are reconfigured as well, to give a front axle spring rate five percent higher than Mk7 GTI.”
Aside from that, the Golf GTI now wears a new aluminum subframe which is almost seven pounds lighter than its predecessor. “The multilink rear axle features similar modifications, including a new wheel mount, wishbone bearing and spring setup, as well as reconfigured auxiliary springs. The spring rate at the rear axle increases by 15 percent compared with the Mk7. The damping bearings are new, as are the damping hydraulics.”
Debuting on the Gold Mk 8 is its new driving dynamics control system, Vehicle Dynamics Manager. This feature closely integrates the electronic stability control (ESC) with the electronic differential locks (XDS) and the optional DCC adaptive damping system. “By adapting the individual wheel damping 200 times a second, it can deliver particularly agile and accurate handling.”
Further, the new GTI now comes with an electronically controlled torque sensing limited-slip differential. Unlike the fully mechanically operated differentials, the system offers an adaptable degree of intervention, depending on the actual driving situation and ESC, EDS and XDS+ functions, thus making it avoid steering corruption. “Thanks to a multi-plate clutch, the VAQ differential optimizes grip and handling in fast corners, thus enhancing the performance and helping to decrease understeer, a traditional weakness of front-drive cars.”
Moreover, Volkswagen boasted that the GTI can handle corners in a neutral stance and also accelerates without any loss of traction—partly due to the locking torque of the VAQ differential that can be significantly increased in Sport mode.
“On the racetrack, it is possible to adapt the ESC intervention in two stages. In ESC Sport mode, the ESC thresholds and ASR slip thresholds are increased to reduce the intensity of interventions. In ESC Off mode, ambitious drivers can deactivate ESC altogether.”
Furthermore, available adaptive chassis control (DCC) continuously responds to the road surface and driving situation. “For the first time, the DCC running gear’s lateral dynamic components in the new GTI are coordinated and then further optimized by the Vehicle Dynamics Manager. Via the Driving Mode Selection settings, the driver can influence the reduction in body motion as desired. The required damping is calculated for each wheel and adjusted at the four dampers within fractions of a second. This ensures that DCC can provide the highest level of driving comfort and ideal driving dynamics in conjunction with the Vehicle Dynamics Manager.”
The set-up of the Golf GTI, fitted with the latest-generation DCC, can be extended in Individual mode “to go beyond the existing range of the fixed Comfort, Eco and Sport modes” enabling the driver to set and store their personal driving profile using a digital slider.
“Beyond the Comfort setting, the body is ‘decoupled’ from the road surface as much as possible, thus boosting driving comfort. Beyond Sport mode, there is an extended setting range with maximum damping for minimized body movements and extremely direct and neutral vehicle handling,” Volkwagen explained.
The eighth version of the Golf GTI has an enhanced “progressive” steering, wherein the steering ratio is more direct compared to a standard linear steering gear “while applying new software algorithms and a new software application.” The technology significantly reduces the amount of lock required to steer when maneuvering and parking. “On winding country roads and when turning off, the driver will notice sharper responses, thanks to the more direct setup. It also means that the driver does not have to change hand position as frequently.
“Lock to lock, there are just 2.1 turns in the new GTI with 18-inch wheels and tires. In terms of technology, progressive steering is differentiated from the basic steering system by variable steering rack and pinion gearing as well as a more powerful electric motor. In contrast to systems with fixed steering ratio, which are always forced to compromise between driving dynamics and comfort, the gearing of the steering rack is considerably modified functionally using the steering stroke. As a result: the transition between indirect steering straight-ahead response and direct response to larger turning angles is more agile.”
Should this be made available in the country, Ayala-backed Volkswagen Philippines will have the perfect driving companion to city slickers who enjoy the occasional run to nearby provinces for a scenic, athletic spin.
Photos from Volkswagen