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2021 Volkswagen GTI not going hybrid after all?

by Ronan Glon

The GTI will still get a significant power boost.

The rumors claiming Volkswagen would turn the next-generation GTI into a hybrid hot hatch weren't entirely accurate, according to a recent report. The German firm considered the switch, but it will instead take the current car to the next level without straying far from the formula that has made it a hit.

When it breaks cover in early 2020, the eighth-generation GTI will pack an updated version of the seventh-gen model's turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, according to unverified information obtained by British magazine Autocar. The standard car will boast 252 horsepower, while the upgraded TCR model will offer 286 horsepower. To add context, the 2019 GTI comes with 228 horses.

Both models will stick to front-wheel drive. Transmission options will include a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. In its quickest configuration, the GTI TCR will take under six seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop.

Autocar learned former Volkswagen Group chairman Matthias Mueller approved a plan to add a 48-volt mild hybrid system to the GTI. It would have provided a boost at lower engine revolutions, but it likely wouldn't have powered the car on its own. Herbert Diess, Mueller's successor, allegedly canceled the project and ordered a non-hybrid GTI.

Volkswagen hasn't confirmed what the next-generation GTI will be powered by. The model is expected to make its debut before the end of the year, and we expect it will arrive in American showrooms for the 2021 model year. Meanwhile, the gasoline-electric powertrain that should have powered the GTI reportedly remains on track for production, and it will power other Volkswagen models.

Note: 2019 Volkswagen GTI TCR pictured.

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