The new-generation 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI will be not be offered with a manual transmission option when it arrives in Australia next year.
Volkswagen Australia confirmed to CarAdvice today the eighth generation of Volkswagen's front-drive, cult-favourite hot hatch will land in local showrooms in early-to-mid-May 2021, around one or two weeks after the core 110kW Golf range touches down on Australian shores.
When it arrives in local dealers, the new-generation Golf GTI will be offered solely with a seven-speed 'DSG' dual-clutch automatic transmission, with the six-speed manual option offered in Europe and the US being off-limits for our market.
The seven-speed, wet-clutch 'DQ381' unit – shared with the full-fat Golf R – will be mated to the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder 'EA888' petrol engine that powered the previous-generation 'Mk7.5' GTI Performance, developing 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque.
It's worth noting that while European-market Mk8 Golf GTI models boast identical outputs to their Australian counterparts, locally-delivered cars won't feature the petrol particulate filter (PPF) fitted to European models, as they have been largely deemed incompatible with low-octane forms of Australia's high-sulphur petrol.
However, PPFs have been introduced in an assortment of lower-volume Volkswagen Group models in Australia in recent months – including the Audi RS3 and Skoda Superb Scout – on the basis that owners fill their cars with 95RON or 98RON premium unleaded, or otherwise risk costly damage to the filter.
In Europe, the new-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI can complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.3 seconds, towards an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.
Volkswagen Australia's decision to go automatic-only for the new GTI is shared with its 'Mk7.5' predecessor, which offered manual and dual-clutch automatic transmission choices until the three-pedal option was cut from the local range in October 2018, when the 180kW/370Nm 'Performance' engine tune became standard-fit.
The German brand's local arm cited slow sales for the decision, telling media at the time manual variants contributed to less than 10 per cent of GTI sales.
Given Golf GTI and R performance models account for around 25 per cent of total Golf sales, and the R outsells the GTI two-to-one in Australia, reintroducing the three-pedal option would, by current sales figures, see monthly manual GTI sales fall into single-digit territory.
The new-generation Skoda Octavia RS due in showrooms in the first quarter of 2021 – which shares its 2.0-litre engine and MQB platform with the GTI – will also continue to offer a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic as the sole transmission option, after having discontinued its manual option in September 2018.
While full pricing and specifications will be officially confirmed to the new GTI's arrival, it's likely the full gamut of technology, safety and performance features available in Europe will be offered in Australia, either as standard or as an option.
It's understood large 10.25-inch instrument cluster and infotainment displays, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and X-shaped LED fog lights will be standard, the latter trio's standard fitment indicated by a government database detailing all vehicles certified for sale in Australia.
A set of 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery and a sunroof could be offered as optional equipment.
For more details of everything on offer in the new Golf GTI, click here to read our reveal story from March 2020.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for local details of the new 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI as its launch nears in May 2021.
Should Volkswagen reintroduce the manual Golf GTI in Australia, despite slow sales? Let us know in the comments.