2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

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  • Overview

    A black 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn is angled left.

    There’s something truly special about the compact car driving experience. Sure, there are faster cars. There are definitely bigger cars, too. But the feeling of driving a well-designed compact car is like no other. You hug the turns, zip in and out of traffic deftly, and parking is easy as pie. The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI occupies a special place in the world of compact cars. After all, how many other small vehicles can honestly say they have real-life Autobahn experience? Some cars are merely driven. The Golf GTI is designed for drivers.

    If you’re looking for a muscle car, a huge work truck, or an off-road-ready beast of a vehicle, this isn’t it. But if you want to have fun every time you drive and enjoy the thrill of the road, the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is exactly what you need. With standard safety features that blow the competition off the road and a lineup of trims that cater to every driver’s needs, the Golf GTI is the “just right” combination of “practical” and “athletic.” Discover what makes the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI such an exciting buy for drivers who like to have a good time behind the wheel.


    Horsepower (hp)


    Torque (lb-ft)

    24 / 32 2

    Fuel Economy (city/ hwy mpg)

    Starting at


  • Engine

    A white 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is shown from the front rounding a corner.

    Not to be confused with the regular Volkswagen Golf, the GTI features a more powerful engine, suspension, and brakes. The GTI models are constructed specifically for the highest level of performance, inside and out. The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is well-mannered and responsive, with a surprising amount of get up and go exactly where you want it. Those looking for a super-sport model can turn to the Autobahn trim, named after its Autobahn-tuned sport suspension. This trim not only packs a peppier punch, but it snugly hugs the roads with a level, smooth ride.

    Power and Performance

    Under the hood is a 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 engine. Don’t be fooled by the specs - this engine is good for 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, with recorded 0-60 mile per hour times of 5.9 seconds. Despite the surprising level of pep, the EPA-estimated fuel economy is quite reasonable, with GTIs averaging 23 miles per gallon on the city streets and 30 miles per gallon on the highway.2

    For those who like to have a higher level of control in their zips and zooms, the 2021 Golf GTI includes a standard six-speed manual transmission, though a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic version is available. The automatic transmission offers steering wheel paddle shifters, putting the fully exhilarating experience directly in the driver’s hands. Also on board are high-performance brakes, selectable driving modes, and a limited-slip differential, making all aspects of driving tight, bright, and fun.

    Yes, the Golf GTI is a compact car with a hatchback. But unlike the hatchbacks of days gone by, it packs a powerful punch. With a maximum 24.8 cubic feet of cargo room when the second seat is folded, there’s a lot you can do with this space, too. Not many vehicles can admit to being as fun and practical as the 2021 GTI.

  • Safety

    The badge and camera are shown on a blue 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

    Safety and Assistance for Every Driver

    With great power comes great responsibility, and the driver assistance features of the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI are intelligently engineered to keep everyone on the road as safe as can be. The Driver Assistance package includes a full array of features that can help any driver, including a standard Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, and High Beam Control on all trims. Safety features increase as the trim levels climb, with the SE trim receiving the LED Headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System. Stepping up to the top Autobahn trim adds Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, and the Parking Steering Assistant.

    Volkswagen Car-Net Connectivity

    Also available is the Volkswagen Car-Net system. Designed to provide peace of mind, the features included in Car-Net are controlled via a mobile app. The Remote Commands options allow drivers to unlock/lock the doors, start the engine, honk the horn and flash the lights all from the app. Alternately, Car-Net can be synced with your Alexa device to work from voice commands.

    The Family Guardian features of the Car-Net system allow you to feel comfortable with others using your car, especially if you have young or inexperienced drivers in your family. These alerts allow you to set speed controls, range boundaries, and curfew requirements. Also included with the Car-Net system are additional safety and security features. This includes Anti-Theft Alerts, Automatic Crash Notifications, Emergency Assistance, Roadside Call Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Locator.

    Technology plays a big role in this little car, with loads of standard driver assistance and safety features that have been carefully thought out to protect drivers on busy city streets and congested freeways alike.

  • Trims

    A close up shows the plaid interior in a 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI S.

    Volkswagen Golf GTI Features and Trims

    For the 2021 model year, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is offered in three trims: S, SE, and Autobahn. All three models ride on 18-inch alloy wheels with signature red brake calipers. Features like rain-sensing windshield wipers and power-adjustable heated side mirrors are standard on all trims, as well.

    The S Trim

    The S trim starts things off with loads of luxury, including interior features like a leather-wrapped gear shift knob and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The seats are clad in Clark Plaid, as per Volkswagen tradition. The front seats are heated and partially power-adjustable, with lumbar support for the driver and front passenger. The rear seats fold 60/40 to provide ample configurations for cargo and passengers alike. A 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system is connected to 6 speakers, AM/FM radio, and Bluetooth to allow audio streaming. A USB port is included, along with App-Connect, which allows drivers to link their smart devices to the touch screen.

    The SE Trim

    The SE trim has had a few updates for 2021, including a more robust infotainment system and new wheels. Drivers can enjoy leather upholstery in the SE trim, along with a larger 8-inch touchscreen and a panoramic sunroof. Wireless App-Connect is also added, along with voice control, SiriusXM radio, a proximity sensor, and a premium color Multifunction Display. A Car-Net system is standard on the SE trim, which adds plenty of additional convenience features, including remote keyless access.

    The Autobahn Trim

    The Autobahn trim views things a little differently. Maybe it’s the DCC adaptive chassis control with adaptive suspension damping. Maybe it’s the take-off-ready summer performance tires. The Golf GTI Autobahn was definitely designed for a different level of performance.

    The tech is surprisingly robust, as well. From coveted features like Adaptive Cruise Control and Park Assist to luxury intended to take the experience to the next level, such as the Fender Premium audio system and integrated navigation controls, this version of the GTI is intended to create an immersive experience for drivers who want it all. The leather-upholstered seats are fully power-adjustable, with up to 12 different adjustment zones. Climatronic dual-zone automatic climate control keeps all passengers equally comfortable, while the amplified safety features keep them all secure throughout the trip.

    The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI has outdone itself as far as features, comfort, and convenience. With a base model as well-equipped as the S trim, it’s easy to see the value in a vehicle like the Golf GTI. All systems are simple to operate, with intuitive controls and independent buttons that take all of the guesswork out of the process. The 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI is less “what does this do?” and more “let’s do this.”

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