Volkswagen has released details on the development changes that its engineers made to the eighth-generation Golf GTI to optimize the vehicle’s chassis, stability, precision and cornering grip, while maintaining a level of comfort that is synonymous with the German manufacturer’s hot hatchback.
To increase the precision and the driving stability of the OEM’s latest hatchback, the running gear setup underwent several design modifications, including the strut-type front suspension now featuring reconfigured wishbone bearings and updated damper valving. The vehicle’s springs and buffer stops have also been changed to make the front axle spring rate 5% higher than the Mk7 GTI.
Alongside this, a new, 7 lb (3.2kg) lighter, aluminum subframe features to provide increased rigidity. The multilink rear axle has also undergone modifications, with a new wheel mount, wishbone bearing and spring setup, as well as reconfigured auxiliary springs. Rear axle spring rate has been increased by 15%, and both the damping bearings and damping hydraulics are new.
The driving dynamics control system, called Vehicle Dynamics Manager, was first debuted on the Mk8 Golf, and works by integrating the electronic stability control (ESC) with the electronic differential locks (XDS) and the optional DCC adaptive damping system. As a result, individual wheel damping is adapted 200 times every second to provide precise and accurate handling.
The newest GTI also now comes fitted with an electronically controlled torque-sensing limited-slip differential. This offers a variable degree of intervention depending on the actual driving situation and selected ESC, EDS and XDS+ functions. When teamed with the multi-plate clutch, the VAQ differential optimizes grip and handling in cornering situations to improve vehicle performance by decreasing understeer and enabling acceleration without loss of traction. Drivers can change the varying degrees in which the ESC or ASR reduces or increases intervention.
The Mk8 platform also features Volkswagen’s adaptive chassis control (DCC), a system that reacts to the road surface and driving situation and consequently adapts the Golf’s chassis.
Furthermore, progressive steering has also been added. Engineers made changes and set up the steering ratio more directly than a standard linear steering gear through a process of applying new software algorithms and a new software application. While normal steering systems operate on a fixed gear ratio, the GTI uses a progressive gear ratio to reduce the amount of lock required to maneuver or park. This also enables a sharper response time and more direct steering feel.
Progressive steering feel has been further optimized by using a variable steering rack and pinion gearing in conjunction with a more powerful electric motor. The gearing of the steering rack has been modified to improve the transition between indirect steering straight-ahead, and to make response times in larger turning angles more agile.
“Few other vehicles in this category offer a similarly finely tuned balance between sportiness and comfort,” commented Karsten Schebsdat, Volkswagen’s head of driving dynamics, steering and control systems. “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.”