What was supposed to be a casual drive to Sekinchan in the new facelift Arteon turned out to be a surprise preview of the new Golf GTI and R Line. They set to be assembled for the first time in Malaysia at the Pekan, Pahang plant.

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The Mk7.5 Golf GTI and R Line were priced at RM239,990 and RM166,990 respective but with the new generation assembled locally, it’s exciting just thinking about the possibility of significantly lower prices without any less substance.

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However, the launch is only expected to take place early next year. For those who have been eagerly awaiting, the new Mk8 Golf is now open for booking.

Whether it’s the GTI or the Golf R Line, it’s clear that Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia is trying to position the R Line closer to the GTI and flood the streets with their (second) most iconic hatchback.

You’d have to really scrutinise both cars side by side to narrow down the differences and the best part is, you get the same seats from the Golf GTI, in the R Line, albeit with different upholstery.

Yet, the interior ambience couldn’t be more different. There’s a strong “ready-to-race, boy racer” vibe in the Golf GTI, while the R Line projects a more subdued and calm environment with neutral colours.

The R-Line

That’s not the only difference in the cabin between the two. The GTI comes with sportier graphics on the digital instrument cluster and a flat-bottom steering with red accents and GTI lettering. In the R-Line the steering has a cleaner appearance with R lettering.

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In case you didn’t notice, there are only two knobs in the entire cabin – one for the gear controls and the other for adjusting the side mirrors. Everything else, every single control is now controlled with touch-sensitive “icons”.

The dashboard trims between the Golf GTI and R-Line are also different. The latter gets a carbon look, while the GTI comes with honeycomb details, just like the lower bumper design.

Interestingly, the Golf R-Line looks much sportier from the rearview with quad-exit exhaust tips (they’re not real by the way), compared to the single exit, round exhaust tips in the GTI.

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There’s more to tell the two apart from the front, with different bumper designs and a red line on the front grille of the GTI to draw some distinction.

As for performance, the GTI continues with the EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, paired to a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox to drive the front wheels. Output is rated at 245 hp and 370 Nm, a 15 hp and 20 Nm jump from before. 0 to 100 km/h is done in 6.4 seconds.

The more interesting news lies with the R-Line, where it continues to be powered by the 1.4 TSI engine from the Mk7.5 Golf but is now paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission instead of the 7-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox from before.

Really exciting stuff this! Keep your eyes peeled for further developments!

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GALLERY

Volkswagen Golf GTI