The Mk8 VW Golf has not yet made its way to South Africa but German tuners are developing engine and body upgrades for the latest GTI. A prime example of this is the Manhart Golf GTI 290 which debuted earlier this week. Incidentally, VW SA recently announced that the Mk8 GTI will be introduced locally in the latter part of 2021.

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New appearance

The Manhart Golf GTI 290 is set apart from standard offerings by a few choice visual upgrades. These include a set of multi-spoke rims of their own design which measure 19 inches in diameter. The alloys are shod with 225/35ZR19 footwear. Thanks to a 40 mm lowering kit any unsightly arch gap has been removed. 

Click here to read about the standard specification of SA-bound Golf GTIs.

A diffuser has been added to the rear bumper and signature GTI red detailing has been applied to parts of the exterior. Occupants will get to enjoy a “‘starry night’ effect as the headliner of the cabin has been fitted with countless LEDs, much the same way that some Rolls Royce models are.

More power

In stock trim the Mk8 GTI delivers 180 kW of power along with 370 N.m of torque. Those outputs are derived from a 2,0-litre turbocharged engine that drives the front wheels. The Manhart Golf GTI 290 makes use of its own, upgraded ECU called the MHtronik module. 

Check out more bespoke creations from Manhart by clicking here.

This new unit helps lift power to 213 kW (290 hp, hence the name) and max torque up to a healthy 425 N.m. Manhart does not make any performance claims for its latest creation, but it’s probably safe to say that it’s slightly quicker from standstill to 100 km/h and loads quicker in terms of in-gear acceleration due to the massive increase in torque.