Although it isn’t without faults, a track test of the Mk8 Golf GTI reveals that, in the ways that really matter, the GTI has actually gotten better.
It’s not a big change, not that you’d expect a massive step in any direction when, under the skin, this isn’t all that different from a Mk7, but it is a step forward. As Top Gear puts it, the GTI is a little bit sharper and a little bit better-rounded. 
The difference, they argue, comes down to Vehicle Dynamics Management (VDM). The system gathers in all the data coming from the car’s various sensors (ABS, ESC, the steering angle) and analyzes it all to make decisions about how those systems should react. 
Essentially, the GTI now has a brain. Rather than letting all those systems make decisions independently of each other, VDM considers everything else going on around the car and then lets those systems react. And it works, all of the tech works in harmony to deliver, well, fun.
Yes, it has an annoying interior, and the looks are—well I don’t think they’re interesting enough to be divisive—but it remains a class above when it comes to balancing fun and practicality. The GTI is still doing what the GTI does best, and that’s good to hear.