New VW Golf GTI Mk8.5New VW Golf GTI Mk8.5

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Volkswagen reveals rebooted Golf Mk8.5 with new styling and better tech

  • New Mk8.5 seeks to address problems of outgoing model
  • Key improvements include infotainment and steering wheel
  • GTI gets more power and hybrids have longer ranges, but GTD is axed

Time 8:15 am, January 24, 2024

Volkswagen is on a mission to win back Golf customers’ hearts and has revealed an updated model that’s designed to address key weaknesses of the Mk8 version.

The new Mk8.5 features improved quality and technology and launches just four years after the introduction of the eight-gen model.

Its arrival comes after Volkswagen fast-tracked development of the Mk8.5 to cure key complaints from customers, particularly concerning the infotainment and technology systems.

A more conventional multifunction steering wheel is now fitted along with a new infotainment system, which is available on either a 10.4- or 12.9-inch display.

Now easier to use with greater customisation and simplified menus, other changes include illuminated touch sliders for the climate control settings. It uses the same MIB4 software as already introduced on the latest Passat and Tiguan too, with ChatGPT AI integration included.

The overall design of the Golf hasn’t changed dramatically, but differences include slimmer LED headlights, along with reprofiled bumpers that aim to give the model a cleaner finish.

Various new wheel designs are available, along with four new colours, while the front Volkswagen emblem can be illuminated for the first time.

Headlining the changes are a new infotainment system and a steering wheel now featuring traditional buttons

Key changes under the surface include a new plug-in hybrid powertrain available with 201bhp (eHybrid) or 268bhp on the Golf GTE.

These use a new 1.5-litre petrol engine, with a substantially larger 19.2kWh battery allowing for ‘electric ranges of around 100km (63 miles)’ when fully charged. There will also be the option to DC rapid charge the Golf plug-in hybrids for the first time too.

A choice of regular petrol and diesel engines will also remain on offer, with manual gearbox options still available on selected models.

The GTI, using a 2.0-litre petrol engine, has also had a 20bhp power boost, with the hot hatch now generating 262bhp, though will no longer be offered with a manual gearbox. The sporty GTD diesel model has also been discontinued because of falling demand.

The updated Volkswagen Golf will be available as both a hatchback and a more practical estate, though isn’t expected to arrive until the middle of the year. Prices are likely to start from around £27,000 when orders open.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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