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New VW Golf GTI leaked weeks ahead of launch – Photos

Photos of what appears to be the facelifted VW Golf GTI have leaked weeks before the official launch of the hot hatch takes place.

The mid-life update of the eighth-generation GTI – colloquially referred to as the Mk8.5 – is expected to be the last version of the iconic nameplate before it goes fully electric.

Well-placed sources provided Instagram’s Motor Magnet with photos of the Golf 8.5 showing a refined exterior design and a host of body styles; some of which are unlikely to be coming to our roads, such as the station wagon variant.

With the European launch of the new VW scheduled for some time within the first quarter of the year, South Africans can expect it to land locally towards late 2024 or in the first half of 2025, in line with previous introduction timelines for the various markets.

Judging from the current Golf line-up, we anticipate that only the athletic GTI and R versions will be available domestically once again.

VW Golf 8.5 Line-up. Source: Motor Magnet

Everything we know

The Golf 8.5 GTI is widely expected to feature an uprated version of the 2.0-litre, turbocharged powerplant that is employed by the current generation, and there is speculation that the manual option will be dropped completely in favour of a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic for all markets.

Power output for the setup could go as high as 195kW and 400Nm, up from 180kW and 370Nm, a report from UK-based AutoExpress suggests, which seems only right for the final hoorah of the legendary petrol-powered hatch.

This will likely cut down the 6.4-second acceleration time of the current GTI to around six seconds flat.

2024 VW Golf 8.5 GTI Leaked. Source: Motor Magnet

From the leaked images and teasers, we can see that the face of the GTI has been slightly tweaked with a sharper front bumper akin to that on the R which is complemented by restyled LED headlight clusters in a hexagonal fashion

It wears new Alfa Romeo-esque alloy wheels, and at the rear, it gets a more dynamic-looking diffuser and a new LED taillight signature.

VW Golf 8.5 GTI Teaser

That’s about it for the exterior changes, but inside, the new Golf was on the receiving end of wide-reaching upgrades.

VW already showed us the full interior of its new GTI a few weeks ago at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, revealing that it has gained a large touchscreen display perched on top of the dash in place of the current system that is integrated into the front fascia.

Gone are the touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel, too, finally replaced with real, tactile controls that will ensure far fewer misclicks and lower driver frustration levels.

VW Golf 8.5 Interior

The automaker has also confirmed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a main selling point of its new Golf, as ChatGPT will now be incorporated into the IDA voice assistant.

This allows owners to control the infotainment, navigation, and climate control using their voice, or to have the assistant answer general knowledge questions while on the go.

“In the future, AI will provide additional information in response to questions that go beyond this as part of its continuously expanding capabilities,” said VW.

“This can be helpful on many levels during a car journey: Enriching conversations, clearing up questions, interacting in intuitive language, receiving vehicle-specific information, and much more – purely hands-free.”

The official launch date of the Golf 8.5 range has yet to be announced, but with these images already surfacing out in the wild, it should take place within the coming weeks.

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