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Wednesday / 17 April 2024
HomeNewsNew VW Golf GTI revealed – Fresh looks and more power

New VW Golf GTI revealed – Fresh looks and more power

VW has finally taken the covers off the facelifted eighth-generation Golf GTI – known as the Mk8.5 – with the hatch receiving new standard equipment, a refreshed look, and most importantly, more power.

While not yet confirmed by VW itself, it’s widely expected that this will be the final hoorah of the iconic petrol-powered hatchback before it goes fully electric in 2026 and beyond.

Nip and tuck

Exterior touchups on the revised GTI include a new front lip with more angular air ducts similar to those of the Golf R, a new side sill, a more pronounced rear spoiler, a more dynamic-looking rear bumper, restyled LED lights at the front and back, and the fitment of 17-inch Richmond alloys with the option to upsize the wheels to 19 inches.

Moreover, the hatch now wears an illuminated VW logo on the nose, and it can be optioned with the automaker’s IQ.Light LED Matrix headlights with a main beam range of up to 500m.

Moving inside, there is a new Sports multifunction steering wheel with a marked absence of any touch-sensitive controls, electric Sports seats with red needlework, a gear knob with aluminium surrounds, 30-colour ambient lighting, three-zone climate control, a revised 10.2-inch driver’s display with new graphics, and a larger 12.9-inch infotainment system with an improved user interface.

A suite of assistance systems is available, too, including Park Assist Plus which can perform autonomous parking manoeuvres with the driver inside the car, the all-new Park Assist Pro that enables drivers to guide the car in and out of parking spaces using their smartphones, and a new Area View system that provides a 360-degree view of the vehicle on the central screen by stitching together the images from the four perimeter cameras.

For the very first time, the GTI can also be equipped with optional interior applications in genuine carbon fibre.

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the form of a ChatGPT-powered voice assistant is another new selling point.

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.”

Under the skin, the GTI continues to be driven by the dependable 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol mill of its predecessors which has been uprated by 15kW to produce 195kW.

In international markets, VW has dropped the option to have the hot hatch in manual spec and it’s now offered exclusively with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. This won’t affect local customers, though, as the GTI has been auto-only in South Africa since the introduction of the pre-facelift Mk8.

VW has yet to provide any performance statistics for the updated hot hatch, but it should be quicker to 100km/h than its predecessor which reached the landmark in 6.4 seconds. Top speed is likely to remain capped at 250km/h.

The South African launch date and specifications of the new Golf GTI Mk8.5 have yet to be announced – however, we expect it will only arrive on local soil towards the end of 2024 or start of 2025 judging from the previous model’s introduction timeline.

VW Golf GTI Mk8.5

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