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VW Reveals Facelifted 2024 Golf MK8.5 GTI: The Last of it's Kind?

2024 Golf GTI facelift

Revised styling and re-booted in-car tech for the facelifted Golf, including ChatGPT integration. GTI gets a power boost to 261 bhp as the Golf celebrates 50 years in production in 2024.

March 2024 marks fifty years of VW Golf production, and five since the Mk8 version has been on sale, which seems like the perfect excuse to release and updated version. The anniversary may be a bittersweet one however, with rumours persisting that after over 37 million sales, the 8.5 might be the last of its kind, maybe even the last Golf - as the next generation car will be moving to an EV platform.

VW then, is keen to make sure the new Golf comes out swinging, with Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen making a bold statement “with even higher efficiency, comfort and quality and a new operating concept. The Golf does not get any better than this.”

On the surface, the changes are subtle. The new look is restricted to revised LED headlamps and taillights, a more aggressive front bumper, new alloy wheels and for the first time, the VW roundel is illuminated. The GTI's alloys pay homage the alloys from the MKV, however if you worked in Alfa Romeo's styling department you'd certainly be forgiven for throwing a fiery Latin temper tantrum.

Under the bonnet of the GTI, it's business as usual with the long-serving EA888 2-litre turbocharged four cylinder remaining in-situ. Power is up to 261 bhp (from 242 bhp) for the cooking GTI, with similar small increases expected to follow for other sporting models such as the GTI Clubsport, Golf R, GTD and GTE. All Golfs are now only available with the 7-speed DSG gearbox, with the manual being killed off due to emissions regulations.

Very subtle stuff then on the mechanical front. That's because VW appears to have concentrated it's efforts on the much maligned in-car technology and user interface. The MK8.5 features a newly developed, IDA voice command system with a 32.8 cm touchscreen. touchscreen. Thankfully, VW has now made the touch sliders for temperature and volume control a permanent resident at the base and illuminated them - one of the biggest sources of frustration for MK8 owners.

The headline news however, is the integration of ChatGPT into the IDA voice assistant, first announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Occupants of the car will be able to interact with the Artificial Intelligence on the move, and access future AI databases as the technology evolves.

From launch, mild hybrid (eTSI), plug-in hybrid (eHybrid and GTE), turbocharged petrol (TSI) and turbocharged diesel (TDI) variants will be available. Further Golf MK8.5 derivatives will be introduced throughout 2024. A new plug-in hybrid variant is on the way with a claimed all-electric range of 100 km (total range of 1,000 km), plus DC quick-charging function with 50 kW charging capacity. There is no official word on pricing yet, but it is safe to expect a small hike across the range.



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