Updated VW Golf unveiled with new styling, tech and features

The new Golf Mk8.5 benefits from a sharper front end design.
The new Golf Mk8.5 benefits from a sharper front end design.
Image: Supplied

Volkswagen is this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of its iconic and immensely popular Golf hatchback. To celebrate this significant milestone the German carmaker has unveiled a mildly updated version of the Golf Mk8 that first arrived on the scene in 2019. 

Unveiled in Wolfsburg on Wednesday, the Golf Mk8.5 hits the asphalt with subtle exterior enhancements including a revised front bumper design, new LED headlight clusters and — for the first time in the model's history — an illuminated VW grille badge. IQ.Light LED matrix headlights are available as an option and when fitted provide a main beam range of up to 500m. The rear of the vehicle features new tail lamp clusters with 3D light graphics.

New tail lamp clusters feature 3D light graphics.
New tail lamp clusters feature 3D light graphics.
Image: Supplied

Inside the cabin you'll find a newly developed intuitive infotainment system with a free-standing touchscreen measuring up to 12.9-inches in size. According to Volkswagen it has been ergonomically optimised and includes new illuminated touch sliders for temperature and volume control at its base. The system's software has also been enhanced and will soon offer integration with ChatGPT.

Showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the beginning this month, this feature can seamlessly access the ever-growing database of artificial intelligence. Occupants can interact with the vehicle using natural language and have researched content read aloud to them while travelling.

Other standout features include an enhanced multifunction steering wheel and new IDA voice assistant. The latter not only lets you control functions such as the air-conditioning, telephone and navigation system, but also allows access to a plethora of online information, everything from weather forecasts to general knowledge questions.

The Golf Mk8.5 further benefits from a slew of updated driver assistance systems. These include Park Assist Plus and Park Assist Pro. Available on the Golf for the first time, the latter allows owners to guide their vehicle in and out of tight parking spaces using nothing but their smartphone. Another new feature is Area View, which merges all four of the Golf's cameras to provide a 360º all-round view projected on the touchscreen.

Foreign markets can look forward to an improved GTE plug-in hybrid model offering additional power and an electric range of about 100km. An efficient 48V mild hybrid eTSI will also be made available as will more conventional turbocharged petrol (TSI) and diesel (TDI) models. The flagship GTI promises to deliver even sportier performance with increased engine power compared to its predecessor (195kW up from 180kW). 

Further Golf derivatives will be introduced throughout 2024.


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