Volkswagen has officially previewed the facelifted Golf GTI hot hatch, set to be shown as a partially camouflaged prototype at the CES 2024 technology convention this week.
The 2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI will form part of the facelifted range due to be revealed in full later this year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the German brand’s iconic hatchback nameplate.
While the exterior details are somewhat concealed by the colourful wrap, we can see new headlight and tail light clusters with updated graphics – the latter look to be OLED units too – as well as what appears to be an Akrapovic titanium sports exhaust system.
It’s worth noting the more aggressive bodykit and light alloy wheels shown on this prototype are similar to what’s fitted to the existing GTI Clubsport, which borrows much of its body add-ons and running gear from the Golf R.
The GTI Clubsport never came to Australia, though its beefier 221kW 2.0 TSI engine can be had locally in the Cupra Leon VZx.
We also get a first look at the updated Golf 8’s interior, which may be surprisingly similar on first glance to the existing pre-facelift model.
Other than the larger central touchscreen – which should grow to 15 inches in higher grades – there’s little to differentiate the facelifted cabin from the existing model bar a revised sports steering wheel with physical multifunction controls instead of the infamous touch-capacitive switchgear in VW’s current range.
It’s hard to tell from the limited view in these teasers, but the Digital Cockpit Pro virtual instrument cluster should get a software update too. The graphics shown on this prototype appear to be lightly revised, and we know already the new Passat and Tiguan feature the new-generation MIB4 interface – so expect the same here.
The new Golf has been confirmed to receive the brand’s new ChatGPT-based voice assistant called IDA, which will start rolling out in a number of new Volkswagen models later this year including the new Golf, Tiguan, Passat, ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and ID.7.
The prototype’s interior, which appears to be a leather-clad Clubsport specification, also features a glossy carbon-fibre-effect insert similar to what we’ve seen in the Golf R 20 Years. It’s unclear whether this will become more widely available with updated versions of the GTI and R.
Late last year Volkswagen briefly teased the new Golf in a video hosted by CEO Thomas Schäfer, one of the “many highlights and new products” to come from the German auto giant in 2024.
While the latest, most efficient iterations of Volkswagen’s powertrain range are understood to be coming to the updated Golf line-up, headlined by new eHybrid PHEVs with around 100 kilometres of electric range, the engine line-up in Australia is expected to carryover when the updated Golf arrives, likely in 2025.
The core range is currently powered by an older 1.4 TSI four-cylinder turbo petrol mated to an Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic, while the GTI and R performance models get a 2.0 TSI with seven-speed DSGs which are closer to European spec.
VW hasn’t committed to bringing the Golf eHybrid or GTE PHEVs Down Under as yet, though the latter has been under consideration for Australia for some time.
The updated version of the plug-in hot hatch is expected to be boosted to 200kW (up from 180kW) from a new 1.5 TSI plug-in hybrid system and offer between 80-100km of electric range from its bigger lithium-ion battery (up from 50-60km).
While still a solid seller in Europe – though it lost its top ranking in the past couple of years – the VW Golf is a smaller player in the Australian market. However, its reclassification into the premium small passenger VFACTS category has seen it technically take segment leadership.
For the 2023 calendar year the Golf returned 3592 registrations, ahead of the related Audi A3 (3319) and all-electric MG 4 (3134) in the Small Passenger over $40,000 segment. That’s up 11.4 per cent on the year prior, and VW Australia confirmed that 1039 units of those 3592 deliveries were high-spec GTI and R models.
The Golf remains a key model within the company’s line-up globally, and has been confirmed to go all-electric in its next generation and keep its long-running name. Previously, it appeared Volkswagen would retire legacy nameplates in its transition into electrification in favour of the new ID. family.
Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest Volkswagen Golf news in the coming months, and share your thoughts in the comment section below.