The Golf is no longer Volkswagen’s best seller here or in Europe, but CEO Thomas Schäfer has teased an updated version as one of its key launches for 2024.

    In a video by the Volkswagen brand CEO, he said 2024 would be another year with “many highlights and new products, one in particular” before giving us a shadowy look at the updated small car, which could be referred to as the Mk8.5.

    There are a lot of lights up front: thin daytime running lights stretching across the top of the headlights and grille; new, round lighting elements within the headlights; and an illuminated badge.

    Judging by the roof racks, this particular example in the teaser appears to be a wagon, which won’t be coming here as Volkswagen Australia axed all its wagons earlier this year.

    This isn’t our first look at the facelifted small car.

    An image of what appears to be the updated Golf leaked online earlier this year, showing off the more aggressive new look up front.

    Published to Korean forum Autospy, the image shows “the new Golf” at what appears to be an internal preview event.

    The vehicle shown wears slimmer headlights that retain the conjoined look of the current model, which gets an LED light bar on higher grades.

    There’s a new front bumper design too that is quite angular and aggressive, suggesting the vehicle shown here is an R-Line version – a similar design adorns the R-Line version of the latest Passat.

    No images of the updated hatchback’s interior have been published yet, but Volkswagen’s renewed focus on interior tactility and quality should mean the updated Mk8 will offer a more refined take on the current car’s more minimalist design.

    Using the new ID.3, Passat and Tiguan as a guide, the new Golf should feature more soft-touch surfaces and stitched leatherette details, elevating the cabin ambience to more premium levels.

    Further, larger 12.9 and 15-inch touchscreens are expected to be available, up from the existing car’s 10.25-inch unit, running the brand’s new MIB4 infotainment system.

    The new interface is said to offer enhanced functionality via a new natural voice control function, and Volkswagen has updated the menu structure and “operating philosophy” to be more user-friendly.

    Mr Schäfer has confirmed Volkswagen is walking away from some controversial interior features rolled out under his predecessor, including touch-capacitive steering wheel switchgear and climate control sliders that aren’t illuminated. Expect proper steering wheel buttons and backlit sliders on the updated Golf.

    Volkswagen has previously confirmed the updated Golf will receive the latest developments of the MQB evo architecture, from the new MIB4 infotainment system and higher-quality interior finishes, to the newest, most efficient drivetrains the brand has to offer.

    Like the new Passat and Tiguan, the new Golf will offer turbo-diesel engines (TDI), turbocharged petrol engines (TSI), mild-hybrid turbocharged petrol engines (eTSI) and plug-in hybrid systems (eHybrid).

    A range of 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre units are currently available globally, and these will be used in the new model with some improvements. Australian models run an older 1.4 TSI with an eight-speed automatic previously used for the US-market Golf, rather than the latest EU-spec drivetrains.

    The biggest developments should be in store for the eHybrid PHEVs, including the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid hot hatch. A new 1.5 TSI evo2 turbocharged petrol engine forms the basis of VW’s new plug-in hybrid system, which should be available in 150kW and 200kW tunes like the new Passat.

    With a larger 19.7kWh (net) lithium-ion battery pack, the new Golf eHybrid and GTE should offer around 100 kilometres of electric driving range – up from 50-62km – plus 50kW DC fast charging.

    A plug-in hybrid Golf had been mooted by Volkswagen for Australia, but its launch is now unconfirmed.

    While there won’t be an electric version of the current generation of Golf as there was with its Mk7 predecessor, the next new generation of Golf is set to be electric-only.

    Mr Schäfer has previously said the next Golf “must be an electric vehicle” and will keep its name. It could launch around 2028.

    To the end of November, the Golf is Volkswagen Australia’s sixth best-selling vehicle with 3352 sales, behind the T-Roc (8187 sales), Tiguan (6945), Amarok (5693), T-Cross (5512), and Tiguan Allspace (4037).

    The T-Roc also dethroned the Golf as the brand’s best seller in Europe in 2022.

    MORE: Everything Volkswagen Golf

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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