It’s the year 2024, and we’re excited about physical controls appearing in a car. What a world, eh? Well, with one of the biggest bugbears of the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, its infuriating touch-sensitive controls allow us a moment to rejoice as we’re teased with the new Mk8.5 GTI and the return of proper switches.
Set to arrive a little later in the year, the Mk8.5 Golf will also see an updated infotainment system introduced to the hatchback. You know, the one with ChatGPT built in. No word on how big that screen is exactly, but we can say it’s bloody massive just by looking at it – likely matching the 15-inch display found in the ID7.
The most exciting of all changes, though, comes with the updated steering wheel. As we mentioned, the old car had horrible haptic buttons, which are now all replaced with physical controls for things like cruise control and media. Although that battle may have been won, the war on touch-sensitive climate sliders rages on. One day, maybe.
Otherwise, changes in the interior are seemingly non-existent. We’ll have to wait for Volkswagen’s official reveal of the car to confirm exactly, but everything from the digital instrument cluster to the seats looks to be the same as before.
Exterior changes aren’t set to be all that dramatic, or at least if they are, that HKS-camo-from-Wish livery is doing a great job of hiding it. Based on the aggro rear wing, it looks like this GTI is a Clubsport with a few subtle tweaks. The front bumper has certainly gotten angrier, while the rear diffuser looks to have grown a touch, and the taillights have a new LED layout.
Wheels from the current Golf R have been nabbed, too, so we’ll be interested to see if those remain on the updated car.
Mechanical changes are not yet known, but we’d suspect Volkswagen will seek to extract a few more horses for what will be the final internal combustion-powered Golf GTI. Currently, its 2.0-liter turbocharged unit produces 296bhp. A figure a tad north of 300bhp seems feasible, then. We’ll keep you posted when the official reveal happens.