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Volkswagen Golf 2025: last combustion update brings physical buttons, adds AI and more powerful GTI


The Volkswagen brand is celebrating 50 years of the Golf with a significant update to the popular small car 

Volkswagen has revealed a pretty sizable update for its Mk8 Golf small car, a move that is set to give the Golf a boost before it’s electrified in its next generation. 

The German automaker has tweaked the Golf on the exterior, the interior, as well as with standard technologies and, for the first time, will implement artificial intelligence into its new fourth-generation operating system and infotainment. 

The Golf originally debuted in 1974 and, in 2019, surpassed 35 million units sold, making it one of the most successful vehicle nameplates of all time. 

2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI exterior static front 3/4 with plane 2
This is the 2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk8.5

According to Autocar, the future Mk9 generation Golf is set to go all-electric on Volkswagen’s new SSP platform from 2028. 

It’s expected that Volkswagen will bring the updated Mk8.5 Golf range to Australia late in 2024, or very early in 2025. 

So what’s changed for Golf in 2025?

2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI interior wide shot with screen
Volkswagen has tweaked the interior with a new angled screen and AI feature

Across the range, the Mk8.5 Golf will receive a series of important changes:

  • New fourth-gen infotainment system that includes a 10.4-inch touchscreen (12.9-inch screen optional) angled towards the driver 
  • Illuminated front VW badge 
  • Re-profiled front air ducts 
  • Angular LED light design front and rear  
  • Revised steering wheel with physical buttons replacing haptic buttons  
  • Debut of ChatGPT AI voice assistant feature
  • Higher-quality materials used in cabin

In terms of engine options available, the Golf will be available globally with several four-cylinder powertrains, including turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel variants. Europe will gain a 1.5-litre plug-in hybrid system that produces 150kW, but is pretty unlikely for Aussie shores.

2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI exterior static rear 3/4
We should see the first of the Mk8.5 Golfs around the very end of 2024

Hot GTI gains more power for Mk8.5 update 

Much to the delight of die-hard hot hatch fans, the updated Golf GTI will gain more power than before. 

The iconic performance hatch will now produce 195kW rather than 180kW, but will only be offered with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. The manual is dead!

That puts the GTI even closer to the outputs of the current Golf R (235kW/400Nm), the flagship we are still waiting for an update on.