The refreshed Golf GTI now boasts 262 horsepower and an improved infotainment system, but it has lost the manual gearbox option
Over the past five decades, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has seen its fair share of changes, but one thing remained constant: the manual transmission option. Well, not anymore. In the 2024 update (or 2025MY for North America), they’ve decided to bid farewell to the good old stick shift, but fret not, they’ve cranked up the power to soften the blow.
Volkswagen took the wraps off the lightly updated Mk8.5 Golf today, and with it revealed its latest take on the GTI. While some enthusiasts may be disheartened that it will be offered exclusively with a seven-speed DSG gearbox, there are other improvements to look forward to.
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Chief among them will be a nice chunk of extra power. Whereas the Mk8 Golf GTI offered drivers 241 hp (180 kW/245 PS), the updated Mk8.5 will offer them 261 hp (195 kW/265 PS) in Europe, which ought to please enthusiasts.
Volkswagen has not yet revealed how much power the GTI will make when it comes stateside in early 2025. The automaker also refrained from sharing information about the Europe-only, higher-performance Golf GTI Clubsport model. It will reveal details about that model, in addition to the Golf R (which is coming to the U.S.) and the Golf R Variant (that won’t be offered on our shores) in the second half of 2024.
Read: Volkswagen Bids Farewell To Manual Transmission With Special Edition 2024 Golf GTI 380
While buyers will undoubtedly be excited about the extra power, owners will probably be happiest about updates coming to the interior of the GTI. As with the rest of the lineup, the car gets an improved 10.2-inch infotainment system with permanent direct access to the air conditioning and seat heating. It will also benefit from VW’s ChatGPT-powered IDA AI system, which allows drivers to ask for changes to the air-conditioning and the navigation using natural language.
While the additional power will certainly excite buyers, owners are likely to be most pleased with the interior updates in the GTI. Like the rest of the lineup, the car receives an enhanced 10.2-inch infotainment system with convenient access to air conditioning and seat heating controls.
Furthermore, it incorporates VW’s IDA AI system, powered by ChatGPT, enabling drivers to make air-conditioning and navigation adjustments using natural language commands. VW has also ditched the touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel in favor of traditional physical buttons.
Volkswagen says that the GTI will come with premium sports seats that have a classic check pattern, and optional leather seats. The gas-only model will also get red contrast stitching, and a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel.
The updated Golf GTI will also get a standard aluminum surround for the shift lever, 30-color ambient lighting, a three-zone climate-control system, a top-of-the-line infotainment system, and optional genuine carbon fiber interior trim.
The exterior updates on the GTI are subtle but generally positive. The GTI’s head and taillights have been refreshed, as has its lower grille, which now has a straighter line at the top. You’ll also notice a GTI badge positioned under the side mirrors, and the hash mark in front of the door has been removed. Additionally, European customers will have the option of an illuminated front badge for the first time.
“The latest Golf exudes absolute clarity and a level of self-confidence that breaks down automotive class barriers,” says VW’s head of design, Andreas Mindt. “It will be our starting point for 2024 and the source of inspiration for us when developing the design of the Golf of tomorrow.”
Eugen Boglaru is an AI aficionado covering the fascinating and rapidly advancing field of Artificial Intelligence. From machine learning breakthroughs to ethical considerations, Eugen provides readers with a deep dive into the world of AI, demystifying complex concepts and exploring the transformative impact of intelligent technologies.