Fresh design flourishes outside and gigantic digital screens inside for facelifted VW Golf 8.5
The 2023 Volkswagen Golf is coming in for a facelift and these latest spy photos from Europe show the German auto giant isn’t sitting around waiting for rivals like the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 to overtake it in the small-car market.
The changes to one of Volkswagen’s most important global models are very much ‘blink and you’ll miss them’, but eagle-eyed readers will notice the redesigned headlight clusters are a little sleeker and slimmer in the 2024 VW Golf ‘8.5’, while the front bumper also gets a slightly updated visuals.
At the rear of the small hatchback the changes are likewise subtle, extending to an updated bumper and minor tweaks to the LED elements – but not the overall shape – of the tail-lights.
When the updated Golf arrives in Australia – which may not be until 2025, following its 2024 European launch – it’s understood the new model will most likely soldier on with the same combustion engines, but chassis changes are expected to ensure it remains one of the benchmark small cars in terms of ride and handling.
While these latest spy photos from Austria don’t show the interior, spy pics we saw in late 2022 confirm up-spec versions of the facelifted VW Golf models will get an absolutely enormous central touch-screen as it seeks to maintain a more premium positioning than rivals such as the Corolla, i30, Honda Civic and Mazda3.
The specific size of the new digital screen is not known but it looks very similar to the whopping 15-inch screen from the upcoming Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
Either way, it will eclipse the current 8.25- and 10.0-inch screens currently offered in Golf Mk8 models and is set to be powered by a new operating system and sharper visuals that should improve loading and response times for menus, maps and general functions.
The cabin also appears to get a resculpted centre console and is anticipated to get an uptick in interior material quality, along with more luxurious finishes and the potential for digitally-controlled smart air-vents.
VW has also talked about ditching touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel and these could also be a calling card for the facelifted Golf 8.5.
If that’s the case the famous Golf name would be retired, but Volkswagen is more likely to turn the popular small hatch and wagon into an all-electric model line. Given the brand will only be selling EVs in Europe from 2033, VW has some difficult decisions ahead of it over the next few years.
In Australia, the Golf is no longer a crucial vehicle in the brand’s portfolio, with SUVs like the T-Roc, T-Cross and Tiguan proving more popular in recent years Down Under, where the Amarok ute is now VW’s best-seller.