VW Teases Facelifted Mk8.5 Golf

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Volkswagen has trimmed its Golf lineup in the U.S. to just the GTI and Golf R, but the car is moving ahead with a facelift in 2024 ahead of a planned switch to electric. VW CEO Thomas Schafer recently shared a year-end recap for the automaker, giving us a teaser for the revised car before signing off for 2023.

The Mk8.5 Golf features an illuminated VW logo and revised LED daytime running lights. It retains the LED light bar that follows the hood line in current models. VW’s changes are similar to the updates it gave the Touareg in Europe, which brought an illuminated badge on the back end.

The cars may also pick up interior improvements with more physical buttons and a revised layout. A larger infotainment screen is also expected. That said, the Golf R and Golf GTI lose their manual transmission options after 2024, marking a significant change for the model.

Volkswagen has said that it would only sell EVs in Europe starting in 2033, so the Golf’s shift away from gas power isn’t a surprise. The new car is expected to arrive in 2028, riding on VW’s SSP platform. We’ve been hearing rumors for a while, and the automaker already has a small electric hatchback prototype, so the writing has been on the wall for quite some time.

[Image: VW via YouTube]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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9 of 19 comments
  • The Oracle The Oracle on Dec 22, 2023

    These are all over the roads here in WNC, most of them being absolutely thrashed by clientele of all ages with the requisite APR Tuning sticker plastered all over it.

  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Dec 23, 2023

    "moving ahead with a facelift in 2024 ahead of a planned switch to electric...."

    What happens when all these cars switch to electric and no one buys them?

  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Dec 23, 2023

    I know I'm painting a target on myself, but I took delivery of a '24 Golf R three months ago. I was prepared to be frustrated with the lack of physical buttons after reading so many negative reviews, but it isn't terrible. Admittedly, I only ever turn the HVAC system on and occasionally use the stereo (the exhaust sound in Race mode is all the music I need), but the interface isn't anywhere near as bad as what others are saying. Would I prefer buttons? Sure, but since I could have a manual without buttons or wait and get buttons with a DSG, I made the right choice.

    • See 3 previous
    • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Dec 27, 2023

      Theflyersfan - I realize that I forgot to answer your question about the R as a daily driver. I'm probably not the best person to answer this as I put an average of 10,000 km / 6000 miles on my car per year, and most of that is spring through fall. Currently the car is three months and two days old and it's only got 1450 km / 870 miles on it. Since it isn't broken in yet, and since it's on winter tires and rims, I haven't pushed it much. But above 4500 rpm it is insane. The thrust is impressive. As a daily driver, I think it will be great. I'm always a bit defensive with any vehicle I own - parking far from anyone else at a store, for example - and the R is no different. But as for utility and ease of driving, it's great. I can live with the haptic controls but would prefer real buttons and knobs. The problem is that VW is dropping the manual after 2024 so there won't be any manual cars with the redesigned interface. I can live with the haptic controls but I can't live without a manual. I'll add that the seats are supremely comfortable. Far more comfortable than the 2019 GLI I traded in, and those were comfy too.

  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Dec 27, 2023

    Theflyersfan - I was fortunate that there were no dealer markups at all. I wonder if VW Canada was cracking down or if this is just a dealer who wouldn't do that. I've been buying from that same dealership and same salesman since 1997, so that may have helped too.

    But... at the same time as my 2024 was rolling off the truck, someone contacted the dealer to see if they wanted to buy out a lease on a 2023 Golf R with 22,000km (13,000 miles) on it. The dealership bought it and it's on the used lot for $10,000 CAD more than I paid for a 2024 with 14 km on it. Other than that, the cars are identical - blue with six-speed manual and sunroof. They've 'sold' it twice, but the financing has fallen through both times. I suspect only a secondary lender would touch this and lend someone $10,000 more than a new one. That, or whoever buys it will need enough down-payment to get financing. I just checked, and it's still on the lot, but the price has dropped from $62,300 to $58,900. The sticker on mine was $52,300.