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A new Volkswagen Golf GTI is on the way to address the Mk8’s key flaw

The Mk8 Golf GTI will see changes to its cabin tech and powertrain when it’s updated in early 2024

The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI didn’t exactly spring out of the blocks when it arrived in 2020. After the brilliant, polished Mk7 version, the new car – while quick – felt like a step backwards for quality and ergonomics, and Volkswagen is aiming to address this with a facelifted Mk8 GTI due next year. 

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These spy shots provide an early glimpse of the revised model testing at the Nürburgring, sporting a series of design tweaks and potentially a more powerful 2-litre turbocharged engine. 

The key changes are at the front, where the facelifted Mk8 sports a new front bumper with reprofiled lower vents and new headlights; the latter of which could incorporate Volkswagen’s IQ.Light HD matrix technology, which uses thousands of micro LEDs to illuminate the road ahead. 

The 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels fitted to this prototype are shared with the outgoing GTI, but expect one or two new designs – and additional paint colours – to become available as part of the facelift. The rear end is largely unchanged, save for a new set of tail lights.

Under the skin, the new GTI will ride on the same MQB Evo platform, but expect Volkswagen’s engineers to apply detail changes to the suspension calibration and optional DCC adaptive dampers. 

The GTI’s EA888 four-cylinder engine could also receive a boost – the standard model currently offers 242bhp with the Clubsport generating 296bhp, but the engine has more headroom as demonstrated by the 326bhp Golf R 20 Years. Volkswagen discontinued the manual gearbox for the GTI this year, and the updated model is expected to be DSG-only once again. 

The current Golf’s fiddly infotainment system will be upgraded as part of the facelift, with a larger, more responsive display borrowed from the latest Passat. Thankfully, this will include a backlit control panel for media and climate functions to make them easier to operate at night. 

Given the upgrades, expect a small uplift over the base GTI’s £39,575 starting price when the revised Mk8 goes on sale next year.

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