The VW Golf has enjoyed nearly five decades on the market and remains one of the brand’s top-selling models. However, it has faced stiff competition domestically from the T-Roc and Tiguan. Unfortunately, some customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the Golf 8, which was introduced in 2019. They have complained about subpar software, poor performance, and a significant regression in terms of processing power and features compared to its predecessor, the Golf 7.
Thankfully, Wolfsburg has acknowledged these concerns and is actively working to address them. This commitment is evident in the recently spotted Erlkönig Golf 8 facelift prototype, which showcases Volkswagen’s efforts to improve the model. The Volkswagen brand’s CEO, Thomas Schäfer, announced earlier this year that the Golf will undergo a facelift in 2024.
This upcoming update could possibly be the last for a combustion engine-based small car since the ninth generation is expected to transition to an electric vehicle, according to Schäfer. While this isn’t the first sighting of the Golf 8.5 during testing, this particular model represents a significant departure from the previous 8-wheeled Mule prototype, as it incorporates final production features.
Surprisingly, Volkswagen has not made an effort to conceal the new headlights, which appear smaller than the previous iteration. The current Golf offers both conventional and LED Matrix headlights, and it’s likely that these new lights will be fully adaptable. These headlights have been installed on the eHybrid model, a plug-in hybrid variant positioned below the GTE. Examining the redesigned front bumper, it becomes evident from the vertical slats of the lower air intake and the surrounding area that VW has made improvements, although they have concealed these changes with foil.
At the rear, stickers have been placed on the taillights to hide the updated LED graphics. The taillights themselves seem to retain the same shape as before, while the unattractive fake exhaust pipes unfortunately remain. The side profile of the vehicle appears largely unchanged, and since this is a plug-in hybrid, a charging port is situated on the front edge of the driver’s side. Speaking of the powertrain, no significant changes are anticipated.
Regrettably, the spy shots do not provide a glimpse of the interior. However, previous images have shown that the 2024 Golf will feature a larger touchscreen, surpassing the 12-inch screen found in the facelifted ID.3. Volkswagen has committed to removing the touch buttons on the steering wheel and reverting to conventional controls, a change that can also be observed in the prototype. Hopefully, this transition will result in a smoother user experience.
In general, VW Group has acknowledged the need for a “quality improvement” across its product lineup. It remains to be seen whether this improvement will apply solely to modified models or extend to the next generation of vehicles. Additionally, a facelift for the Golf’s Czech counterpart, the more spacious Skoda Octavia, is confirmed for 2024. Updates for the Seat/Cupra Leon and the Audi A3, which are closely related to the Golf, are also expected to arrive soon.
However, the days of Golf dominating the European sales charts are behind us. Last year, the Golf ranked fifth in sales, trailing behind the Peugeot 208, Dacia Sandero, T-Roc, and Fiat/Abarth 500.
Unfortunately, just a few days ago, VW unveiled its most expensive Golf model to date: the VW Golf R 333 Limited Edition. This exclusive variant boasts 333 horsepower and only 333 cars will be produced, with a staggering unit price of 76,410 euros. No, that price is not a typo.