2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI Gets More Power and Buttons, Loses Manual Gearbox

The Volkswagen Golf, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024, has now reached the midpoint of its eighth generation and gets a significant update for the occasion. In Canada, the changes will apply to the Golf GTI starting with the 2025 model.

First, the good news under the hood is that the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine receives a boost, going from 241 hp to 262 hp. That’s for the Euro-spec car announced this week, but it’s safe to assume things will be identical on this side of the Atlantic, elevating the Golf GTI closer to the Subaru WRX and Hyundai Elantra N. Torque is not specified in Volkswagen’s press release, likely meaning it stays at 273 lb-ft.

Photo: Volkswagen

The bad news, as first reported last August, is that the six-speed manual gearbox won’t return, leaving only the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The latter is a fine operator, to be clear, but sporty driving enthusiasts like yours truly will definitely be grieving for a while.

Making that loss easier to swallow, other than the power bump, is the return of physical buttons on the steering wheel combined with an improved, faster and more customizable MIB4 infotainment system. Hopefully it won’t suffer from as many bugs and glitches as the current system. Volkswagen seems to be optimistic, but we’ll reserve judgment until we try it out ourselves.

Photo: Volkswagen

You might have noticed that the centre touchscreen is now detached from the instrument cluster and appears to be floating above the dashboard, so to speak. It can be either 10.4 inches or 12.9 inches in size depending on the model. The HVAC controls just below the screen are illuminated at last, which will prove more user-friendly while driving.

As for the exterior, VW designers have made subtle revisions to the headlights, taillights, badging and wheels. The 17-inch Richmond alloys shown here are a bold move, for sure—more like Alfa Romeo than modern GTI.

Photo: Volkswagen

Expect prices for the 2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI to keep rising. For the record, the 2024 model starts at $37,805 including freight, PDI and other fees. What about the Golf R? Details about the mid-cycle update for the ultimate hot hatch will be shared at a later date. We’ll keep you posted.

LISTEN: LP and Gab talk about the 2025 Volkswagen GTI on The Car Guide Podcast

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