The days are numbered for the conventionally powered Golf as Volkswagen said on multiple occasions the ninth generation will transition to pure electric power. Meanwhile, there’s still time for what will likely be a final update for the ICE model, expected to come out early next year. The Mk8.5 has been caught during final testing, and as you can see, the folks from Wolfsburg didn’t even bother to hide the new headlights.
The changes are not immediately noticeable, but a closer inspection reveals the headlights are now narrower near the grille. Overall, the cluster has a flatter shape and reconfigured LED daytime running lights while the inner layout seems different. Elsewhere, Volkswagen applied some deceiving camouflage to partially cover the lower air intake of what appears to be a higher-end trim level but not the R-Line.
We don’t remember seeing those snazzy two-tone wheels before and it looks as though the taillights are cleverly disguised to hide the new graphics. However, the shape and size appear unchanged. Unfortunately, it seems the German automaker is determined to keep the fake exhaust tips right until the end of the ICE Golf, which will inevitably come sooner or later.
A quick look underneath the car reveals an independent rear suspension, which means this car had at least 150 horsepower as weaker ones are stuck with a torsion beam due to cost-cutting measures. The interior wasn’t photographed, but previously taken spy shots revealed the 2024 Golf will get a much larger touchscreen in the same vein as the recently unveiled Passat and ID.7.
The mid-cycle facelift is widely believed to spell the end of the manual gearbox in all versions, with the Golf rumored to be offered exclusively with a DSG. The spicy GTI and R will remain in the lineup, but you won’t be able to row your own gears anymore since the clutch pedal is going away. With Euro 7 regulations looming, chances are there will be a wider adoption of mild-hybrid technology and more efficient plug-in hybrid powertrains.
VW has pledged to end production of ICE cars in Europe by 2033, so the Golf as we know it will be no more in a decade from now, at the latest. The name will live on in the electric era since it’s too precious to retire.