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2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI

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2025 Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Our expert's take

By Jared Gall

Younger car enthusiasts have a saying that is hard to argue with: A Mazda MX-5 Miata is always the answer. But we’ll go ahead and argue with it: For buyers with more than one friend or who don’t want to rely on Shipt for grocery orders that include a gallon of milk, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is always the answer. VW packs an undeniable blend of fun and practicality into its affordable hot hatch, but for 2025, it gets, well, less fun.

Related: 2024 Volkswagen Golf GTI, Golf R: Last Call for a Manual

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Enthusiasts will want to greet the facelifted Golf GTI with a moment of silence, for their cherished manual transmission is no more. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only transmission option and sends power to the front wheels. As a consolation prize, Volkswagen did find another 21 horsepower, bumping the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to 262 hp (but note that specs are for the European version and not yet finalized for the U.S.).

More Like an Eyelid Tuck

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Observers can identify the new Golf GTI by more than just its smooth departures and impossibly quick shifts, but not much more — the eighth-generation Golf GTI refresh is a particularly subtle one. The front bumper is new, though so similar to the outgoing car that it’s easy to miss. Indeed, the conspicuous quintet of driving lights still occupy their positions in the extreme outer edges of the lower front end. The headlights are ever so slightly reshaped, blending into the slim grille more smoothly.

European buyers will have a choice of three different LED headlight setups, two of which include an illuminated VW logo in the grille. While the company has yet to confirm which lights will come to the U.S. and be available on the GTI, it’s a safe bet the light-up logo will make it. Out back, new LED taillights occupy the same space the former housings took up. Not even the rear bumper has been changed. And that’s it for the exterior.

Digital Assets

Much of VW’s interior budget went toward upgrading the Golf GTI to the company’s fourth-generation infotainment system. A 12.9-inch screen stands on the dash like a tablet propped on edge. The graphics and menu structure are new, with users are able to customize apps positioned across the top of the display and the main screen as they would arrange tiles on their phones. Climate and audio controls get their own dedicated space at the bottom of the screen. Another digital display, this one measuring 10.2 inches, comprises the instrument cluster.

Traditionalists will be pleased to note that checkered cloth seats are still standard in the GTI, although the car pictured here sports the optional leather chairs. Red stitching features on both upholsteries, but the red accents on the head restraints add real pop to the leather seats. Three-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, and 30-color ambient lighting are also standard. Carbon-fiber trim is available.

Front and rear parking sensors are also standard. Adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera system and automated parking will also be available in Europe and are likely to be optional stateside.

Availability

The new Volkswagen Golf family will go on sale in Europe in the spring, but we’ll have to wait until early 2025 for the GTI to arrive in the U.S. Pricing and complete details on the 2025 Golf GTI will be available closer to the on-sale date.

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Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volkswagen
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
MY 2016-MY 2017 vehicles/75,000 miles; MY 2018- MY 2019 vehicles/72,000 miles; MY 2020 and newer vehicles/75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Vehicles purchased on or after 1/5/21: MY 2017 & older, 2 yrs/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2018-19, 1 yr/12,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2020 & newer, 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty
Dealer certification required
100-plus point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

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