New VW Golf Mk8: first official look

Published: 10 October 2019

► New VW Golf Mk8 part-revealed
► Next Golf launches on 24 October
► Hatch remains at heart of brand

The all-new eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf has been part-revealed ahead of an official debut planned for 24 October at the company's global headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. The official rendering above is the first proper look at the hatchback, confirming earlier scoops and leaks (and there have been plenty).

And - surprise, surprise - the new VW Golf looks remarkably like the old one. As these official design sketches show, this is a car maker known for cautious evolution, and the Mk8 looks to conform to type. All the images on this page are straight from HQ, not an artist or independent Photoshop whizz.

The design sketch below shows the newcomer lined up against the previous seven generations. You won't mistake this for anything but a Golf, but this time it sports a narrower grille, squintier headlamps and smoother body surfacing.

Volkswagen Golf: from new Mk8 (left) to original Mk1 (far right)

Arguably the more progressive design of the new Golf lies inside. It trades a traditional cabin for a more innovative, heavily digitised interior, with a single digital sweep hosting electronic dials, infotainment and heating and ventilation controls.

In a brief statement to accompany these first photos, Volkswagen said: 'The new Golf is also a trendsetter in terms of its digitalised and connectivity-oriented interior world, its assisted driving features and its online-based functions and services... On the inside, fresh colours and fabrics define the look of the new compact model, as well as a new digital cockpit.'

Those who've sat in the new Golf report a step change in controls and touchpoints. Just check out how few physical buttons adorn the dashboard in this first official picture below.

Interior of new 2020 VW Golf Mk8: lots of digital input

The new Golf range will be unveiled in full on 24 October 2019. Left-hand drive sales start in December, but Brits will have to wait until spring 2020 for UK right-hand drive sales.

Hatchbacks arrive first, but the Golf Estate will follow, with a 50mm stretch for better luggage space. The hatch has a 2630mm wheelbase, for a remarkably similar footprint owing to the carry-over MQB platform underpinnings. Mild hybrid tech is embedded in most models, with 24-volt and 48-volt hardware. Engines are tipped to include the following:

  • 1.0 TSI  Entry model gets 89bhp 1.0-litre triple
  • 1.5 TSI  Petrol models offer 128bhp or 148bhp
  • 1.4 TSI PHEVs  Plug-in model gets new 1.4, with 148bhp or 178bhp
  • 1.5 TSI 48v mild hybrid  New poster-child for low emissions and cheap cost  
  • 2.0 TDI diesel  113bhp or 148bhp for those who insist on diesel

Expect plenty of semi-autonomous skills, with cameras and sensors able to plot a route through busy roads, park your car and avoid accidents.

Revealed: the best hybrids and plug-ins

The new 2020 VW Golf Mk8: why the hatchback remains at the bedrock of Volkswagen's range

Alongside the new ID family of electric vehicles, Volkswagen will have to continue building its core models too if it wants to retain market dominance - and none is more important than an all-new VW Golf

Wolfsburg's network of factories around the world fires out more than 2000 Golfs a day, which goes some way to showing just how important a part of its overall business the Golf badge is.

VW Golf Mk1-Mk7: the Volkswagen family hatchback silhouette through the years

More than 35 million have seen sold since the Mk1 went on sale back in 1974, and VW is pledging €1.8 billion (£1.6bn) investment in the Mk8 project. The official design sketch above details the evolving silhouettes of the Mk1-Mk7 Golfs, with their characteristically chunky C-pillar. The new 2020 Golf will evolve this familiar motif.

What to expect from the 2020 Golf 

Karlheinz Hell, head of compact series group at VW and in charge of the next Golf, said: 'The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions. It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety.'

Expect to see a drive towards more hybrid Golfs, as VW tries its best to lower fleet-wide CO2 emissions in the wake of Dieselgate, and to comply with ever-strengthening air quality laws. 

More electric VW Golfs are coming

What about a Mk8 VW Golf GTI, Golf R and GTE plug-in PHEV? 

Go-faster Golf hot hatchbacks are in the plan - Volkswagen is a company that has perfected the art of the everyman performance car. You can read our scoops on the new Mk8 VW Golf GTI and GTE here.

You guessed it; over time, VW plans to flood the Golf sector with every which shape and flavour of family hatchback. It's worked in the past, and the plan is to lockdown the mid-sized hatchback market all over again. For the eighth time.

Read all our VW Golf reviews

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet