2025 VW GTI Brings Buttons, Gains 20 HP, Ditches the Manual

Volkswagen introduces updates to its GTI model for 2025, including improved interior ergonomics and new technology. However, the manual transmission option will be removed, disappointing some enthusiasts.


Updates to the GTI

Volkswagen has unveiled its mid-cycle facelift for the Mk8 Golf and GTI, bringing about some changes to the GTI model. The GTI will be the only Volkswagen hatchback available for the U.S. market, as the Golf R will be released later. The updates include refreshed LED headlights and taillights, as well as a new LED light strip in the grille.

European models will also feature Volkswagen's new IQ.Matrix front beams, but it is uncertain if U.S.-market cars will receive them. One notable addition for the European models is an illuminated 'VW' badge on the hot hatches.

Interior Improvements

Volkswagen has addressed some of the criticisms regarding the GTI's interior design and ergonomics. The previous Mk8 GTI received negative feedback due to its unintuitive infotainment system, lack of illuminated dashboard buttons, and obnoxious steering wheel touch buttons. In response, the updated GTI now features physical buttons on the steering wheel, a larger screen and user-friendly interface for the infotainment system, and backlit temperature sliders for improved visibility in the dark.

These small updates aim to enhance the overall driving experience and make daily driving more pleasant for GTI owners.

Powertrain and Transmission

The GTI retains its 2.0-liter turbo-four powertrain, which currently produces 241 horsepower in the U.S. However, European models have a boosted output of 262 horsepower. It remains uncertain if the U.S. models will receive the same power increase.

One major change in the GTI is the elimination of the manual transmission option. In all markets, including the U.S., the GTI will only be available with the seven-speed 'DSG' dual-clutch transmission.


Missing Out on the GTE

Unfortunately, the U.S. market will not receive the GTE hybrid hot-hatch. The GTE model features a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with hybrid assistance, producing 268 horsepower. The decision not to release the GTE in the U.S. means that accessible hybrid sports cars will remain limited in the market.

While the refreshed GTI addresses many of the previous model's interior issues, the removal of the manual transmission may disappoint some enthusiasts. This change will also be seen in the upcoming Golf R model.