Published on January 9th, 2024 | by Subhash Nair


Volkswagen Golf GTI MK8.5 Teased With ChatGPT, Return Of Physical Buttons

Volkswagen Golf GTI MK8.5 was teased at CES 2024, still camoflaged but with the interior revealed.

Volkswagen may have moved away from physical buttons on the interior of the current Golf, but now it looks like the trend will be reversed. At the Consumer Electronics Show 2024 in Las Vegas, the company displayed the facelifted MK8 Golf GTI. The car was still wrapped in minimal camouflage, but you could see the interior and this is where we notice some pretty big changes.

The first is the integration of ChatGPT into the vehicle’s IDA voice assistant. It’s clear Volkswagen want to be perceived as a more tech-forward company and so they’re putting 2023’s headline-grabbing piece of tech as the “virtual centrepiece” of the vehicle.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk8.5 concept

ChatGPT is also coming to other Volkswagen models, including most of their electric vehicle line-up (the ID.Buzz wasn’t mentioned), the new Tiguan and the new Passat as well. ChatGPT was integrated into Volkswagen’s IDA voice assistance by Cerence Chat Pro. Now the voice assistant feature can be used not just to control the vehicle’s infotainment and climate control, but to answer general knowledge questions as well.

The IDA voice assistant essentially is still running the show and prioritizes voice-controlled vehicle functions, but when it gets a request that it can’t answer it’ll quietly pass the question to ChatGPT and read out the answer. It’s unclear if the answers will be clipped to just 1-2 sentences or if whole paragraphs be read out.

Importantly, ChatGPT is not given access to any vehicle data and all records of questions and answers are immediately and automatically deleted to safeguard customer data protection.

A new infotainment display is also present with a large, landscape-oriented display that looks just like the one found on the new ID.7 electric vehicle.

There’s also a move backward to physical buttons in the cabin. The new Golf model still has haptic touch controls for the headlights and climate, but the steering-mounted controls are now all physical buttons – a much better decision in our eyes.

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