2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf: Price, specs and release date

Russell Campbell
October 31, 2019

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf has arrived, here’s everything you need to know about the lead up to the launch, the reveal itself and the car’s price, specs and release date. 

  • Specs incude

    self-driving and mild-hybrid tech; uprated infotainment

  • Price

    from £20,000

  • Release date

    Spring 2020

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf price and release date

In the UK, the 2020 Volkswagen Golf will go on sale next spring and is expected to start from around £20,000. This price will get you a 90hp, petrol-powered model in range-starting S guise. There will also be mild-hybrid versions of the car, which are slated to begin at around £25,000. Finally, a full-blown plug-in-hybrid GTE will likely set you back more than £30,000.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf styling

At the front, the 2020 Golf has styling reminiscent of the recently facelifted Passat. The grille and headlights are thin and straight, and joined together in one uninterrupted swoop. There are some sharp creases in the bodywork as well, most notably on that sloping bonnet.

Like prior Golfs, the Mark 8 model has fat C-pillars separating the side and rear window.

Around the side, the Golf’s signature hatchback two-box, engine-and-passenger-compartment design is most apparent. You’ll also notice another carryover from the previous model in the sheer width of the C-pillars – the columns separating the rear window from the side windows.

Finally, the lights at both the front and rear are now entirely LED, no matter which version of the Golf you buy. You can also upgrade to VW’s IQ.LIGHT as an option. These headlight units have 22 separate LEDs inside them, controlled individually by a camera in the windscreen. This camera can detect oncoming cars; it then adjusts your lights accordingly so you don’t dazzle the other driver, while the rest of the road remains lit up, as if you were using your full-beams.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf specs

In the UK, there will be four trim levels for the new Golf at launch: the S, SE, SEL and R-Line. Bar the SEL’s 17-inch alloy wheels, details on the first three specs are yet to be revealed. However, we do know that every single Golf gets keyless start and automatic three-zone air conditioning, which lets you control the temperature for the driver, front passenger seat and rear bench. Lane-keeping assistance and a Front Assist system are included, too. The latter warns you if a pedestrian has stepped into the road in front of your Golf, and will eventually apply the brakes hard if you take no avoiding action.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R-Line

Although the R and GTI hot hatchbacks aren’t going to be released until later in 2020, the R-Line will be available at the VW Golf’s launch, topping the range. It gives the car some driving gadgets and sportier looks without souping up the performance – or adding higher running costs.

On the outside, R-Line cars get some new bumpers, some black trim around the air intakes and a rear diffuser. Inside the cabin, you’ll find sports seats with ‘R’ branding. There’s also 32-colour switchable ambient lighting, black roof headlining, stainless steel pedals and an aluminium-trimmed gear knob.

With their black exterior trim and distinct ‘R’ decals, R-Line models are easy to spot.

The R-Line car gives you progressive steering, which reduces the amount you need to turn the steering wheel in high-speed corners. 

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf engines and driving

At launch, the 2020 Golf gets a multitude of different engine set-ups: four petrols and two diesels. With the petrols, there are two three-cylinder, 1.0-litre options, one with 90hp and the other with 110hp. Thereafter are two 1.5-litre models, which can put out 130hp or 150hp. 

The diesel engines, meanwhile, are 2.0-litre four-cylinders that are 17% more economical than the prior car’s; one has 115hp and the other 150hp.

Every one of the Golf’s non-hybrid engines gets six-speed manual transmission as standard. However, a dual-clutch, seven-speed gearbox can be bought as an extra for the diesel cars.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf hybrids

The 2020 VW Golf is the first to be offered as a mild-hybrid. Hybrid models get a 48V power supply, which means the car can coast down the road – and engage its auto-stop earlier than a normal Golf – to help save fuel. The same system also gives the Golf an electrical boost when you’re taking off, improving acceleration. The mild-hybrid technology is available in two 1.0-litre three-cylinder models with 110hp or 130hp, or in a 1.5-litre four-cylinder producing 150hp. All mild-hybrid models get a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Plug-in-hybrid Golf GTE cars – like this one – will arrive later in 2020.

A new version of VW’s plug-in-hybrid GTE will arrive sometime after the initial launch. It’s got a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a total power output of 245hp. This is achieved through a 1.4-litre petrol engine, paired with an electric motor and 13kWh battery. Plus, unlike the mild-hybrids, the GTE can be driven purely on electric power, likely for distances of around thirty miles. As a result, the Golf GTE will be exempt from paying tariffs such as London’s Congestion Charge.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf autonomous features

The 2020 Golf has been fitted with new Travel Assist autonomous driving. This helps the car accelerate, brake and steer itself on the motorway at speeds of up to 130mph – although, if you don’t want to get in trouble, you’ll never use it above 70mph. Making its Golf debut is VW’s Car2X technology – an interactive system that can communicate with other suitably equipped cars on the road via 5g wifi, provided they’re no more than 800 metres away. This means that, if traffic is queuing up ahead, the car’s autonomous driving aids will get warned by other cars and slow your Golf in preparation.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf interior and infotainment

Inside every version of the new Golf, you’ll find a huge, 10-inch infotainment screen. There’s also a 10-inch digital driver’s display, which puts important information – such as sat-nav directions – right in front of you behind the steering wheel.

The new Golf gets a vibrant dashboard and intuitive driver’s display screen.

The 2020 Golf is also able to connect with your smartphone, so you can remotely check if your car is locked, where it is located and how much range it has left.

As a safety feature, the Golf has automatic emergency services alerts, in case you get in a crash. Should sensors pick up that you’ve had an accident, and you don’t respond to an alert on your phone afterwards, the car will automatically alert nearby emergency services.

In the UK, every single Golf gets a 10-inch dashboard-mounted infotainment screen.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf remote updates 

Once you get your new Golf, you’ll be able to upgrade it remotely online for the first time. This means that you can pay to download certain fancy extras, such as adaptive cruise control, at any time, and won’t miss out if you initially didn’t buy the car with all the bells and whistles you wanted.

Any of the upgrades you do buy will be remembered by Volkswagen’s cloud service. The cloud can also save any other, smaller settings or adjustments you make. For example, if you have a favourite driving position and air conditioning strength while you’re driving, the cloud will keep them stored for you and can recreate those personalised settings at any time.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf news and rumours

The launch of the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf is just hours away which must make it doubly excruciating for VW bosses to see a picture of their baby leak online, on website Carscoops, so close to the launch.

The pic looks to be 100% official showing the front end of a finished car. What can you learn from it? Well, starting from the top, that large sensor on the windscreen indicates that autonomous driving will be the centre of the new Golf’s driving experience with the car likely to be able to accelerate, brake, steer and observe speed limits, autonomously. 

The next talking point is those lights – which could be the kind of Matrix LEDs we have seen on Golf alternatives like the Vauxhall Astra. They have computer-controlled individual LEDs that mean you can use your full beam headlights without blinding other road users – the computer simply turns off individual LEDs to form a dark spot around the other car. The lights themselves are linked by the new slim-line grille you’ve known is Golf bound for some time now.

Below that, you’ll see the new lower bumper design, suggesting that the new Golf will be slightly more aerodynamic than the old model to help save fuel. 

Barring further leaks, carwow will have full info on the new Mk8 Golf by (UK) dinner time tomorrow. Stay tuned. 

Autodesk VRED Design 2016 SP1

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf official sketches

Whenever a car launches that’s as big as, say – a new Volkswagen Golf – manufacturers will do all they can to whet your appetite before the big reveal, which, in the case of the 2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, happens next week.

For now, though, you’ll have to content yourself with these official sketches that bring us achingly close to how the new car will look. As you can see from the exterior images, the Mk8 Golf will get a cleaner front end design with a thinner grille and a badge which appears to have been pinned to the grille. LED headlights – thinner than the ones on the current model – sit either side of the grille and they get VW’s familair ‘w’ shaped daytime runnings. Below them, you get a new lower bumper design that you can bet cuts through the air ever-so-slightly better than the old model. 

Large infotainment screens give the new Golf a neat interior look

Around the sides, the thick pillar at the rear windscreen, and distinctive two-box (bonnet and passenger compartment) shape mean the Golf is recognisable even side on, although new body creases subtley keep it looking fresh. Sadly, VW hasn’t provided a picture of the car’s rear end but you can expect it to sport LED taillights and a freshly designed bumper.

An evolutionary design means you’ll never mistake a Golf for anything but a Golf.

There’s more to be learned from interior sketch, thankfully. By the looks of it, you can expect the new Golf to get a pair of infotainment screens – one behind the steering wheel and another in the centre of the dashboard – that’ll be used to control most of the car’s systems. A step in the dashboard below the centre screen is designed to give your hand somewhere to rest when you’re operating the central touchscreen – making it easier to operate without your finger getting knocked about over bumps. It’s covered by a large swathe of trim and below it is another flash of chrome that frames the car’s air-conditioning system’s vents.

And the word ‘evolution’ also applies to the Golf’s interior through the years

The net result of the huge multi-function screens is that – save for a cluster of four right buttons in the centre of the dash – there’s no need for physical controls, giving the Golf’s cabin a fuss-free, posh look. In fact, even the air-conditioning and the stereo will be controlled using the touchscreen. 

Also worthy of note is the small gear shifter, indicating that the Golf will get a shift-by-wire automatic gearbox to free up space in its centre console. 

If anything, though, the most exciting thing about these sketches is that they prove we are tantalisingly close to seeing the finished car, which will be unveiled on October 24 and go on sale in the UK in the spring. 

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf GTE

While carwow’s spies have captured the 2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf in various guises, the latest pics (above) show the car in hybrid GTE specification. As before, it’s set to get a sporty body kit with light blue details, unique alloy wheels and, of course, GTE badges that mark it out from a conventional GTI. 

The GTE has always set out its stall as a GTI with much lower running costs and, to do it, it gets a 1.4-litre petrol engine boosted by an electric motor. You can expect the new car to get the same setup as is fitted to the latest Passat GTE, which has 218hp and 400Nm of torque – 14hp and 50Nm more than the old Golf GTE. 

That should translate into 0-60mph in under 7.5 seconds and a top speed of around 140mph. More importantly, a larger battery means the GTE will have an electric-only range of nearly 40 miles – 10 miles more than before – so it’ll be exempt from paying the London Congestion charge and could slash your running costs if you have a short commute and somewhere to charge the car.

The GTE will feel much the same as any other Golf when you get inside. That means it’ll have a plush interior with space for four adults and improved packaging should mean the boot’s capacity isn’t affected by the clever tech hidden below the floor. Worth noting because the old GTE’s boot was 40% smaller than a regular Golf’s.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf styling

You can expect the new Golf to take an evolutionary approach to its styling – the cues for which can be traced way back to the original model that went on sale in 1974. 

The most obvious change will be the car’s new slimline front end and bonnet that bulges like a beluga whale’s head. It’s designed to protect pedestrians from the car’s hard internals, if they’re unfortunate enough to get hit. 

Another boost to safety will come in the form of LED headlights. Previously only offered as standard on top-of-the-range models, they’ll likely now be fitted across the range, meaning all buyers can benefit from their pure white light. As a result, you can expect high-spec cars to also take a step up: they’ll be offered with Matrix LEDs that have multiple computer-controlled LED bulbs that can be turned off individually. This will allow you to use your full beams even with oncoming traffic. 

Underneath those you’ll see a restyled lower bumper that is designed to smooth the air flow around the car’s front wheels, making slight efficiency gains in the process. 

Like the front of the car, in profile the VW will be instantly recognisable as a Golf thanks to design elements like the stepped crease that runs nose to tail along the body and the thick pillar between the rear windows and the back windscreen. Both are designed to make the car look solid and durable – key Golf selling points. 

Even the most basic cars will get a subtle rear spoiler, designed to help fuel economy at motorway speeds. Slender LED tail lights will be standard at the rear. The back bumper design will depend on which model you specify: entry-level cars will sport a simpler design while sportier R Line cars will get a mock rear diffuser.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf wagon (estate)

Along with the hatchback body shape, you’ll also be able to have the new Golf as a longer estate model with a larger boot. It should be a quarter bigger than the hatchback’s load bay, allowing you to squeeze in an additional large suitcase and making it an ideal choice if you’re a dog owner. With the rear seats folded neatly away, you can expect the Golf estate to have a completely flat floor that will make it easy to slide in heavy loads. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf engines

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf will be the first Golf to offer mild-hybrid tech even on its regular models, with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo and 1.5-litre turbo petrol engines getting a 48V system that’ll help the car harvest more power when coasting or braking. These engines will use cylinder deactivation technology to save fuel – by resting half the engine when its extra power isn’t needed. If you really want to save fuel though, you’ll still want a diesel model – and VW is said to be developing a new 2.0-litre engine that should offer punchy motorway performance and excellent fuel economy. 

Perhaps more importantly, you can expect it to come loaded with clever tech that’ll make it extremely clean to comply with tough new emissions regulations. Fast GTI models are also on the way, but a few months later, with 255hp and 290hp versions expected. Most Golfs will be front-wheel drive, but expect the range-topping Golf R to get four-wheel drive and a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox as standard.

The new Golf will also benefit from an all-new manual gearbox that, its maker claims, will be able to improve the car’s emissions and fuel efficiency by up to five per cent.

2020 Mk8 Volkswagen Golf plug-in hybrid

Along with having mild-hybrid technology on most models, you can also expect the Mk8 Golf to also be offered as a GTE plug-in hybrid version. It will use a turbocharged petrol engine in combination with a large electric motor and battery pack to give the car a reliable all-electric range of more than 30 miles. This would make the GTE exempt from paying inner-city tariffs such as the London Congestion charge. 

Brisk performance will also be on the cards. In fact, you can expect the GTE to offer similar performance to the GTI hot hatch, although its heavy batteries will make it feel less nimble in bends.

2020 Volkswagen Golf interior

To see the most significant changes that’ll be made to the 2019 Volkswagen Golf, you might want to skip the outside and jump straight behind the wheel because it’s inside where the real revolution will happen. As you can see from this sketch recently released by VW, even basic models will come with a large central infotainment screen that’ll come fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard – so you can use your phone’s sat-nav on the car’s big screen – and offer next-generation voice activation that really can understand spoken commands.

Spend extra and you’ll be able to swap the single central infotainment screen for two huge displays that sweep from behind the steering wheel to the centre of the dashboard. This upgraded system’s digital instrument binnacle will be capable of displaying a large sat-nav display behind the steering wheel, while the centre touchscreen will come fitted with connected tech that’ll mean the car can do things like find a parking space in real time. 

The same connected services will also mean you’ll be able to lock and unlock the car, update the sat-nav and check fuel levels remotely using an app on your phone. With colourful displays used to control most of the car’s functions, the dashboard will be largely free of conventional buttons – leaving the way clear for expensive trim pieces and selectable mood lighting that’ll make the car feel more premium. Expect plastic quality to be extremely high with soft and squidgy materials used for everything in your eye line.

2020 Volkswagen Golf Golf practicality

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf will have a marginally longer wheelbase – the space between the front and rear wheels – than the current model to give increased interior space. That’ll be felt most by your tall rear-seat passengers who can expect more head, knee and legroom. The car’s wider track will also allow for more hip and elbow room if you ever need to carry three people in the back. 

Boot space will also increase from the current model’s 380-litre figure to closer to 450 litres – giving you room for an extra small suitcase. Expect the boot to offer excellent packaging with a low load lip and a floor that remains flat even when the rear seats are folded away – making it as easy to load awkward loads as possible.

2020 Volkswagen Golf driving

While the 2020 Volkswagen Golf is set to be lighter than the current model, making it feel more nimble in bends. Improved sound-deadening and enhanced aerodynamics will make the new Golf quieter at a cruise and multi-link rear suspension is likely to be standard to help smooth out bumpy roads. 

But the big change isn’t how it’ll feel to drive, it’s that you won’t actually have to drive it. Well, sort of. That’ll be true on the motorway at least, where the new Golf’s array of safety systems and sensors mean it’ll be able to brake, accelerate and steer itself at a cruise while observing the speed limit all by itself. Even if you do something stupid – like pull out in front of another car – it’ll be able to correct the mistake. 

As well as braking to avoid potential collisions, the new Golf will be able to steer around accidents autonomously. Another safety feature at the front of the car is the raised bonnet which should protect pedestrians from the hard engine below should they be unfortunate enough to get run over.  

In town, the car’s upgraded self-park will mean it can squeeze itself into tight parking spaces, and you’ll get a brilliant view courtesy of the car’s high-definition reversing and birdseye-view cameras.