The eighth-generation hatchback is loaded to the brim with new technology

The Volkswagen Golf is arguably one of the most recognizable models in Volkswagen’s lineup. That stature comes with the pressure of standing out in a sea of hatchbacks looking to take some shine away from the famous nameplate. Now that the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf (Mk8) is here, it looks like the competition will have its hands full trying to catch up with the Golf Mk8. See, there are a lot of things to like about the Golf Mk8, but arguably the most important of these things is the incredible amount of new technologies Volkswagen was able to pack into the hatchback. Believe me when I tell you, the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf is so tricked out in new technology, it’s hard to imagine how Volkswagen managed to fit all of them into the hatchback.

The Golf Mk8 gets in on the Matrix LED headlights

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Exterior
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Matrix LED headlights have been a staple on Audi models for some time now. Volkswagen’s gotten a piece of it, too, first with the new Touareg SUV in 2018 and the facelifted Euro-spec Passat sedan earlier this year. Now it’s the Golf Mk8’s turn to benefit from the new technology.

The Matrix LED headlights don’t come standard on the all-new Golf, but they are available as options in the event you want one.

In particular, the Golf receives the “IQ.LIGHT LED” matrix headlights, which come with 22 individual LEDs per each headlight matrix module. Depending on the Golf Mk8 trim, the module can automatically light up in as much as 10 different ways. Not only does it increase overall safety by being more visible than a regular turn signal, but the Matrix LEDs are also a step in the right direction for Volkswagen as it embraces the new technology for a lot of its models.

Next-level mobile key tech

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Interior
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A lot of automakers today have made smartphones integral parts of the car-owning experience, including turning these devices into mobile keys for their cars. Volkswagen’s doing something similar with the next-generation Golf by turning Samsung smartphones into the Golf’s key.

No mobile connection is needed for this new function; all you need to do is to link the smartphone to the Golf’s infotainment system through a one-time passcode.

Once that’s done, all you need to do to lock and/or unlock your Golf is to place the smartphone near the hatchback’s door handle. For added functionality, the Golf’s virtual key can also be duplicated so that you can send it to other people, be it your family or your friends. It’s an interesting feature, but one benefit that comes out of it is the access they get to the Golf using their own smartphones.

Digital instrument cluster is a welcome sight

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Interior
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There are only so many times that you can roll back a car feature before it’s rendered obsolete. For the longest, the Volkswagen Golf came with an analog instrument cluster. But that’s old news. Volkswagen’s ushering in a new era for the eighth-generation Golf with the introduction of the all-digital Innovision Cockpit in the model.

The new digital instrument cluster measures 10.25 inches. Lower-spec versions of the Golf also receive an 8.25-inch touchscreen for the information system while higher-spec models come with a 10-inch screen.

That’s the setup that we’re going to see with the eighth-generation Golf. It’s refreshing to see Volkswagen modernize the Golf in this manner, especially with models like the Mercedes A-Class already coming with them. Nevertheless, the Golf Mk8 is the first model “within its price bracket” to go new school with the digital instrument cluster. It’s about time, too.

Heads up!

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Interior
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To go with the arrival of the Innovision Cockpit, Volkswagen is also introducing the head-up display technology in the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf.

Once again, the technology isn’t new to the industry, but it is new to the Golf nameplate.

Instead of projecting images on a slam piece of glass behind the steering wheel, those who avail the optional head-up display will receive a technology that directly projects virtual images onto the windscreen of the hatchback, directly in the driver’s field of vision. The technology is able to show a variety of relevant information, including travel speed, navigation, and a host of notifications. It’s next-level tech stuff that the Golf was never privy to before. But the eighth-generation Golf is different.

Semi-autonomous driving fun

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Exterior
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Probably one of the coolest tech additions to the eighth-generation Golf is the same one that might not be available to all versions of the hatchback. We first saw Volkswagen’s advanced Travel Assist system on the new Euro-spec Passat. Well, it’s making its way to the Golf, too.

Travel Assist is a semi-autonomous driving system that can work at speeds of up to 130 mph.

It functions with the Golf’s adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems to perform its semi-autonomous driving capabilities. Be advised, though. Just because the tech is available, the driver still has to permanently monitor the system and, more importantly, keep one hand on the steering wheel. There are no shortcuts to the latter since sensors are built into the steering wheel to detect when the driver touches it. If it doesn’t detect anything for more than 15 seconds, visual and audible warnings are sent out along with a braking jolt. In the event that doesn’t work, the Golf’s emergency braking system jumps to life and stops the car. It all sounds too complicated for a model of the Golf’s stature, but again, this isn’t the Golf that you’re used to anymore.

On-demand features

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Interior
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Volkswagen has turned the Golf Mk8 into an app, or at least one that comes with “features on demand.” Similar to the add-on purchase abilities of most apps these days, you can actually buy a Golf 8 without being compelled to spend extra on the desired options off the bat. Instead, Volkswagen’s “features on demand” allows you to upgrade your Golf 8 even after you’ve purchased the car.

Retroactive upgrades are cool because you have time to think about what you want before you actually get them.

It removes the pressure of choosing options when you’re buying the car. There are several technologies that can be added post-purchase, including adaptive cruise control, Wi-Fi hotspot, online-based voice control, Light Assist, navigation, and even systems like Wireless-App Connect. This feature allows drivers to wirelessly integrate their iPhone apps into the Golf’s infotainment system. Android and iOS apps can be accessed, too, though it has to be done using a cable. Don’t sleep on this new “features on demand” option from Volkswagen. It could make the difference between you impulsively buying an option without needing it and having time to actually decide if you do.

The era of the digital panel has begun

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Interior
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It’s not the most noticeable change in the Volkswagen Golf 8, but it remains important in the eyes of long-standing fans of the nameplate. For the longest time, Volkswagen used conventional controls for the hatchback’s headlights and fog lights. But that’s no longer the case with the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf.

On the left side of the digital instrument cluster is a small digital panel that contains, you guessed it, all the lighting controls for the Golf Mk8.

The headlights and fog lights can now be activated by a push of a button. The panel even has a button that can turn on the heated windscreen and the rear window heater. It’s not a significant change compared to other new tech bits in the Golf Mk8, but given the functions that are found in the digital panel, it’s going to be one of the most important switches among Golf drivers. If for nothing else, this proves that even the smallest of changes can have the biggest of impacts in a next-generation model.

Hello, Alexa

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Interior
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If you need any more proof that Volkswagen has turned the Golf Mk8 into a four-wheeled technology billboard, look no further than the integration of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant into the all-new hatchback.

Those who are familiar with Alexa know how useful it has become in our day-to-day lives.

In the context of the Volkswagen Golf, Alexa should make your life easier behind the wheel in so far as you can ask Alexa to control compatible devices inside the car through voice control, as well as check the news or weather and even play music at your command. In conjunction with Alexa’s arrival in the eighth-generation Golf, the new hatchback also comes with a newly evolved voice control system that can, according to Volkswagen, “respond to natural voice commands.”

Car2X is here

The Best Tech Features in the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 Exterior
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What is Car2X? For those who are unfamiliar with the technology, Car2X is a new system that allows the Golf to exchange information with other cars, as well as identity traffic situations within a radius of up to 800 meters.

Of all the new technologies that are in place in the next-generation Golf, Car2X is arguably one of the most advanced of these tech features.

It’s capable of transferring data in a matter of milliseconds so that drivers are immediately informed of any potential road hazards, be it traffic jams, stalled vehicles, or road accidents. Even better, Car2X comes standard among all Golf models that will be sold in Europe. It’s unclear if the technology will find its way in this market, but it is worth mentioning that the Golf Mk8 is the first-ever Volkswagen model to come with the technology.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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