Some people love it, some people hate it, and we suspect most people just don’t really care. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, it’s fair to say technology has become an important part of the modern automobile, and a key selling point– so much so that representation of automakers and vehicle-based solutions at CES seems to grow with each passing year. 

And at CES 2024, Volkswagen has arrived with something a lot of people do care about: An updated Golf GTI. It will debut under camouflaged wraps to showcase some new tech in their refreshed hatchback, including new AI-enhanced voice control powered by ChatGPT. And we’ll get to that– but first, let’s take a look at the Golf itself.

Volkswagen’s Updated Golf Camouflaged at CES 2
Volkswagen’s Updated Golf Camouflaged at CES 1
Volkswagen’s Updated Golf Camouflaged at CES
Volkswagen’s Updated Golf Camouflaged at CES 4
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Thanks to the funky camouflage, all the exact details are hard to pick out, but we can see updated sets of lighting forward and aft. The fascias have also been updated to be, at the risk of sounding contrived, more aggressive. However, the overall package seems to remain mostly intact. The big loss, as previously reported, is the absence of a manual transmission option after 2024. A shame, really; but, if you’ve been eyeing up a three-pedal Golf for a while, now’s your chance to buy one, including the new 380 special edition. We’ve enjoyed this generation Golf wholeheartedly and we’re thrilled to get more of it.

Peering inside, undisguised is a larger screen of unknown size, though undeniably larger than the current 10-inch touchscreen. This is the most substantial change being made to the interior, as the rest of it seems to fall in line with the current model; however, ss others have pointed out, the array of controls embedded in the steering wheel appear to have been updated as well, possibly replacing the touch-sensitive controls for pressable buttons. The one thing you can’t see is the new ChatGPT integration.

Yeah, we know AI is a hot issue right now, but VW isn’t trying to stir the pot with this innovation. As suggested, the role ChatGPT plays here is to expand the capabilities of the onboard voice assistance suite. The press materials state that vehicle information cannot be accessed by the system. Furthermore, questions and answers are deleted immediately to ensure data protection.

So, what’s the point then? Well, the onboard voice assistant can now help control the infotainment system, adjust HVAC settings, plot navigation and so-on; and serves the purpose of “enriching conversations, clearing up questions, interacting in intuitive language, receiving vehicle-specific information, and much more.” The gist of it is that ChatGPT will allow the Volkswagen system to be operated more easily and more thoroughly, all hands-free. While not explicitly stated, we imagine drivers and passengers might be able to ask where nearby attractions can be found, the significance of passing monuments, and settle those heated in-car trivia debates. 

Voice controls have become a common implementation in new vehicles, ushered in as a way to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. We’ll have to wait and see just what Volkswagen’s ChaptGPT integration is really all about. And we’re really excited to see what changes are in store for the brand’s fun hatchback, including the more ferocious ‘R’ variant. We should be getting more details on that sometime this year, so stay tuned.