Volkswagen introduced the eighth-generation Golf in October 2019, but the market launch of the hugely popular compact model was plagued with software glitches. So much so that deliveries to customers were halted just a few months later because of a glitchy software for the emergency call function. The peeps from Wolfsburg not only halted shipments to buyers for a while, but also recalled about 15,000 cars just in Germany alone.
Fast forward to early 2021, issues with the infotainment and the reversing camera prompted a second recall, affecting around 56,000 units built until June 2020. Visit just about any VW forum and you'll find more than a few Mk8 owners complaining about the MIB3 still being laggy, not to mention crashing once in a while – a problem that extends to the related Skoda Octavia and other MQB sister models.
And now for some good news. VW is rolling out a major upgrade for the Golf 8 with better-optimised software, which includes a new voice control promising to deliver "fast recognition and precise response." It can comprehend freely worded phrases and can figure out whether the driver or the front passenger is speaking. In addition, it can ask questions and can be interrupted by the user.
Gallery: 2020 VW Golf 8 full image gallery
While many people find voice control more or less of a gimmick, the 2022 Golf brings some palpable improvements. VW goes as far as to say the car is receiving a facelift this winter courtesy of a new System on Chip (SOC) with 25 percent more computing power and a graphics card with triple the performance of the old version.
Thanks to the new hardware, VW says it will take less than five seconds to show the list of results after typing a destination entry into the navigation system. The German automaker says it has listened to customers and their problems with MIB3, and hopefully, these have now been addressed. However, the upgraded infotainment system will only come in newly built cars, so existing owners are stuck with the older setup.
There is a silver lining as those who already have a Golf 8 will benefit from the optimised software as part of a "voluntary service measure" from early 2022 when VW will begin to contact owners. Existing vehicles with the latest software will benefit from a "reduction of the base load and therefore enhanced performance for programmes and functions."
Lastly, VW has made one more tweak by blocking the buttons around the hazard warning light whenever the user's finger comes within a few centimetres from the screen. Once the finger touches the display, the sliders for the volume and temperature are also automatically blocked to prevent unwanted activation. An extra proximity sensor should make gesture controls work better than before from several centimetres away.
Expect these software and hardware revisions to be adopted by the other VW Group models related to the Golf 8.