But VW may fix the Golf GTI's buttonless flaws before then.
As part of a recent interview with Hein Schafer of VW of America, CarBuzz broached everything from performance SUVs for the US market to the manual take-rate on the Golf GTI and R, and even spoke to the automaker about future truck prospects in America. But while on the subject of hot hatches, we asked whether VW had felt the pushback on the frustrating infotainment system found in the Golf GTI, R, and models like the VW ID.4 and what the automaker intended to do about it.
"Having worked through J.D. Power IQS (Initial Quality Survey) time and time again, it's abundantly clear that American customers love their buttons and they love their knobs," Schafer stated. But he also highlighted that Volkswagen is a European brand and that in Europe, "the flavor of the day there is to try and be as convenient and modern as possible in terms of touch [control] and sliders."
Volkswagen is, however, looking at circumventing the issue for the US market. "We are trying to find ways and means, particularly in some of our future launches, to try and introduce a button or two to control volume and potentially AC, so we're working on that."
According to Schafer, the issue with the new system is not that it lacks physical controls. "The challenge that we've experienced just with software niggles has made that particular system tougher to work than it really should be," he stated. "When the system works well and its software is good, the slide functions and voice control functions and the general operation work significantly better than what customers are experiencing today."
A fix is coming. "We are working on a software update that will significantly improve and enhance the vehicle," Schafer says. "I have tested some of our later model year vehicles that have not yet launched in the market, and I can tell you the radios are operating significantly better."
He highlights less lag and fewer glitches in the latest systems but says there will still potentially be some frustration. "Conventional US customers might not yet be accustomed to [sliders and touch]," to the degree needed to use VW's latest infotainment.
He believes there's something to be said for what happens at a dealer level, however, and believes that by training dealers better to educate the customer, a lot of the frustrations can be removed before they become prevalent.
VW was also willing to confirm when we will see the next iteration of its infotainment. "We are working on the next generation of infotainment," confirms Schafer. As for when this might arrive, "We can't let the cat out the bag on that right now, but I will tell you that launches dating from probably early in 2025, there will be quite a dramatic change in the infotainment systems we do use in our cars."
The latter confirmation came in response to the question of whether or not Apple CarPlay and Android Auto's new dominance of instrumentation screens would be something that might be integrated into VW's products. We wouldn't rule out a possible partnership with Android Automotive, which already operates as the OS in many Volvo and Polestar products, as well as in the GMC Hummer EV, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Equinox EV, Blazer EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E (2023 onwards) and F-150 Lightning (2023 onwards).