Update: Added 11 images of a facelifted GTI prototype turning laps at the Nurburgring. Check out the new photo gallery below.

Update 2: Added information relating to the potential model year for the facelifted GTI.

Look very closely at the images of this Volkswagen Golf GTI. No, closer. Look closer still. Honestly, look really close and you'll see just how clever VW is when it comes to camouflage these days. At a glance, you'd think this hot hatch wasn't hiding anything. But that's exactly what the folks from Wolfsburg want you to think.

Gallery: Volkswagen Golf Facelift GTI Nurburgring Spy Photos

This is the first time we've seen the new Golf in GTI trim, but it's not our first look at the refreshed hatchback. As such, we know just where to look for hidden details and that journey starts on the front fascia. The current GTI has neat, squared proportions with the vents and grille on the lower fascia, and black tape on the corners would have you believe this car does as well. In fact, the corner vents dip slightly lower then come back up at an angle, much like the current Golf R. It's a more aggressive design for the GTI, and we believe the X-shaped LED lights in the corners will return despite the solid look seen here.

With an abundance of light shining on the front of this very white hatchback, it's difficult to see if there's any tape hiding details between the grille and the new headlights. Curiously, VW doesn't bother hiding the revised changes to the GTI's eyes, which will be just slightly smaller for the new model. Compared to the updated fascia, changes to the lights are extremely subtle.

Gallery: Volkswagen Golf GTI Facelift Spy Photos

There's more trickery at the back, namely with the taillights. A keen eye will spot what looks like wrinkles in the red lenses. That's because they are wrinkles – you're actually looking at a sticker of a taillight. What's interesting here is that the sticker doesn't hide a new shape but rather, a new internal LED light structure within the existing lens.

We still don't have a clear look inside the refreshed Golf, but we know changes are coming. Among them should be a slightly larger center touchscreen, and VW has already conceded its touch-sensitive controls introduced for the Golf 8 have largely been a failure. Look for those to go away in favor of something a bit more analog when the new model finally debuts.

Speaking of which, when will that happen? Eagle-eyed Motor1.com readers reminded us that the VW Golf GTI 380 announcement from late August included 2024 model-year GTIs. Furthermore, VW officially added the 2024 GTI to its consumer website in the time since our article published. Therefore, the facelifted version seen here is almost certainly a 2025 model. However, we could still have an official debut by the end of this year or early into 2024.

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