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New VW Golf emerges

Continuation of a theme: The new Volkswagen Golf continues the recognisable design of its predecessors, but the changes are far more substantial underneath.

Volkswagen lifts shroud of secrecy from crucial seventh-generation Golf hatch


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5 Sep 2012

VOLKSWAGEN unveiled its larger, lighter and more frugal seventh-generation Golf hatch in Berlin overnight ahead of its public debut at the Paris motor show in late September.

Due in Australia by the middle of 2013, the latest iteration of Volkswagen’s top-selling model is said to be up to 100kg lighter and 23 per cent more fuel efficient than its predecessor, courtesy of an innovative modular platform and a suite of revised four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

The new Golf is crucial to Volkswagen AG’s ambitions of overtaking General Motors and Toyota as the world’s top-selling car-maker.

As expected, the Golf’s exterior styling is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and stays close to the winning formula of previous generations, but the more spacious cabin features a more upmarket design and a wider array of technology.

Despite these claimed improvements, the new Golf will kick off at an identical price point to the previous generation – at least in its home market of Germany.

Among the engine options is an upgraded, direct-injection 1.4-litre turbo petrol producing either 90kW/200Nm or 103kW/250Nm depending on tune, with the latter featuring fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology that temporarily shuts down two cylinders.

The cut-off system becomes active between 1400 and 4000rpm at a torque level of up to 85Nm.

The more powerful version will have impressively low fuel consumption of 4.8L/100km when paired to the latest seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

Also locked in for production is a 1.6-litre common-rail turbo-diesel with 77kW of power and fuel consumption on the European combined cycle as low as 3.2L/100km in BlueMotion guise – undercutting the hybrid Toyota Prius’s (3.8L/100km) – or 3.8L/100km in regular variants.

The larger 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine now produces 110kW of power (up from 103kW in the previous model) and consumes a meagre 4.1L/100km on the combined cycle.

All engines come standard with fuel-saving idle-stop and brake energy regeneration technology.

Underneath the sharper but still recognisable bodyshell sits Volkswagen AG’s much-publicised new MQB modular platform that made its production debut earlier this year in the Audi A3.

This high-strength, lightweight modular platform has been designed to stretch in order to accommodate a wide array of Volkswagen Group product from VW, Skoda, Audi and Seat, and alongside a lighter body frame and lighter engines helps slash up to 100kg of weight.

At 4255mm, the new Golf is 56mm longer than its predecessor, while its width of 1799mm is 13mm wider than before. Drag has been reduced by almost 10 per cent, with the BlueMotion recording a slinky aerodynamic rating of 0.27Cd.

The new Golf’s revised electric steering system is also available with a progressive gear ratio, while the old hydraulic parking brake has been ditched in favour of a space-saving, switch-operated electric unit.

The re-designed and more driver-oriented interior features a subtly-redesigned fascia available with a Volkswagen-first touchscreen display with standard proximity sensor that automatically switches the operating mode as a hand approaches.

The new model is available with an upgraded Park Assist system, along with a 360-degree overhead parking camera and new infotainment systems (with a 5.0-inch black and white display for base variants and either 5.8-inch or 8.0-inch colour units for higher-specified models).

The cabin is also more spacious than before, offering 15mm more rear legroom and 31mm more shoulder room, while the boot has grown to 380 litres (up 30L) and the loading lip is 17mm lower.

The 60:40 folding rear seats are said to offer a nearly-flat loading floor with a length of 1558mm.

Naturally, the new model comes with a wider range of optional active safety features than previous generations to keep up with tightening regulations, including adaptive cruise control, fatigue detection, lane assist and multi-collision braking system.

The multi-collision braking system automatically brakes the vehicle when it is involved in an accident in order to significantly reduce its residual kinetic energy.

The new Golf is far and away the most significant launch for Volkswagen this year, with the previous six generations accounting for a mammoth 29.13 million sales between 1974 and 2012.

Volkswagen AG chairman of the board of management Martin Winterkorn said the crucial seventh-generation model would continue this level of success, and would lay down the challenge to small car rivals.

“Six generations of the Golf –1974 to 2012. That represents 38 years of continuous success for the world’s best seller with sales totalling 29.13 million cars,” he said.

“It has also made a tremendous economic impact, safeguarding jobs, and has served as an influential measure of technical progress over the epochs.”

The new Golf will make its public debut at the Paris motor show on September 27, including a preview of the as-yet-unrevealed Mk7 GTI hot hatch, which is tipped to feature a more potent 165kW 2.0-litre turbo engine developed by Audi for its new A3.

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