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VW Golf update arriving mid-2017

Fore: Volkswagen’s facelifted Golf will be landing in the middle of 2017 but keep your heads up for a possible GTE performance hybrid that may join its GTI and R siblings.

Facelifted VW Golf GTI gets Performance 169kW as standard, GTE not ruled out

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Volkswagen logo11 Nov 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

VOLKSWAGEN has pulled the covers from the mid-life updated Golf range revealing a mildly refreshed design but more significant engineering work under its skin, ahead of an Australian arrival about the middle of next year.

On the outside, the visual tweaks appear subtle but extend to the front and rear bumpers, front wings as well as the more customary headlight and all-LED tail-light design updates.

For more affordable variants, the new headlights are halogen complemented by LED daytime running lights, while the previous Xenon headlights are replaced with full LED technology in higher-spec cars.

Notable changes include a red flash that extends from the GTI grille to inside the headlight lenses, while the Golf R has a new twin exhaust that is neatly incorporated into the re-sculpted bumper, replacing the previous add-on appearance quad pipes. The wagon has a similar version.

The update will also bring changes to some Golf underpinnings with a new 1.5-litre TSI Evo petrol four-cylinder debuting with 110kW and Active Cylinder Management for improved efficiency and emissions, while the returning BlueMotion has 96kW and a coast function that saves fuel by cutting the engine while still moving.

More performance-focused Golfs are also included in the mechanical updates with the venerable GTI now offered with 169kW as standard, which was previously the preserve of limited Performance editions. The Performance variant will still be available but with an increased output of 180kW.

From launch, the existing six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission will be on offer alongside the six-ratio manual, but a new seven-speed DSG auto will gradually proliferate the entire range for tighter, sportier ratios and improved efficiency.

The performance-focused but frugal GTE is also included in the update and, while the model has not previously been offered Down Under, Volkswagen Australia marketing and product general manager Ben Wilks said the company was “working hard” on its case.

If confirmed for Australia, the GTE will bring the first hybrid version of the Golf wrapped up in a sporty package similar to the GTI including the same purposeful stance, bodykit and a blue flash replacing the red trimmings of the petrol-only version.

Mr Wilks explained that the subtle aesthetic update was a classic case of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

“Volkswagen pretty much invented the hatchback and we’ve perfected its shape and dimensions. Customers expect us to adhere to the classical appearance. It makes total sense when seen in the metal.” The 2017 updates continue on the inside, headlined by a new larger 9.2-inch central screen for access to a new generation of extended applications and services. Gesture controls are now possible with the new system, while top-spec cars have the Discover Pro infotainment features.

Volkswagen has followed sister brand Audi into the fully digital instrument cluster age, with the Golf update introducing the equivalent of Audi’s virtual cockpit, which allows access to a range of vehicle and navigation information through a versatile Active Info Display.

Semi-automated driving features also accompany the update and the German car-maker says its Traffic Jam Assistant is the first of its kind in the Golf’s segment. The system assists the driver in high traffic situations up to 60km/h with steering, braking and acceleration, reducing diver fatigue.

Exact engine and specification details will be confirmed closer to the Australian launch around mid-2017, but the range will kick off with the more orthodox diesel and petrol options, while GTI and R performance versions will arrive later.

In Europe, the base variant Golf will not increase in price despite the extra kit, but Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed. The current entry-level Golf 92TSI starts at $22,840 plus on-road costs.

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