The brand new Volkswagen Golf has arrived to revolutionize the compact car segment once again.
Volkswagen may be focusing on rebranding itself as a premium electric automaker with the recent unveiling of the ID.3, but that doesn't mean it's abandoning its core combustion model range. After numerous leaks and a long teaser campaign dating back to last January, the all-new Volkswagen Golf has finally been revealed at the original model's birthplace in Wolfsburg, Germany.
As the company's most popular model of all time with more than 35 million units sold since the MK1 launched in 1974, the new eighth-generation Golf has a lot to live up to as VW aims to revolutionize the compact car segment once again.
On the surface, the exterior looks nearly identical to the last-generation model. It looks unmistakably like a Golf, retaining its iconic shape, characteristic C-pillar, and striking lines, but there have been a few changes to modernize the popular hatchback. The grille is much narrower, and all conventional lighting units have been replaced with slick LED ones, with the range-topping model incorporating LED matrix headlights.
While the body appears to have been stretched, the new Golf retains the old model's compact dimensions, measuring 14.5 feet long, 5.8 feet wide, and 4.7 feet high, with an 8.64-feet long wheelbase. Each part of the body has been reshaped and refined in a wind tunnel and drag coefficient has been reduced to 0.275.
"Over the course of seven generations, the Golf has impressed more than 35 million customers. The entire automobile industry expects a new Golf to set the standard", said Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. "In terms of its technology, the Golf is making the greatest leap forward since its debut."
Ralf Brandstatter, Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen Passenger Cars added: "This car is completely new. But of course, a Golf always remains a Golf. Because the underlying concept is timeless. This car has defined our brand over decades. The Golf has consistently made new technologies available for everyone."
Inside, the driver-focused cabin is more high-tech than ever. As standard, the new Golf comes with a digital cockpit comprising a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with an online connection, and a multifunction steering wheel. Even the operation of the panoramic sunroof has been digitalized with a touch slider. Compatible Samsung smartphones can be used as a digital key using the WeConnect app.
Online connectivity will also allow for over-the-air updates and driver settings such as the seating position, exterior mirrors and air conditioning can be saved to the cloud. Two optional 10-inch infotainment systems are available, along with a windshield head-up display. The center console is cleaner and more ergonomic, and the shifter for the dual clutch gearbox is significantly smaller. For music aficionados, the new Golf can also be fitted with a 400-watt Harman Kardon sound system.
Under the hood, the new Golf will be available with as many as eight different powertrain options with a range of gasoline, diesel, natural gas, mild hybrid, and plug-in hybrid drives. At launch, four turbocharged gasoline TSI engines will be available including a 1.0-liter three-cylinder generating 90 hp and 110 hp and a 1.5-liter producing 130 hp and 150 hp with temporary Active Cylinder Management.
All TSI engines are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while 110 hp variants and above can be configured as a mild hybrid for the first time with a 48-V system and a dual clutch gearbox. Three 2.0-liter TSI engines and a 1.5-liter TGI will be available for the Golf GTI, Golf GTI TCR and Golf R at a later date, while the new Golf GTE plug-in hybrid will debut in 2020 with 245 hp.
New driver assists include a travel assist available for the Style package allowing for automated driving on highways up to speeds of 130 mph without having to actively steer, accelerate and brake, but the driver will need to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel. This system also utilizes a lane-keeping system.
Other driver assists include an adaptive cruise control system with speed detection, an emergency braking system, pedestrian monitor, and cyclist monitor. The new Golf is also the first VW to feature Car2X functionality that can gather information provided by other vehicles within a 0.4-mile radius.
The sporty R-Line package has been reprised for the new Golf, which adds 17-inch alloy wheels, R-Line-specific bumpers, high-gloss black sill trims, a rear diffuser, premium sport seats, and stainless steel pedals among other upgrades.
The new Volkswagen Golf will launch in selected markets this December. The Golf GTI and Golf R have been confirmed for the US market, but VW says the base model is also "under consideration" for the North American market contrary to reports that it had been dropped from the US lineup. Pricing details have yet to be confirmed.