The revamped Mk7 Volkswagen Golf “marks the beginning” of a renewed brand line-up by 2020, according to Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess. Describing the revised C-segment hatchback as “smart, safer and more connected” at its unveiling in Wolfsburg, Germany, Diess said the Golf is the most important model in the VW range and “the essence of the brand”. On sale from next spring, with an expected slight price rise to around £18,000 for an entry-level model, the new Golf features minor design tweaks, revised infotainment controls and fresh safety systems.
Visual changes are limited to restyled bumpers, new LED headlights and tail-lights and so-called ‘animated flowing’ indicators, with styling similar to that seen on Audis. The biggest changes are inside, with revised trims and technology systems, which now include gesture control. A 9.5in touchscreen can now be specified, while the smallest is 6.5in (previously 5.0in). The range-topping system allows the use of hand gestures to control various functions, such as changing radio stations or accepting calls.
It’s the first time the feature has appeared in a compact class car, having previously been seen only on larger luxury models such as the BMW 7 Series. The interior, in line with other recent VW models, receives the option of an Active Info Display directly in front of the driver. It features a 12.3in high-definition screen and can be ordered in place of a standard analogue instrument pack. The model also gets the latest generation of VW’s online services, including the updated App Connect, which integrates with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink.
Along with the additional tech, more personalisation options have been made available. A driver’s individual settings can be saved via the car’s key and managed through the menu, allowing drivers easy access to their for preferences for features such as lighting, automatic air conditioning settings, lane assist, park assist and the infotainment system. The revised Golf also adopts new safety systems, including Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.
A new Traffic Jam Assist feature combines functions of the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist systems to offer semi-autonomous driving in stop-start traffic at speeds of up to 37mph, while an improved City Emergency Braking system now detects pedestrians as well as vehicles ahead. The most significant change to the engine line-up is the introduction of the new turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine, which has the same power output as the 1.4-litre engine it replaces. The 1.5 TSI Evo delivers 148bhp, along with 1841b ft of torque at 1500rpm.
No performance figures have been released for the 1.5 TSI, but VW quotes a combined fuel consumption figure of 57.7mpg and a C02 output of 110g/km. These represent 2.4mpg and 9g/km improvements over the outgoing 1.4 TSI. A more economical Bluemotion version of the same engine will also be available. Delivering 128bhp, along with 1471b ft at 1400rpm, it has an extended coasting function that shuts down the engine when the driver releases the accelerator. VW claims combined economy of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km for the Bluemotion.
Among future developments being pursued by VW for its latest petrol engine is a particulate filter, which is claimed to further reduce exhaust pollutants. Other confirmed changes to the engine line-up include the retuning of the Golf GTI’s existing turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit. The standard GTI now delivers 226bhp, 10bhp more than before, while the GTI Performance makes 242bhp. Engine developments also include the replacement of the current diesel engine line-up, with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit expected to replace the existing 1.6 TDI.
However, Diess would only confirm that there will be a next-generation diesel. “We are working on this, but it will arrive later,” he said. Further drivetrain advances include the introduction of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which will replace the existing six-speed unit and be offered alongside the six-speed manual in more powerful models. VW says the move contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions.
While the refreshed Golf hatchback, GTI, GTE and estate have been revealed, there are more Golf updates to come. The Golf R’s power output is expected to rise to 316bhp, up from 296bhp, while the company is rumoured to be working on a mild hybrid powertrain for the hatchback. The updated Golf will be on sale until the arrival of the eighth-generation Golf in 2019. Diess said that car will “be very innovative, a major milestone and will come with the more traditional drivetrains [compared with its all-electric range, such as the ID concept]”.
Meanwhile, the revised e-Golf is being unveiled at this week’s Los Angeles motor show. Already previewed at the Paris motor show, it uses a 3S.5kWh lithium ion battery in place of today’s 24.2kWh unit and is claimed to offer a range of 186 miles, 68 miles more than the current version.