Efficiency and kit improve
VOLKSWAGEN took the wraps off its seventh-generation Golf at a gala presentation held in Germany, revealing a sharper appearance, higher quality interior, frugal new petrol and diesel engines and improved safety features.
Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn said the Golf is significantly lighter than the sixth-generation model it replaces despite a moderate increase in size and higher levels of standard equipment.
"We have been able to reverse the upward spiral in weight, but it is safer, more comfortable and more spacious," Mr Winterkorn says.
The headline news surrounding the new car, which will go on sale in Australia in 2013, is the claimed 3.2 litre/100km combined cycle fuel consumption figure Volkswagen quotes for the new 77kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel-powered BlueMotion model.
This makes the Golf more economical than the petrol-electric Toyota Prius on the European test cycle while endowing it with average CO2 emissions that undercut the Smart fortwo diesel at just 85g/km.
As with each generation before it, the latest Golf has grown in size.
Length is up by 56mm to 4255mm and width extends by 13mm to 1799mm yet a flatter roof has reduced its height by 28mm to 1452mm.
The increase in external dimensions has also led to a larger footprint, with the wheelbase growing by 59mm to 2637mm and the front and rear track widths extending by 8mm and 6mm to 1549mm and 1520mm respectively, providing the new model with a more confident road hugging stance than its predecessor.
The seventh-generation Golf will continue the tradition of its various predecessors in offering a wide range of transversely mounted four-cylinder direct injection petrol and common rail diesel engines - all now with automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation systems as standard.
Engineering refinements and resulting efficiency gains see a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 23%, according to Volkswagen, with standard models all boasting front-wheel drive.
The engine line-up for the Australian market is yet to be confirmed.
In 2013, Volkswagen plans to unleash replacements for the sixth-generation Golf GTi and third-generation Golf R.
In the new GTi, which is set to be previewed in concept car form at the Paris motor show , it is claimed to produce 168kW, with the R receiving a more heavily tuned version of the new aluminium block mill delivering a gutsy 209kW.