The Volkswagen Golf Mk7 will blast in later this year as a leaner, safer, more economical car packed with technology usually associated with luxury models.
The all-new 2013 Volkswagen Golf hatch will be available with a wider range of powertrains than today’s model, including a plug-in hybrid good for 243bhp and more than 50mpg, an electric model and a super-clean version fuelled by natural gas. The car is expected to be unveiled at the Paris show in September, before going on sale early next year.
Mainstream models will be powered by a completely new family of downsized petrol engines (codenamed EA211) and super-frugal diesel units (EA288). The range-topping non-GTD 2.0 diesel is good for 181bhp and 280lb ft (there’s also a twin-turbo 220bhp version on test for the GTD) and the most powerful 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine gets 138bhp and cylinder deactivation for increased economy. The larger petrol engines (EA888) will be sized at 1.8 and 2.0 litres.
The new Golf GTI — expected to be powered by a 260bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine — also promises to set new standards for hot hatches. Sporting the new VAQ electronically controlled front diff, it will, VW claims, delivers much “more agile steering behaviour” and a much greater sense of precision through the wheel. According to VW, a VAQ-equipped Golf has lapped the Nürburgring 8.0sec faster than prototypes with a conventional differential.
All-wheel drive will be an option on the Golf’s new MQB platform, as will an updated version of VW’s Dynamic Chassis Control active dampers.
Volkwagen is promising to roll out a lightweight version of the Golf Mk7, with aluminium for the floor pressings, boot floor and windscreen base. Company sources would not say which models will get this alloy-steel hybrid structure, but it’s thought that the EV and GTI are the leading candidates. Even in its standard form, the new Golf is as light as the Mk4 model from the late 1990s, even though it is much safer in a collision.
The Golf will be one of the first VW Group cars to be based on the radical new MQB platform and its standardised components. MQB can be stretched all the way from underpinning the Polo supermini to the executive-sized Passat. It comes with its own bespoke factory and production lines, which will be rolled out across the world.
Among the Golf’s hi-tech options will be an 8in iPad-style dashboard touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, driver fatigue detection, 360deg parking sensors and Park Assist 2, a semi-autonomous system that can park the car in a tight supermarket-style space.