Volkswagen has revealed the first official details of its seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf, including its classy new interior, in a heavily cloaked media event ahead of the new car's official unveiling set in Berlin on 4 September.
The new model, which is described as being up to 23 per cent more economical than its predecessor, is planned to go on sale in right-hand drive guise in the UK in November.
At 4255mm in length, 1799mm in width and 1452mm in height, the new Golf is 56mm longer and 13mm wider yet 28mm lower than its predecessor.
The first Volkswagen model to use the company's heavily hyped MQB platform, also rides on a chassis that uses a 59mm longer wheelbase than today's Golf, while track widths have been increased by 8mm up front and 6mm at the rear for a significantly larger footprint than ever before.
The increase in external dimensions is claimed to bring vastly improved crash protection. They also help in boosting overall accommodations; the length of the interior has increased by 14mm to 1750mm, providing the basis for a 15mm improvement in rear legroom. There are also 31mm and 30mm improvements in shoulder room for the front and rear seat occupants respectively. Elbow room is also up by 22mm and 20mm.
The larger interior has led to a rethink in ergonomics, with the driver's seat shifted back by 20mm, the position of the gear lever raised by 20mm and the distance between the throttle and brake pedals increased by 16mm. Volkswagen has also increased the range of steering wheel adjustment.
The capacity of the boot has been boosted by 30-litres to 380-litres, including a 228mm increase in the overall width of the floor at 1272mm. Loading it made easier by a 17mm reduction in the loading lip, which now sits at 685mm. The width of the boot aperture has also increased by 47mm to 1023mm.
Meanwhile, the adoption of a new electronic park brake has freed up space on the centre console for a larger stowage compartment for improved oddment space.
Despite the increase in size, Volkswagen claims to have shaven up to 100kg off the weight of the new Golf in comparison to its predecessor. The saving is achieved through a series of refinements, including the adoption of a greater percentage of hot-formed ultra high strength steel and tailored blanks (steel members of differing thickness) within the body structure, which alone saves an impressive 23kg.
Other weight savings come through lighter engines; the new EA211 designated turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder is up to 22kg lighter than the earlier EA111, for example. The new Golf's suspension, a combination of front MacPherson struts and a rear multi-link arrangement, also includes more aluminium components for a significant 26kg reduction over that used by the sixth generation model.
Volkswagen also cites a 12kg saving in standard equipment levels - some 7kg of which come in the adoption of a new seat design, along with a 3kg reduction in the weight of the new car's electrical wiring loom, bringing the base model's kerb weight down to just 1050kg - a figure the German car maker's officials say has been achieved without the adoption of expensive aluminium body panels or other exotic materials.
Volkswagen is already making big noises about the level of safety it has engineered in to its new Golf. Among the systems it will come with when it goes on sale here later this year is a new multi collision brake. Unique to the Volkswagen line-up, it automatically triggers the brake booster upon impact to ensure the car pulls up in the shortest distance possible.
Also included is an electronic differential lock (as previously found on the Golf GTi), adaptive cruise control with a emergency braking function at speed up to 30km/h, lane assist, fatigue detection, traffic sign detection.
Customers will also be able to order the new Golf with the latest generation of automatic parking systems, including OPS (overhead parking system), which uses a 360 degree graphic. There are also new automated light functions, including light assist and dynamic light assist.
On the chassis front, Volkswagen's head of development, Ulrich Hackenberg, confirms a new progressive steering system offering varying levels of assistance depending on speed as well as up to five different driving profiles - Eco, Sport, Normal, Individual and, in combination with optional adaptive dampers, Comfort.
Volkswagen is yet to announce the full range of engine choices for the new Golf. Confirmed is the new EA211 turboharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol unit with cylinder deactivation and 138bhp. In combination with the company's latest seven speed dual clutch gearbox, it is claimed to return 58.9mpg on the combined European consumption cycle, giving it average CO2 emissions of 112g/km.
Joining it from the outset of UK sales will be the by the company's EA288 turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel with 105bhp, average fuel consumption of 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.
At the Paris motor show on 27 September, Volkswagen plans to preview the new Golf GTi. It receives a new 222bhp version of the Audi developed EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine.
In a concerted effort to match the hatchback competition, the seven generation Golf model will come with the choice of three different monitors offering a wide selection of navigation, entertainment and information systems. They include a standard 5.0-inch black and white screen, optional 5.8-inch colour screen and a top-spec 8.0-inch 3D screen.