Mk8 Golf, as imagined by Autocar
Mk8 Golf, as imagined by Autocar
The next-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI is set to adopt a mild hybrid powertrain that promises to boost performance and refinement while reducing fuel consumption and emissions compared with the recently facelifted current model.
The adoption of an advanced 48V electrical system and integrated starter motor on the new hot hatchback is part of a powertrain overhaul that will be reflected across the whole Mk8 Golf line-up. The changes are also set to make the new model the most powerful series-production Golf GTI yet.
Although the new Golf GTI is still three years away from its introduction, sources close to Volkswagen research and development boss Frank Welsch have revealed that the initial performance targets point to a power output similar to the 261bhp of the limited-edition Golf GTI Clubsport.
Scheduled to go on sale in the UK in 2020, the new Golf GTI will retain an internal combustion engine: VW’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit.
However, the introduction of the 48V electric system will allow the four-cylinder engine to receive comprehensive modifications. It’s likely that the exhaust gas turbocharger of today’s model will make way for an electrically operated compressor that offers improved low-end response and a broader plateau of torque for added flexibility.
Additionally, the integrated starter motor will allow VW to provide the front-wheel-drive Golf GTI with a so-called boost function in which an electric motor mounted in the front section of its standard-fit seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox supplements the combustion engine in Performance mode.
A year into its development
The eighth-generation Golf has been under development for more than a year now, with key aspects of the car already described by high-level Volkswagen sources as having committed project status.
Despite the upheaval brought to its operations by the diesel emissions manipulation scandal and subsequent legal complications in key world markets, Volkswagen has confirmed that it is holding firm to the original launch schedule for the new model. That means volume-selling versions of the new Golf are planned to reach UK showrooms during the final quarter of 2019.
VW has laid the foundation for both cylinder shutdown and engine-off coasting functions in the turbocharged 1.5 TSI Bluemotion petrol version of the updated current Golf through the adoption of a twin 12V electrical system. Now Autocar can confirm that the company is set to take the fuel-saving technology one step further.
The company is planning a more contemporary, 48V system that will enable the next Golf to be more comprehensively networked for more intuitive operation and greater fuel savings, particularly with petrol versions of the car.
Uses update of Mk7 platform
The basis for the next Golf is an updated version of the versatile MQB platform used by today’s model. Volkswagen insiders suggest it will use a greater percentage of lightweight metal than the existing structure for a 50kg reduction.
Planned modifications to the construction process are also said to provide for more streamlined production and reduced build times as part of moves aimed at improving the economies of scale and profitability of Volkswagen’s best-selling model.
Although there are still three years to go before the new Golf’s introduction, Volkswagen says it has already locked in the car’s design, which has been developed under the guidance of the company’s latest design boss, Michael Mauer, who was responsible for the styling of the current Porsche line-up.
Those privy to the latest clay model mock-ups of the new car say it progresses the classic hatchback look of its predecessors, with familiar proportions, reinterpreted details and simple surfacing to make it instantly recognisable as a Golf.
Key styling features described to Autocar include a thin horizontal grille bookmarked by smaller angular headlights than those in use today, with a distinctive LED daytime running light graphic.
The new car is also said to have more pronounced wheel arches and a heavily defined side swage line, in combination with typically wide C-pillars and a relatively upright tailgate.
Three-door stays but no cabrio
VW plans three different bodystyles: a three-door hatchback, a five-door hatchback and an estate. There are no plans to develop a successor to today’s cabriolet.
With a moderate increase in track widths at the front and rear, along with a slightly longer wheelbase and reduced rear overhang, the new Golf is said to offer greater interior space than the current car. As with the exterior, the cabin has been designed to be familiar to existing Golf owners.
The standard specification is set to include analogue instruments and controls, but as with the recent facelift, there will be options of high-definition Active Info Display digital instruments and a central touchscreen infotainment monitor.
Also planned are new gesture and conversational speech control functions in combination with connectivity and networking features currently being pursued by VW’s digital boss, Johann Jungwirth.
Other systems will include autonomous driving functions — also a feature of the recent facelift — including a traffic jam assistant that will allow the driver hands-off operation at speeds of up to 37mph.
Petrols, diesels and hybrids
With VW’s ID electric line-up on the way, the eighth-generation Golf will have a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains. The adoption of the 48V electrical system indicates that Volkswagen is placing greater emphasis on petrol units than in past generations, with functions such as cylinder shutdown and engine-off coasting set to become standard on many models.
The new or upgraded powertrains will be offered in combination with either a six-speed manual or sevenspeed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, depending on their configuration. Alongside frontwheel drive, Volkswagen also plans optional four-wheel drive 4Motion in selected models in a repeat of the previous four generations of its perennial best seller.
On the petrol side, the entry-level models will forgo the existing turbocharged 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine of today’s model for the lighter turbocharged 1.0-litre threecylinder unit already launched in the latest Golf.
The existing turbocharged 1.5 TSI engine, which made its debut as a replacement for the older 1.4 TSI in the facelift, is set to be upgraded with a particulate filter. This move is aimed at providing lower tailpipe emissions to help achieve the EU’s prescribed 95g/km fleet average CO2 levels by 2020.
It will come as standard, with both the cylinder shutdown and coasting functions to be offered in the newly unveiled seventh-generation Golf TSI BlueMotion Edition, which already has a claimed average CO2 rating of 104g/km.
New 1.5-litre diesel on the way
Diesels will include a yet to be revealed 1.5-litre fourcylinder unit as a replacement for today’s 1.6 TDI. There will also be an updated version of today’s 2.0 TDI in at least three different power outputs.
Both diesels will be coupled with a newly developed SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system, which is claimed to contribute to a 10% reduction in CO2 levels compared with today’s diesels.
Secrecy surrounds Volkswagen’s hybrid plans, although supplier sources close to its engineering operations suggest the turbo 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine used in today’s Golf GTE could be supplanted by a cheaper, naturally aspirated version of the German car maker’s 1.5-litre petrol unit in a move aimed at reducing production costs.