Mk 8 Golf goes five-door only, sees major upgrades beneath evolutionary exterior as it steps out of the shadow of the ID 3
James Attwood, digital editor
24 October 2019

Volkswagen has revealed the eighth-generation Golf, claiming that its evolutionary exterior styling hides the biggest technical leap in the history of the model.

The latest version of the long-running family car – which was first launched in 1974, with more than 35 million sold since – will go on sale next year in five-door form only with new mild-hybrid engine options and a raft of new digital technology.

The new Golf was launched at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters, with an initial reveal at this year’s Frankfurt motor show postponed so the firm could focus attention on its new ID 3 electric hatch. But while the ID 3 represents the next generation of Volkswagen, in the medium term it is likely to be dwarfed in sales by the new Golf. That’s why Klaus Bischoff, VW’s design boss, has referred to the new Golf as “an indicator of the present” that represents “what’s possible nowadays within the volume segment”.

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The Golf’s engine line-up will include three new 48V mild hybrids and a revamped GTE-badged plug-in hybrid.

The entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI petrol will be offered with 89bhp and 109bhp, while a 1.5-litre four-cylinder TFSI will come in 129bhp and 148bhp guises, all driven through a manual gearbox. The sole diesel on sale in the UK will be a 114bhp 2.0-litre TDI, available with manual or automatic transmission.

The eTSI-badged mild-hybrid engines use a 48V belt starter/generator linked to a 48V battery and mounted directly to a seven-speed direct-shift gearbox (DSG). VW says that the eTSI units, offered with 109bhp, 129bhp and 148bhp outputs, reduce fuel consumption by around 10% by allowing for engine-off coasting, and increase acceleration due to electric boosting.

The most powerful Golf at launch will be the 241bhp GTE plug-in hybrid, which combines a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an electric motor. Energy is stored in a 13kWh battery, providing 50% more capacity than the outgoing GTE.

VW will offer a less powerful 201bhp eHybrid PHEV model in some markets, although it won’t be available in the UK. Neither will a TGI natural gas-powered machine that will be sold in Europe. With the arrival of the ID 3, the e-Golf will no longer continue with the new generation.

The Mk8 Golf uses the latest version of the VW Group’s MQB platform, with dimensions largely unchanged from its predecessor: the car is 4284mm long, 1789mm wide and 1456mm high, with a wheelbase of 2636mm. It retains the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, which work with VW’s adaptive damping control system and steering that has been reworked with a more direct ratio to inject extra feedback.

The latest Golf’s styling is distinctly familiar, with the front end revamped with new-look lights and, reflecting a similar feature on the ID 3, a new strip running from them to the VW roundel. The side profile has been tweaked with a focus on the more contoured C-pillar, intended to give it more presence at the rear, while the back gets a new raised rear bumper, and the Golf name written out beneath the VW logo.

While the exterior design is evolutionary, the new Golf’s interior has been comprehensively reworked, with a focus on digital instruments and controls. The dashboard is dominated by the infotainment touchscreen – 10in as standard in the UK – which is paired with a standard 10.25in digital cockpit display and an optional windscreen head-up display.

The climate and infotainment volume can now be adjusted by using a ‘slider’ located underneath the touchscreen, while a similarsystem is mounted into the roof console to operate the optional sunroof. The Golf also features the latest version of VW’s MIB3 infotainment system, which supports both touch and voice control, including the ability to use Amazon Alexa. It is permanently connected to the internet via an eSIM, enabling online music streaming, traffic information and shopping.

The positioning of the remaining physical controls have been reworked. Many have been bundled together and positioned higher and closer to the steering wheel and instruments on the dashboard. To make the interior feel cleaner and more spacious, the upper portion of the dashboard has been designed to appear as if it sits on a ‘table’, with an indented line underneath now housing the air vents to minimise their appearance. That line also features integrated ambient lighting elements, to make the car feel bigger.

VW has focused heavily on upgrading the technology on the new Golf, aiming to take its digital systems to a higher level than other cars in the class. It is offered with Travel Assist, which uses a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane assist to enable ‘assisted driving’ at speeds of up to 130mph.

The new Golf is also the first VW to feature Car2X technology, based on the harmonised European Union standard. Car2X uses information from cars and various bits of infrastructure fitted with sensors to produce data based on local traffic and conditions.

The Golf is offered with upgraded front assist, a system that can automatically brake for oncoming vehicles. There is also LED lighting as standard, with the option of VW’s top-spec IQ Light system. Sections of the matrix LED headlights can be dipped for oncoming traffic or to reduce glare from traffic signs, and adjust for corners and poor weather. Dynamic turn indicators feature too.

The new Golf’s eSIM also allows for over-the-air software updates to both the car and the infotainment system. UK buyers will receive a three-year subscription to VW’s We Connect Plus, which offers a range of services including media streaming, online route calculations, vehicle status, driving data, online map updates and, for the GTE, charging information. It will also allow owners to download add-ons from an ‘in-car shop’.

The firm has developed a mobile key system that will allow the Golf to be operated via smartphone. This won’t initially be offered in the UK but could be introduced at a later date.

Exact technical details and specs have yet to be confirmed, but the UK will retain S, SE, SEL and R-Line trim levels.

While entry-level cars are expected to run on 16in wheels, higher levels will gain 17in rims, more ambient lighting options, chrome exhausts and leather trim options. R-Line models will get bespoke bumpers, trim elements and sport seats, with similar tweaks expected for the GTE version.

VW also claims the new Golf will be upgradeable, so features such as adaptive cruise control, light assist and the wi-fi hotspot can be enabled after purchase.

The Golf is due on sale in the UK early next year. Pricing has yet to be finalised, although a slight increase on the equivalent versions of the outgoing car is likely.

The GTI and GTD models are scheduled to follow later in the year, with the GTI using an upgraded version of the 241bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the previous model. The hot R version is likely to arrive in 2021, along with a range-topping 400bhp R Plus.

What is Car2X?

Car2X, which is fitted to the Volkswagen Golf for the first time, stands for car-to-everything. It’s a harmonised standard – in the European Union using wi-fi and 4G or 5G mobile data – to enable connected cars and infrastructure (such as traffic lights) to communicate with each other.

Doing so enables such devices to pool information that can be combined to create real-time live data showing traffic, traffic lights, breakdowns, weather or approaching emergency vehicles. For example, data showing multiple cars braking can be used to warn approaching drivers of slowing traffic ahead.

Such data systems have featured in some cars previously but, because Car2X is an EU standard, it means that data can be shared across any vehicle featuring the technology, rather than just those of a particular brand, greatly increasing the volume of information.

The EU standards also include strict rules concerning the data, so information is only sent anonymously and is not captured or stored by private companies.

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Comments
25

24 October 2019

 It's that popular that if they made it run on Coal, it would still sell.....!

24 October 2019
What a beautiful shoe rack!

24 October 2019

The interior manages to be interesting but not overdone. Hopefully the absence of physical buttons won't affect usuability and I do wonder how reliable all this tech will be when the car is 10 years old, but it looks good now. Not so sold on the exterior, looks a bit bloated despite being the same size as the outgoing model (which makes a nice change from every new car being bigger than the last). Interesting the only diesel is a 114bhp 2.0 and that apparently the rear suspension is multi link only. Roll on the road test.

24 October 2019
Nice all round with great interior , it appears along with no 3 door there will be no estate either which is a shame ?

24 October 2019

It looks like it's collided with the car in front ( a Toyota?) and got a swollen lip....

 

Weird. The rest of it is boringly predictable.

 

Touch screens in cars is a very very bad idea also.

25 October 2019

Have to agree all those illuminated screen surfaces Too much when night driving .Unless most of it can be turned off which could be good. Exterior is just plain dull, like a washing machine or a dustbin. Got to be a dull mind that finds it exciting Urrrr

24 October 2019
Disastrous interior controls. Zero tactility, only attention-sapping touchscreens. No thanks.

24 October 2019

Not a match on the near-perfect Golf VII. The messy rear end and extraneous details spoil the overall shape.

The instrument binnacle that moves forward away from the housing to become the satnav/infocentre looks awkward and unresolved.

24 October 2019

Usual German formula, make it bit bigger, a bit more angry looking..

Playing catch up a bit I think, 48V hybrid, others have been using for a while, auto drivers aids again been around a while. Will sell loads as usual. I am currently in Germany, looking out the window, and the home market alone would keep the production lines rolling from the view I can see. As such its an appliance, a very good one granted.

24 October 2019

Yes, the styling is very evolutionary but the MK 7 was inoffensive and has worn well. This looks to be another clever iteration of a car that you cannot but admire. Making nearly a million a year means that VW’s economies of scale are reinvested into creating a quality product. Who really needs to pay a premium for an Audi? Although I suspect the price will be somewhat higher the new technology and digital interior will create a bigger differentiation to its Skoda and Seat cousins. With the ID 3 VW will have this segment of the market locked out.

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