Thanks to myriad versions of the MQB platform under multiple badges, we’ve come to expect much from the chassis of any car suspended from its modular underpinnings.
The last version of the Golf was probably the principal carrier of the now instantly recognisable gene: a sophisticated mix of precision, civility and comfort.
The latest car, tested on lowered sports suspension, majors on two of those features while minoring on one.
Certainly, the sensation of tight-fitting, superbly hushed agreeableness remains the Golf’s default way of making progress.
The feeling of integrity or, more specifically, of moving parts working in quiet harmony is not replicated anywhere else at this price point nor in the broader C-segment.
Like the interior switchgear or the response of the petrol engine, the control surfaces all function with a terrifically understated elegance.
The car makes no great show of the steering’s accuracy or the deftly tuned pedal feel or the snug pleasure of gearchanges but balances them all like spinning plates in a presentation that you’re hardly supposed to notice.
Consequently, you fixate on nothing and drive everywhere in a benign state of satisfaction. At least, you do until you meet an obstacle too sizeable for the passive sports suspension to snaffle under its generally obliging stance.
At this point, the reasoning for the slightly stiffer suspension comes into question – especially when you take into account the fact that no Golf we’ve driven on the current platform has felt deficient in body control or speed of turn. A tendency to rebound over-zealously is not sufficient to sabotage the fine-tuning rendered so exceptionally elsewhere, but it does provide food for thought in the spec equation – where the £830 addition of Dynamic Chassis Control might well prove to be much the same salve to the R-line suspension as it is on the thoroughbred R.
The Mk7 Golf’s consummate ability to remain almost completely unruffled by additional speed and driver effort is transferred wholesale to the new model. If anything, the car’s poise and directional stability become more obviously laudable attributes as they are more deeply examined.
The steering, slightly more thickset in R-line trim and certainly so in Sport mode, is deliciously progressive, the certitude of its resistance easily covering for any shortfall in tactile feedback. The front end certainly fits the billing, turning in primly and smartly and deigning to trouble the stability control in only the most dire circumstances.
As ever, the Golf doesn’t qualify as precisely light on its feet — preferring instead the sturdiness of an obvious and wanton stability bias — but it ultimately transfers its weight in the kind of gradual way that again speaks to the balance achieved in the chassis tuning.