Today is the day of the presentation of the all-important, seventh generation of the Volkswagen Golf hatchback that comes into light 36 years and more than 29 million sales after the original model shaped the modern compact segment.
Back in the spring we already shared the first spy photos of the new 2014 GTI five-door hatchback, which will probably be sold as a 2014 model in North America, Volkswagen has released new images and more details on the car following the presentation at a special event in Berlin Germany, earlier today. Remaining recognizably a Golf, the car gets a revised front fascia and sharper lines to lend it a more aggressive look overall. The interior also seems to have moved upmarket with a cleaner cabin featuring piano black accents and a center console that angles toward the driver.
With the seventh generation, Volkswagen will migrate the Golf to its new MQB platform, which it shares with the Audi A3 and Seat Leon among others. More small tweaks to the VW make that sharing especially evident, like the revised rear-end and side panel styling. For example, Volkswagen did away with the old rounded gas door in favor of an angled, square looking unit which further compliments the angle of the rear doors. New highlights include the touchscreen systems, which at least in certain European countries such as the UK, will come as standard on all models, starting with a 5.8-inch color display system, and rising to the range-topping satellite navigation system with eight-inch color display, plus the new electronic parking brake with an auto-hold feature. Also, for the first time in a Volkswagen, the compartment under the centre armrest optionally includes a universal phone holder with inductive aerial.
The new Golf MK7 may be bigger than the car it replaces, but thanks to the new chassis architecture, production techniques, engines and even electric wiring, it is up to 100 kg (220 pounds) lighter than the Mk6. Among other standard safety features are the multi-collision brake system that automatically applies the brakes on the car after a collision to reduce kinetic energy and minimize the chance of a second impact, and the PreCrash system that re-tensions seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof, leaving just a small gap, to ensure protection from the airbags during a crash.
The Golf Mk7 will be offered with a variety of drivetrains. Transmission options include six-speed manual gearboxes, and six- and seven-speed dual clutch DSG units. Confirmed for the European market, Volkswagen has developed two brand-new generations of engines (petrol and diesel) for the latest Golf, all of which are equipped with a standard stop/start system and battery regeneration, and offer a power range from 84hp to 148hp. These include the 1.2-litre TSI 84hp petrol unit returning 4.9 lt/100 km (48mpg US or 57.6mpg UK), and a 1.4-litre TSI 138hp unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the cylinders, and achieves up to 4.8 lt/100 km (49mpg US or 58.9mpg UK).
Volkswagen will officially debut the seventh generation Golf later this month at the Paris Auto Show.