Overnight, at a special event held at their Wolfsburg headquarters, Volkswagen pulled the wraps off their much anticipated 8th-generation Golf hatch, revealing an all-new generation of the iconic nameplate that introduces more tech and more advanced powertrains atop of an evolved design and more premium interior accoutrements.
The German automaker is keen to stress the fact that the all-new Golf is “digitalised” and “intuitive”, laving us hard pressed to disagree seeing as it's a bridge between a legacy paradigm and the fully electric ID.3 . For one thing, just by looking at the car, it’s clearly cut from similar very cloth with its predecessor, the Mk7.5, with many elements down its dimensions staying in lockstep.
Save for a decently altered front fascia and new alloys, this is still unmistakably a Golf as we’ve come to know it. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find the latest version of the modular MQB platform and an improved construction that reduces weight while increasing structural rigidity. And over it, Volkswagen has done much to shoehorn in as much new tech as they can.
Spearheading this assault is a range of new electrified engines, with even the most entry-level variant using the mild-hybrid system called eTSI, employing a 48-volt start/generator and battery mounted to its 7-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission, replenishing itself through heat and kinetic energy recuperation.
Primary power is derived from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol with varying levels of tune between 81kW, 96kW, and 110kW. While that may sound modest by 2019 standards, the electric boost would doubtless endow it with added zip at low speeds while helping it save fuel.
Until a properly hot GTI or Golf R makes an entrance, Volkswagen has also introduced the plug-in hybrid GTE at launch, positioned as a warmed-up alternative to the range’s more traditional high performance offerings. Here, a 1.4-litre TSI is teamed to a gutsier electric motor and 13kWh battery to produce a peak system output of 180kW.
Torque and acceleration figures are yet to be disclosed but expect the latter to be achieved in around 6 seconds to 100km/h, matching the similarly front-drive GTI while its electric-only range is quoted at a generous 60km. Supplementing this is a less powerful PHEV variant with 150kW.
We’ve no idea how the Mk8 Golf drives, of course, but it should only build upon the accomplished road manners of its predecessor. More robustly priced versions receive adaptive dampers and variable steering to aid its MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension.
Inside, it’s plain to see the influence Audi and Porsche has had on Volkswagen's newest with a far cleaner and more stylised design that is most pronounce on the cascade-style dashboard. Climate control vents are but a sliver that runs across the midline, two large displays present the driver with a virtual instrument cluster and infotainment interface, ambient lighting gently bathes the cabin, and a quirky little nub stands erect where a conventional gear lever used to/should be - thanks, Porsche 992.
The all-new Golf is also one of the first vehicles in its class to embrace Car2X connectivity, a new European-led industry standard that creates a mesh network of cars on the road. Via an embedded eSIM, mobile networks and Wi-Fi will be used to access Volkswagen’s “We Connect” and “We Connect Plus” functions, enable over-the-air software updates, as well as access real-time traffic infrastructure and inter-car communication to improve road safety and efficiency.