Volkswagen debuts new seventh-generation Golf

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Volkswagen took the wraps off of its seventh-generation Golf hatchback yesterday at a press conference in Berlin, Germany, promising "more features, even better safety, and more performance than the outgoing vehicle, while breaking the cycle of being heavier than its predecessor."

That's right, the next-generation Golf will actually weigh 90 kilos (220 lbs) less than the current model, thanks to a concerted effort to beef up the car's overall rigidity while slimming down as many components as possible. For example, the new car's body shell now consists of 80-percent high-strength steel compared to just 66-percent in the outgoing model, while ultra-high-strength steel use has gone from only 6-percent to 28-percent, reducing the amount of steel needed with resultant overall weight savings of 23 kilograms (51 lbs).

Volkswagen points to additional modifications that, while shedding less significant amounts of weight at first glance add up to substantial collective weight loss. The revised air conditioning unit, for instance, is now 2.7 kilos (6 lbs) lighter, while lightweight seats allow a 6.8-kg (15-lb) savings.

Making the new seventh-generation Golf's lighter curb weight more impressive is the fact that it's quite a bit larger overall. It now measures 4,254 mm (167.5 inches) from front to back, which is a gain of 56 mm (2.2 inches) over the current Golf, while the wheelbase stretches 58 mm (2.3 inches) beyond the outgoing car for a total of 2,636 mm (103.8 inches). The new Golf is 13 mm (0.5 inches) wider than the current car too, while a 20-mm (0.8-inch) drop in height should give it a slightly sportier profile.

Of course, more size equals more interior room, with the new Golf stretching 15 mm (0.6 inches) more from front to rear inside, all added to the rear where passengers get exactly 15 mm (0.6 inches) of additional knee room compared to the current car. It should be said that the Golf's overall growth isn't the only change that's increased usable space in the passenger compartment. The front wheels have been moved 43 mm (1.7 inches) further forward, aiding crashworthiness claims Volkswagen, while offering sportier proportions. VW points to a larger loading area too, while hatch access has improved.

While the Golf released in Germany yesterday is a European model, most of what we can see will make it across the Atlantic to dealer showrooms here in Canada, less the European signals and, of course, the Euro license plate cutout on the bumpers. There will likely be other small changes too, but a spokesman from Volkswagen Canada promises an interior at least as impressive as the current Golf, which borders on the premium class with soft-touch plastics throughout, nicely damped high-quality switchgear and cloth-wrapped pillars, just to name a few highlights.

Exterior highlights include frontal styling cues pulled from the current car, such as the brand's new trademark horizontal grille, while a return to some Mk V design treatments, particularly the shape of the D-pillar and sharply angled taillight lens as seen from profile, should be welcomed by fans of the popular model.

The German-spec car shown also reveals some upscale features even in base trim, including a 5-inch full-colour touch-screen display, while top-tier trim levels will get an 8-inch infotainment system.

Likely to make the cut for North America is Volkswagen's direct-injected and turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine capable of 140-horsepower and a claimed European Cycle combined fuel economy rating equaling 4.8 L/100km. Volkswagen offers European customers an even thriftier TDI Clean Diesel good for 105-horsepower and 3.8 L/100km combined, but we're likely to get a more potent diesel with the additional option of the brand's performance-oriented direct-injected and turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder gasoline upgrade. The current Golf's smooth and powerful 2.5-litre five-cylinder will likely be cancelled in order to further reduce the automaker's CAFE rating.

Still, at this point the seventh-generation Golf's North American engine lineup is unknown to anyone outside of the Wolfsburg automaker's inner circle, so all said is nothing more than educated speculation for the sake of satisfying curiosity. Additional information about the next-generation Golf in North American trim will arrive closer to the car's official launch.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Volkswagen, VW, 2013, Golf, Compact,

Organizations: Volkswagen

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