The seventh generation Volkswagen Golf has been unveiled in Berlin, 36 years after the original model made its debut.
At 4,255 mm long, the new Golf is 56 mm longer than its predecessor, with a 59 mm longer wheelbase of 2,637 mm. The front wheels are 43 mm further forward, helping to generate more interior space, while the Golf is also 13 mm wider, at 1,799 mm, and 28 mm lower, at 1,452 mm. This helps to create a 10 per cent improvement in the drag co-efficient, which is now 0.27 Cd.
Rear legroom is improved by 15 mm, and the front seats have been moved 20 mm further back, benefitting taller drivers. Front shoulder room is improved by 31 mm to 1,420 mm (at the rear it is 30 mm wider) and elbow room by 22 mm to 1,469 mm (20 mm wider at the rear). There is more room for luggage, too: the boot is 30 litres larger, at 380 litres, with a low 685 mm sill to make loading effortless. The front passenger seat can also optionally fold fully forward, creating a loadspace which is up to 2,412 mm long.
All Golf models now have touchscreen systems as standard, starting in the UK with a 5.8-inch colour display system, and rising to the range-topping satellite navigation system with eight-inch colour display. Features include DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs (including USB), Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information.
Between the front seats, space is increased by virtue of the new electronic parking brake with auto-hold feature.
Standard on all new Golf models is a multi-collision brake system. This automatically brakes the vehicle after a collision, to reduce kinetic energy significantly and thus minimise the chance of a second impact. Also standard is the PreCrash system that made its debut on the Touareg. If it detects the possibility of an accident, it pre-tensions seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof, leaving just a small gap, to ensure the best possible protection from the airbags.
Other electronic aids include Adaptive Cruise Control (standard in the UK from SE models upwards), City Emergency Brakingand Park Assist.
For the first time, the Golf is also available with driver profile selection, which allows the driver to choose from four modes – Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual; with a DSG gearbox a fifth option – Comfort – is also offered.
Powering the Golf is a new range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which incorporate Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, the petrol engines are a 1.2-litre TSI 85 PS unit returning 4.9 l/100 km (around 57.6 mpg and 113 g/km), and a 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the cylinders, and achieves up to 4.8 l/100 km (58.9 mpg and 112 g/km). The launch diesel engines are a 1.6-litre unit with 105 PS, which returns 3.8 l/100 km (74.3 mpg and 99 g/km), and a 2.0-litre 150 PS unit which returns 4.1 l/100 km (68.9 mpg and 106 g/km).
Further details on the new Golf will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show. The car will go on sale from October, with the first UK deliveries expected in January 2013.