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5th September, 2012

“Six generations of the Golf – from 1974 to 2012. That’s 38 years of continual success, sales of 29.13 million units of a world best seller, an enormous economic factor, a guarantee of secure jobs and an enduring reflection of technical progress,” remarks Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Group Chairman, Volkswagen AG whilst revealing the new Volkswagen Golf in Berlin (Germany) last night (our time).

“With the seventh generation of the Golf,” continues Winterkorn, “we now aim to carry on this story of success. This Volkswagen’s great potential is demonstrated by the fact that with this car we have been able to reverse the upward spiral in weight: although the new Golf is safer, more comfortable and more spacious than its predecessor, it has been made up to 100 kg lighter and – in the case of the new 140 PS petrol engine model with cylinder cut-off and fuel consumption figures of 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres – 23 per cent more fuel-efficient.”

The design of the new Golf

In developing the new Golf the teams led by head designers Walter de Silva and Klaus Bischoff based their work on the one hand on a great deal of freedom that allows many different approaches for a new design, while on the other also on the principles of the Volkswagen design 'DNA'. A look at this DNA reveals the key to the new Golf’s design.

Development of the DNA

Over recent years, the Volkswagen designers have crystallised a selection of core elements from the brand’s history, which they term its ‘historic DNA’. All current Volkswagen designs correspond to this DNA, with the cars conveying a modern, progressive impression, which nevertheless – and this is the key – feels familiar. This DNA includes elements such as the first Golf’s roofline, side windows and radiator grille crossbeam in its reduced form and the Golf Mk4’s typical C-pillars and wheel arches.

This DNA provides a unique, unmistakable language of product features and design. The language of product features leaves a familiar feeling and, also, a new sensation in the eyes of the observer. The features are visual characteristics such as functionality, robustness, honesty and reliability. These characteristics are generated by a language of form perfected over many years. It makes-up the typical Volkswagen product design which enjoys success around the globe.

Premium proportions

“This language of form,” explains Bischoff, “is logical, solid, product-focussed, pure and precise and reflects the brand’s design DNA as a perfect model of creativity. The base architecture of the new Golf is therefore unmistakable. It comes over as simple, strong, understandable, reliable and safe. Starting from the pure element of this clear base architecture, details such as the economical use and placement of sculptural lines are more like fine nuances. Another extremely important point is the fact that with the seventh generation the Golf’s proportions have completely changed, making the car look more premium-class than ever before!”

Marc Lichte, leading designer for the exterior, explains: “The proportions have changed, as we have taken advantage here of the Modular Transverse Matrix. The front wheels, for example, have moved 43 millimetres further forward. The front overhang is therefore shorter and at the same time the bonnet looks longer.” Klaus Bischoff confirms this: “Visually, the passenger compartment has moved towards the rear, creating what is called a ‘car-backward’ impression. That’s what we call the proportions of premium-class vehicles, on which the bonnet is long and the passenger compartment a long way towards the back. On the new Golf we thus have proportions that you otherwise only get in higher-class segments of the market.”

Silhouette with powerful lines

Marc Lichte: “And we sought to underline these modified proportions with design elements. Below the door handles we have integrated the now clearly visible and very sharp character line. While this line is broken by the wheel arches, it is otherwise continuous and is stylistically reflected in the chrome bars of the radiator grille and headlights and at the back in the white lateral bars of the rear light clusters. Set deep down all the way around, this line lowers the apparent centre of gravity and makes the car appear more solid on the road. Another striking element is the new line along the side shoulder directly below the windows. This line begins at the front in the headlight, then glides under the wing mirror, which is positioned right on the line, all the way through to the rear side window, underling the premium proportions of the new Golf.” The wheel arches are particularly prominent as well and along with the wider track, the longer wheelbase and tyre dimensions of up to 18 inches make the Golf appear more powerful.

“Two further features,” explains Klaus Bischoff, “are characteristic of the new Golf silhouette. Two typical Golf elements: the C-pillar and the roofline. On the previous Golf the character line still cut through the C-pillar. This is no longer the case on the new Golf. The C-pillar thus runs along one homogenous surface from the start of the roof all the way to the rear wheel arch. Above the wheel arch, however, it picks up more strongly the entire width of the car – and as a result, seen from behind or diagonally from the rear, the new Golf looks more solid and more powerful. Viewed straight on from the side the precision of the C-pillar design catches the eye, resembling the drawn string of a bow and thus giving the Golf a speedy appearance even when static, while at the same time paying homage to the Golf Mk2 and Mk4 – both design icons.” On the right-hand side of the vehicle even the shape of the fuel cap is integrated into this arrow element. Head Designer Klaus Bischoff continues: “The contour of the roofline has also been completely redesigned. Here, too – above the side windows – the Golf now displays a further line, which runs from the roof-edge spoiler right through to the A-pillars. It is one of those character features that give the Golf a particularly high-value look from the side as well – a line that at first fleeting glance perhaps remains unnoticed, yet is a further detail en route to visual precision.”

The front section

The Volkswagen design DNA manifests itself in a ‘face’ that has appealing features. In addition, in the same way as on the first Golf, it defines horizontally balanced elements that provide a certain width. Together they make a front section that is recognisable in every rear view window as that of a Volkswagen. Each Volkswagen class has its own character attributes in this respect. In the Golf class these include, for example, the slightly upward sweeping headlights and a defined maximum height for the radiator grille.

Compared to its predecessor, the new VW Golf displays completely restructured modulation of its surfaces. While on the outgoing Golf Mk6 the front mudguards were higher than the bonnet – effectively framing it – this is now the other way round. On the sides the crease lines form the mudguards lowest points, before the latter transfer vertically into the wheel arches. The top border of the guards is formed by a line, as if cut by a knife, that begins at the A-pillars. All of the lines together form a V-shaped bonnet.

Beneath the bonnet then come the redesigned headlights and the comparatively narrow band of the radiator grille. At the bottom the radiator grille is bordered – to the left and right of the chrome Volkswagen badge – by a chrome bar, which where xenon headlights are fitted is continued in the headlight housing. Particularly striking is the xenon headlight’s LED daytime running light. Meanwhile the bottom air inlet, in conjunction with the body-coloured area beneath the headlights, supports the strong horizontal arrangement of the front section design. The air inlet is now framed by a body-coloured area that even with the car’s self-assured look gives it the typical Volkswagen appearance. Another core design element is the bend at the outer ends of the bumper, which produces – especially in aerial view – a change of shape.

The rear view

Typical VW Golf elements at the rear include the clear geometry of the rear lights, the rear window stretching all the way to the C-pillars and the large homogenous surface around the Volkswagen badge. Iconic: even without the badge or model name the seventh generation model is instantly recognisable as a Golf. And yet every line is new. That applies both to the rear light clusters (with striking L-shaped contours, narrower on the inside and ending at the C-pillar on the outside) and to the tailgate, which reaches much lower down, and the lowest boot sill height in its class (665mm). A horizontal light-refracting edge near the bottom of the tailgate, which continues on the bumper, and the boot sill running parallel below this underline the sportily full width of the new Golf. These elements also correspond to the lines of the now much more pronounced and optically ‘extended’ bumper. The bumper itself is fully painted right down to the bottom, with only the centrally integrated diffuser, which also incorporates the exhaust pipe, kept black.

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Standard features – more on board

Despite an unchanged base price in Germany the specification is now even more comprehensive - Multi-collision brake, touchscreen, XDS, air conditioning and ESC all as standard - Golf Highline with xenon headlights and Alcantara sports seats

Available at launch in three model lines across Europe, the Trendline (base model), Comfortline and Highline (top model), the new Golf has been enhanced in all areas compared to its predecessor. Nevertheless – and this fact is attributable among other factors to the synergies produced by the Modular Transverse Matrix – it has not become any more expensive to own a Golf. In Germany, for example, the new Golf 1.2 TSI Trendline delivering 63 kW/85 PS costs €16,975. The price is thus exactly the same as the now superseded entry-level model delivering 59 kW/80 PS (Golf 1.4 MPI). Compared to the Mk6 model with the corresponding engine – also a Golf 1.2 TSI delivering 63 kW/85 PS – this actually produces in real terms a price reduction for the new Golf of €455. If you include in the price comparison the new Golf’s additional standard equipment (features like the 5-inch touchscreen, multi-collision braking, the XDS and the Stop/Start system), the price advantage in favour of the new model works out much greater still!

Golf Trendline

Every seventh generation Golf sold around the world will, in general, be fitted with seven airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). In comparison to the previous model the added standard features on the Golf Trendline include items such as the touchscreen module with 5-inch TFT display, a fuel tank inlet with a guard to prevent putting in the wrong fuel (for the diesel versions), the (stow-away) luggage compartment cover, ECO-HMI (consumption-related graphics and information on the multifunction dashboard display), the multi-collision braking system, the electronic parking brake with Auto-Hold function, the XDS transverse differential lock, the Plus tyre pressure indicator, brake energy recovery mode, Stop/Start system and a variable floor in the boot.

Some of the other features also included as standard: daytime running lights, 195 tyres (15-inch), rear diffuser, green-tinted heat-shield windows, air conditioning, lockable glove compartment, chrome rings around the internal air vents, Easy Entry system (two-door versions), centre console with storage compartment, asymmetrically split, fold-down rear seatback, electrically adjustable wing mirrors, outside temperature indicator, electric windows, rear window wiper with intermittent setting, electromechanical power-steering, steering column with height and length adjustment, height-adjustable driver’s seat, dust and pollen filter, central locking with remote control, height adjustment and belt-tautening system for the seat belts in the front, disc brakes on all wheels and head restraints optimised for maximum safety.

Golf Comfortline

Compared to its predecessor the mid-range Comfortline is additionally equipped with the ParkPilot system front and back, a superior combined instrument cluster, drawers under the front seats, the new Composition Touch radio system including SD card interface and the fatigue detection system.

Some of the other features also included as standard, in addition to those on the Trendline: 16-inch alloy wheels, Comfort seats featuring the line’s own seat material and lumbar support in the front, rear bench seat with central armrest and opening for loading long items, chrome-look rotary light switches and wing mirror adjuster, storage nets on the front seat backs and a closable storage compartment in the roof, an additional 12 V socket in the boot, illuminated vanity mirror, ParkPilot front and back, fabric car mats and steering wheel and gear lever knob in leather.

Golf Highline

The additional features on the top version of the new Golf compared to the Highline version of the Golf Mk6 are the new ambient lighting and chrome edging around the Volkswagen logo in the radiator grille. In addition to the features on the Golf Comfortline the specification includes, among others, the following: bespoke 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights including cornering lights with chrome trim, dark red rear lights, sports seats in the front (with a central strip in Alcantara and fabric inner wings), chrome trim for the electric window switches, LED reading lights in the front and back, air conditioning, multifunction steering wheel, heated windscreen washer jets and front seats, plus xenon headlights including headlight washers.


Production of the new Volkswagen Golf will commence in October. A European release is anticipated in late November and early December. An Australian release of this seventh generation Volkswagen Golf is expected during the second quarter of 2013. Stay tuned to Next Car for further details.


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