8th generation Golf takes bold step into digital and hybrid future
The arrival of a new generation Golf is always big news. And the 2020 Golf is no mere design refresh. The eighth generation of the family hatchback that over 45 years has set the benchmark in its sector takes a giant leap into a digital, hybrid and connected world. Yet it still looks like a Golf – and that’s a reassuring thought.
The new Golf features a slim grille, full-width air intakes and slender LED headlights, though Volkswagen IQ.LIGHT is an option. This uses 22 separate LEDs to spread a carpet of light ahead of you while considerately masking off oncoming traffic from dazzle. The bonnet is slightly more curvaceous than before and defined by sharp crease lines leading down to the grille. From the side, the signature thick C-pillar and profile are pure Golf with a subtle use of sculpting on the door panels to convey an aura of quality.
The 2020 Golf will be offered with four petrol engines and two diesels; two 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol units develop 90 and 110hp, while two four-cylinder 1.5 petrol engines offer 130 or 150hp. Diesels are based on the 2.0-litre four with either 115hp or 150hp.
There will also be five hybrid models. Three eTSI units (with 110, 130 and 150hp respectively) feature 48V technology and a belt starter/generator that allows the Golf to coast and engage its auto-stop earlier to help save fuel. Two plug-in hybrids, including the performance Golf GTE, will allow EV-only motoring for around 37 miles, making it Congestion Zone exempt.
The new Golf interior will be virtually a button-free zone. The 10-inch driver information display can be configured to show navigation or digital dials, while melding seamlessly into is a large 10-inch infotainment screen with touch buttons and touch sliders. You’ll be able to update and even upgrade your Golf over the air without needing to visit a garage – for instance, if you didn’t choose the option of adaptive cruise control but wish you had, you’ll be able to do so later. The model line-up will include S, SE, SEL and R-Line and a GTI version will soon follow.
Volkswagen expects the new Golf to be a standard setter in safety technology. It is the first in its sector to offer Car2X ‘swarm intelligence’; built-in 5G technology communicates with other similarly equipped vehicles to warn of jams and accidents in the area, and if necessary, slows the car in anticipation. In the event of a significant impact, the sensors will first check to see if you can respond and if not, will automatically alert emergency services.
Verdict: The Golf has always been a standard setter and this all-new model shows the fruits of Volkswagen’s massive investment in digital, hybrid and safety technologies. The eight generation is more efficient than ever before, safer, more intuitive to drive and more connected. In the words of Volkswagen’s COO Ralf Brandstätter, “The Golf has consistently made new technologies available for everyone.”