Great round of Golf

Volk­swa­gen reck­ons it has taken a good car and made it even bet­ter with the birth of the sixth gen­er­a­tion, writes KEVIN HEP­WORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IT IS akin to the au­to­mo­tive Holy Grail — the search for more power, greater ef­fi­ciency and less cost. In a man­ner of speak­ing Volk­swa­gen has, if not laid hands on, at least sighted the elu­sive tar­get with its sixth gen­er­a­tion of the Golf.

The lit­tle car that just keeps on keep­ing on with more than 26 mil­lion sales world­wide in a 35-year pro­duc­tion run has come to mar­ket again, this time with a pair of petrol en­gines that of­fer power in­creases of up to 23 per cent and ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments as high as 24 per cent along­side a fuel-sip­ping diesel with the lat­est com­mon rail tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘More pow­er­ful en­gines that are more fu­el­ef­fi­cient, safety that is go­ing to be the bench­mark in the class for some time — and all of that for all buy­ers, from the en­try car to the top model,’’ VW Aus­tralia boss Jutta Dierks says. ‘‘We took a very good Golf and made it bet­ter.’’

For the first time the Golf range in Aus­tralia will not have a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine but rather three small, su­per-ef­fi­cient units with ei­ther turbo-in­duc­tion or VW’s bril­liant ‘‘twin charger’’ tech­nol­ogy that mar­ries tur­bocharg­ing and su­per­charg­ing.

The three en­gines are cou­pled to ei­ther sixspeed man­ual gear­boxes or the op­tional DSG dou­ble-clutch au­to­mat­ics at an ex­tra $2500.

It is no ac­ci­dent that badg­ing on the new Golf does not re­flect the en­gine size be­cause the prospect of boast­ing about a pair of 1.4-litre petrol units was not that ap­petis­ing.

‘‘If you are talk­ing about putting num­bers on badg­ing then 1.4 is not re­ally that im­pres­sive— and it doesn’t rep­re­sent what the new en­gines of­fer,’’ Dierks says.

In­stead the badg­ing now re­flects the power out­put of the en­gines and though Dierks con­cedes that use of TSI for the turbo and twin-charger mod­els could be con­fus­ing, at least ini­tially, ‘‘it is a global de­ci­sion’’.

TSI had pre­vi­ously been the des­ig­na­tion for twin-charger mod­els alone.

The en­try-level 90TSI is a 1.4-litre tur­bocharged petrol model start­ing at $25,990 for the six-speed man­ual. But if you don’t want it in white — the only non-metal­lic colour avail­able — then add $700.

The 90kW en­gine re­places the nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 1.6-litre from the Golf V, lift­ing power 15kW and carv­ing 2.1 litres ev­ery 100km from fuel use.

For the 118TSI the im­prove­ments are as dra­matic. Con­sump­tion is im­proved from 8.6 litres/100km in the pre­vi­ous 110kW 2.0-litre au­to­matic to 6.5 litres/100km for the seven-speed DSG cou­pled to the new 1.4-litre.

For the first time VW will use com­mon rail tech­nol­ogy for its 2.0-litre tur­bocharged diesel in the 103TDI. Ac­cord­ing to VW the shift to com­mon rail — in line with most of the diesel world — was driven by the third-gen­er­a­tion tech­nol­ogy that al­lows for much higher pres­sure fuel de­liv­ery through the use of piezo­elec­tric in­jec­tors, with a con­se­quent re­duc­tion in com­pres­sion ig­ni­tion noise.

Power and torque are on a par with the pre­vi­ous unit in­jec­tor (Pumpe Duse) sys­tem at 103kW and 320Nm but fuel ef­fi­ciency has been cut from 6.1 to 5.6 litres/100km.

Apart from the en­gines and gear­boxes the main changes from the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion have been in sub­tle body shap­ing, small tweaks of the spring and dam­per rates and an up­grad­ing of sur­faces in the cabin.

De­sign team mem­ber Frank Bruese ex- plained at the Aus­tralian launch: ‘‘This is a ‘class free’ car . . . it is avail­able to any­one, so much so that the small-car cat­e­gory in Europe is known as the Golf Class. Golf is about her­itage and his­tory and each gen­er­a­tion must be eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able as a Golf — it must have the Golf DNA of a strong hor­i­zon­tal face, dis­tinct wheel arches and a strong C-pil­lar.’’

He said that though de­sign changes were sub­tle rather than dra­matic, as a unit they worked to make the eye see a car that sat lower and looked more ag­gres­sive and sporty de­spite it hav­ing the same ma­jor di­men­sions as the out­go­ing model.

‘‘It is like an Ar­mani suit,’’ Bruese said. ‘‘It doesn’t scream look at me, but the closer you look the more you see of the qual­ity of the ma­te­rial . . . the class of the cut.’’

More of the same: the VW Golf has sales of more than 26 mil­lion cars world­wide.

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