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
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.