True

Blue is the new green in Volk­swa­gen’s world, writes James Stan­ford from Ber­lin

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

GREENER Volk­swa­gens are fi­nally on the way with the in­tro­duc­tion of the BlueMo­tion sub-brand. For years VW said Aus­tralia was just too hot for its most ad­vanced ve­hi­cles, which is why stop-start technology — which kills the en­gine at idle and fires it up again when you’re ready to go — has not been avail­able in VWs here.

Now VW has con­firmed it will be­gin the fu­el­ef­fi­cient BlueMo­tion push in Aus­tralia next year with stop/start as the core technology.

It will start with a BlueMo­tion Golf that comes with a full suite of fuel-sav­ing mea­sures and then in­tro­duce stop-start technology on other cars, in­clud­ing the Touareg and Pas­sat in the fol­low­ing months us­ing the BlueMo­tion tag.

Value

THERE won’t be any word on BlueMo­tion pric­ing un­til a lot closer to the launch.

There will be a pre­mium for BlueMo­tion Golf over a stan­dard model, which costs just un­der

$30,000, but that is ex­pected given its re­mark­able econ­omy. It might cost a bit more, but it won’t be any­where near as ex­pen­sive as a Toy­ota Prius, which starts at $39,990.

Technology

THE BlueMo­tion Golf has a suite of fea­tures that al­lows it to record an emis­sions num­ber of 99g/km CO and a fuel econ­omy fig­ure of just 3.8 litres for 100km. Yes, 3.8, which is less than a Prius. Given its fuel tank is 55 litres, that means the BlueMo­tion model could go an in­cred­i­ble 1500km be­tween re­fills.

The spe­cial Golf does use diesel fuel though, un­like the Prius. Petrol burns cleaner than diesel, which ex­plains why the Prius is rated as emit­ting 10g/km less CO . Price: TBA En­gine: 1.6-litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel Power: 77kW at 4400revs Torque: 250Nm from 1500revs to 2500revs Trans­mis­sion: Five-speed man­ual, fron­twheel drive

The VW runs a 1.6-litre com­mon rail four­cylin­der turbo diesel that pro­duces 77kW at 4400revs and 250Nm of torque from 1500revs to 2500revs; the same fig­ures as the reg­u­lar en­gine. This pow­er­plant has slightly dif­fer­ent soft­ware which changes some char­ac­ter­is­tics.

While most new small cars, es­pe­cially pre­mium mod­els, have six-speed man­u­als, the BlueMo­tion makes do with a five-speed man­ual. There is no au­to­matic op­tion.

The stop/start sys­tem means that when you pull up to the lights and re­lease the clutch, the sys­tem kills the en­gine. It fires up again when it senses the pres­sure on the clutch pedal.

The green Golf also cap­tures some en­ergy when brak­ing, which it sends to the bat­tery to avoid us­ing too much fuel to charge the bat­tery, which works hard due to the fre­quent starts.

More fuel is saved with the use of spe­cial lowrolling re­sis­tance tyres.

The wheels are also tuned for aero­dy­nam­ics and the sus­pen­sion is tweaked.

Safety

LIKE all Golfs, the BlueMo­tion model comes loaded with safety gear. It has seven airbags — in­clud­ing front, side and cur­tain airbags — as well as a driver knee airbag.

There are also seat-belt pre-ten­sion­ers, belt force lim­iters, anti-whiplash head­rests for the front seats and three rear head­rests.

Styling

Driv­ing

CAN you pick this as an eco car from the pic­tures? Nei­ther could I.

Un­like a car like the Prius, or the up­com­ing In­sight, the Golf BlueMo­tion is not clearly iden­ti­fi­able as an eco-friendly ve­hi­cle. The only hints are a cou­ple of BlueMo­tion badges. Other than that it looks just like a reg­u­lar Golf. The BlueMo­tion doesn’t feel much dif­fer­ent to a reg­u­lar 1.6-litre diesel Golf. It doesn’t be­have like a sportscar and it can be a bit gut­less at times, like when you change it to sec­ond gear and wait for some­thing to hap­pen, but it is ad­e­quate for an eco car.

It’s un­likely the own­ers will be quot­ing the 11.3 sec­onds 0-100km/h sprint time.

Fuel con­sump­tion at higher speeds is bet­ter than it could be thanks to taller gear­ing for the higher gears, which means it pulls less revs at high­way speeds.

The stop-start sys­tem is fine once you get used to it. It is re­mark­ably quick to restart the en­gine and must sense the in­stant the clutch starts to be de­pressed.

This is im­por­tant be­cause you don’t want to be sit­ting at the lights wait­ing for it to start while irate road-users stuck be­hind vent their anger.

The bootspace is not re­duced by a bat­tery pack as is the case with hy­brids and it doesn’t weigh any more.

There is a rea­son­able amount of space in the back seats and there is am­ple head­room.

Ver­dict

We will have to test the BlueMo­tion Golf on Aus­tralian roads and in our cli­mate, but it does ap­pear to be a very sen­si­ble way to re­duce your con­sump­tion.

The BlueMo­tion Golf isn’t all that ex­cit­ing to drive, but the per­for­mance is ac­cept­able and it is very prac­ti­cal.

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