Volk­swa­gen Golf & GTI up­dated

Volk­swa­gen’s F Golf range con­tin­ues to set the trend - we at­tended the re­cent launch.

Nam Wheels - - Front Page - Text Franco Theron Images Galimoto Me­dia & Volk­swa­gen South Africa

When think­ing about the Golf, my per­sonal rec­ol­lec­tion is the vivid mem­ory of my child­hood friend, whose fa­ther owned a Golf GTI Mk2.

It be­came a fam­ily mem­ber, a car that stayed in the fam­ily for 18 years. At the end, the car and fam­ily only sep­a­rated due to un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances.

In fact, un­til to­day it is likely that you’ll hear a sim­i­lar story from GTI (or Golf) own­ers.

Why is this the case and why do we stum­ble upon the Golf GTI brand so fre­quently? Why have 33 mil­lion Golfs found homes in the past 43 years (35 years in South Africa)?

Well, Volk­swa­gen South Africa in­vited us to see for our­selves.

We would get two days and 600km on the open roads from Port El­iz­a­beth to Graaf-reinet just to ex­pe­ri­ence the new Golf Mk7(facelift) range. Ex­pand­ing the range to a 1litre 81kw/200nm Com­fort­line and Trend­line (man­ual), VW also in­creased the qual­ity of the line-up. The 1-litre also fea­tures a six-speed gear­box and is good for 4.8L/ 100km.

Each car in the range will now be fit­ted with LED rear lights and an in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

The cus­tomer will also have the choice to fit an op­tional 9.2” touch­screen with ges­ture con­trol. All mod­els are fit­ted with Blue­mo­tion tech­nol­ogy, new bumper de­signs and LED day­time run­ning lights (which are op­tional, stan­dard on GTI).

GTI will also sport a ‘flow­ing’ in­di­ca­tor func­tion, sim­i­lar to many (sis­ter com­pany) Audi mod­els. The GTI also has two chrome tailpipes. The most sig­nif­i­cant changes have to be said, are the LED lights and the ra­di­a­tor de­sign. Driv­ing the GTI feels fast with the DSG gear­box chang­ing cogs with­out you even re­al­is­ing it.

Where the other mod­els in this range can reach the 100km/h mark some­where be­tween 9.1 and 9.9 se­conds, the GTI does so in 6.4. The speed will keep climb­ing and fi­nally reach the 248km/h (gov­erned) limit.

Switch­ing the car into a more com­fort­able driv­ing mode will in­tro­duce a whole dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere; the gear ra­tios ap­pear shorter, yet ef­fec­tive enough to give a com­bined fuel con­sump­tion of 6.4l/100km.

Even in “Sport” mode it has to be said that the sus­pen­sion is com­fort­able enough to take on bumpy roads and please any en­thu­si­as­tic driver.

The op­tional 19” wheels might pro­vide a harder ride than the stan­dard 18” (Mil­ton Keynes al­loy) wheels, but even this is no mat­ter for con­cern. In­side the GTI, its front bucket seats must surely be one of the most com­fort­able pairs in this mar­ket seg­ment. Legroom at the front and rear is ad­e­quate for peo­ple with a length of 1.8m; a re­mark­able feat for a hatch­back.

Ad­di­tional to the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on driv­ing, nav­i­ga­tion and driver as­sis­tance func­tions can also be dis­played on the graphic ar­eas of the speedome­ter. A good fea­ture to help the driver keep their eyes on the road.

The new Golf, as the ini­tia­tor of sev­eral tech­nolo­gies, will also be fit­ted with key­less en­try and start, ABS, ESC, ACC, Front as­sist with City Emer­gency Brak­ing, Blind spot mon­i­tor, rear traf­fic alert, park as­sist, driver alert sys­tem, re­vers­ing cam­era and trailer as­sis­tant. Ac­cord­ing to VW, this is only phase one of four to even­tu­ally in­tro­duce self-driv­ing cars and highly se­cure sys­tems.

What do I get with the GTI?

The numer­ous other stan­dard fea­tures on the GTI in­clude: sports sus­pen­sion, pro­gres­sive steer­ing, au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol called “cli­ma­tronic”, heated front seats, au­to­matic high-beam as­sis­tant, dy­namic cor­ner­ing lights, app con­nect and voice con­trol.

Why do we like this car so much?

Be­cause it’s red… Ac­tu­ally, it does not only come in red, but also a range of other colours such as white, grey and black.

To be more se­ri­ous, see­ing and driv­ing the new GTI for the first time just helped us to re­alise why it cov­ers about 55% of all Golf sales in South­ern Africa and why we at Namwheels are so fond of the per­for­mance car in the Golf sta­ble.

The de­sign of the GTI is a wolf in sheep's cloth­ing. Ar­riv­ing at a drag strip/cir­cuit would def­i­nitely worry your com­peti­tors. Yet, driv­ing your in-laws along the beach­front on a Sun­day would not give them any sus­pi­cion of your al­ter­na­tive ac­tiv­i­ties in your spare time... like the oc­ca­sional shenani­gans at your favourite traf­fic light.

Over­all, we have to ad­mit that the en­tire up­dated Golf range surprises us. Ex­pand­ing the range with a cost-ef­fec­tive 1.0 TSI show­cases ex­actly what Volk­swa­gen has in mind. By re­turn­ing to its foun­da­tions, VW fol­lows a strong pil­lar of cre­at­ing “the peo­ple's car”.

The Ger­man equiv­a­lent of that phrase is “Volk­swa­gen”.

This is ex­actly what they have done with the new Golf range. It brings the ve­hi­cle back to its roots, closer to the user. Rather than just be­ing a car, the Golf may just be­come an ad­di­tional fam­ily mem­ber. Hav­ing so much more in ev­ery car should then also in­crease the price?

No. In fact, Volk­swa­gen will bring out the Golf range with so much more, but also with a smaller en­try-level price. The ba­sic Golf will not be “naked” at all.

Prices range from about 300 to over N$500,000 and all cars in the up­dated range come with a five year / 90,000km ser­vice plan, three year / 120,000km war­ranty and a 12 year an­ti­cor­ro­sion war­ranty.

The new Golf R and GTD will be in­tro­duced in July 2017.

Golf VII Prices:

1.0 TSI 81kw Trend­line (M)

N$ 301,000

1.0 TSI 81kw Com­fort­line (M)

N$ 345,000

1.4 TSI Com­fort­line (DSG)

N$ 395,000

2.0 TSI GTI (DSG)

N$ 510,000

“Driv­ing the GTI feels fast with the DSG gear­box chang­ing cogs with­out you even re­al­is­ing it...”

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