Is there a Golf in your future?
If the answer is yes, you may want to move up the date! Autodealer spent some quality time with the bold and broody new Golf GTI on a test drive to Cape Town. We found it quite exhilarating and the fuel consumption a trifle better than the official figure.
The updated Volkswagen Golf was launched in South Africa with a revised engine lineup, more technology, new infotainment, improved connectivity and revised styling. We recently used the GTI for a journey to Cape Town and back where we could examine the manufacturer’s confident claims of a car that sets benchmarks in comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency.
The overall popularity of Golf tells most of the story - it has been emerging from Volkswagen factories around the globe for 43 years and one is said to be completed every 40 seconds. In South Africa, the statistics are also interesting - global sales are well over 33-million in over four decades and here 350 750 have been sold.
The updated version of the seventh generation Golf brings “big car technology” to the compact family car. Volkswagen regards it as part of its founding spirit of democratising quality and value across the range.
We know we can’t tell Golf enthusiasts anything new about the intricacies of Golf’s seventh generation, so we won’t go into the details of what the range offers. But it was a pleasure to drive a compact car with the wideawake response this GTI model has under the bonnet.
Design modifications include new bumpers front and rear; new halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights or full LED headlights - standard on GTI and optional in other derivatives - instead of xenon headlights; new front wings; and new full LED rear lights as standard for all Golf versions.
New wheel designs and body colours complete the exterior update, while fresh trim panels and materials also upgrade the interior of the Golf.
The updated Golf has a lot of understated appeal thanks to subtle details such as redesigned bumpers and new headlights, new tail lights and new wheels.
At the front, the radiator grille and headlights have been developed to take the style of its predecessor to a new level. On the GTI, the lower chrome strip of the radiator grille is continued to the left and right as a red and chrome element that extends through the LED daytime running lights and into the full-LED headlights.
The rear has also been redesigned to be more assertive with full-LED tail lights. The Golf’s new tail lights now don’t use any conventional light bulbs and the GTI’s full-LED tail lights have animated indicator functions. Also, the Golf GTI has individual chrome tail pipes on the left and right.
The 2,0 GTI develops 169kW, petrol engines are turbocharged units with direct fuel injection (TSI), which means the new GTI has similar power output as the outgoing GTI Performance. The 0 to 100km/h classic sprint is achieved in 6,4 seconds and top speed is limited to 248km. With DSG transmission, GTI has a claimed combined fuel consumption of 6,4 litres per 100km, which we managed to reduce to
6,3 litres on the open road using the adaptive cruise control and planned overtaking between George and Cape Town.
The Golf sets a new benchmark for assistance systems in its class, employing technology that will do a lot to improve safety. These include a blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert as well as adaptive cruise control with front assist and an autonomous emergency braking system.
In combination with the display of the radio
or navigation system, the information display creates a virtual, flexible human-machine interface (HMI) which makes it possible to communicate through hand movement.
In fact, the car offers so much that one is tempted to purchase it just to have the fun of exploring it in full. Concentrating on a longer distance, there was no incentive to unpack all the toys. Curiosity killed the cat, as they say, so it was better to concentrate on the immediate controls.
All of the instruments are displayed virtually via software on the colour screen. There are five different information profiles, in which the kind of information and graphics displayed changes in certain areas. The digital display is clear with all the information one needs right there. Some of the screen information is displayed in two smaller side screens, so the driver does not have to look towards the middle of the console.
The driver can select from “Classic”, “Consumption & Range”, “Efficiency”, “Performance & Driver Assistance” or “Navigation”.
Data such as telephone contact images and CD covers are displayed and in the Golf GTI, red is used as a contrasting colour.
Drivers can assign the functions they wish to these two smaller display panels. For instance, the radio or media library can be positioned on the top panel and phone favourites on the bottom panel.
The range of equipment offered also includes an amplifier with 4 x 20W of output power, a DVD drive, one USB port (Apple CarPlay compatible), two SD card slots, an AUX-IN port, an SSD drive with 10GB of storage and a full range of music playback capabilities.
Standard features on GTI include: a sport suspension, exhaust chrome twin tailpipes, ambient lighting with light strips in red, progressive steering and 18” alloy wheels, automatic air-conditioner, heated front seats, auto high-beam, LED headlights and dynamic cornering lights. It also comes with an 8” media system with touchscreen, Bluetooth Connectivity and eight speakers, App Connect and voice control.
The new Golf model range can be customised with optional features including a panoramic sunroof, Active Info Display, Rear Assist with rear view camera, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with front assist autonomous emergency braking system, park distance control at front and rear, park assist, keyless entry and start and adaptive chassis control, including driver selection.
The price including VAT and emissions tax for the 2,0 TSI GTI DSG is R545 900. The entire Golf model range comes standard with a five year or 90 000km service plan, three year or 120 000km warranty and a 12 year anticorrosion warranty. Service intervals are at every 15 000km.
The proof of the pudding is whether one enjoys it or not. I enjoyed driving the Golf GTI a lot. “In a Golf you pay for a lot of things you don’t see,” a colleague of mine is fond of saying when I let my inner cheapskate emerge in discussion. This car made me realise I should listen more intently in future. Plus, the red detail in the display gives the car just that sporty edge.
The Golf GTI was made available for the test drive courtesy of Mossel Bay Volkswagen: 044 691 1302.