This is the new Volkswagen Golf, but will you be able to buy one here?
VW’s perennial hatch maintains roughly the same look, outside at least, but may only come to the U.S. in GTI and R form
With more than 35 million sold, the Golf is Volkswagen’s best-ever seller. So when it’s time for a new one, the company doesn’t mess around. Thus the new, eighth-gen Golf, launched today, is a car VW AG calls the most progressive Golf ever, adding that it’s “digitalized, networked, predictive, intuitively operated and innovatively electrified.” At the moment only the GTI and Golf R are confirmed for the U.S., but VW says the regular Golf hatchback is still under consideration for our market. The car goes on sale in Europe at the end of the year, and VW says it is going to “revolutionize the compact-vehicle category.”
In spite of all the hyperbole, the new Golf looks quite a bit like the old one. The grille is a bit narrower, as are the headlamps, and the body surface is cleaner. VW calls it a “clear-cut, accurate design.”
The big news is inside. Knobs and buttons are few and far between, with the digital sweeping dash housing electronic dials in a 10.25-inch display, and infotainment and heat/vent controls in an 8.25-inch touchscreen. VW says the Golf is the first car in its price range with a high-end digital cockpit, including voice control.
U.S. engine specs haven’t been released yet, though we do know all Golfs ride on the latest MQB platform. We hear the GTI’s 2.0-liter turbo-four will make 232 hp, and the Golf R’s turbo-four should crank out a mighty 320-plus hp. The GTI has a six-speed manual, with a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic as a no-cost option, while the R gets just the DSG.
Other powertrain choices include gas, diesel, natural gas, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrids, ranging in size from a 1.0-liter, 89-hp three-cylinder up to a 2.0-liter diesel. We won’t know exactly what models we’re getting until sometime next year, according to VW.
Up to 130 mph, the new Golf can operate in semiautonomous mode, though if you let go of the wheel for more than 15 seconds the car audibly warns you. VW says the new Golf is also the first Volkswagen with car-to-car communications, making it able to exchange relevant traffic information with other vehicles and the traffic infrastructure in the vicinity within a radius of roughly a half-mile.
We’ll have more details on the new A8-generation VW Golf as we get them, as well as a first drive as soon as we can get behind the wheel.