Despite offering more room for passengers and more advanced technological features than ever before, new production techniques contribute to the Volkswagen Golf Mk VII being up to 100 kg lighter than the car it replaces, helping to make it up to 23 per cent more efficient than before. On top of this, the new Golf is also safer than ever, thanks not just to a stronger body structure (which is also 23 kg lighter) but also to a raft of standard and optional passive and active safety systems.
The new Volkswagen Golf is built on the so-called MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix. This standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes, and allows access to new powertrains and technologies, including innovations in the areas of safety and infotainment, which until now were reserved for vehicles in higher segments.
At 4,255 mm long, the new Volkswagen Golf is 56 mm longer than its predecessor, with a 59 mm longer wheelbase of 2,637 mm. The front wheels are 43 mm further forward, helping to generate more interior space, while the Golf is also 13 mm wider, at 1,799 mm, and 28 mm lower, at 1,452 mm. This helps to create a 10 per cent improvement in the drag co-efficient, which is now 0.27 Cd.
The new VW Golf also features a number of innovative standard safety systems, while optional systems include many previously only available on vehicles in a class above. Standard on all new Golf models is a multi-collision brake system. This automatically brakes the vehicle after a collision, to reduce kinetic energy significantly and thus minimise the chance of a second impact. Research in Germany shows that around a quarter of accidents involving personal injury are multi-collision events. Also standard is the PreCrash system that made its debut on the Touareg. If it detects the possibility of an accident, it pre-tensions seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof, leaving just a small gap, to ensure the best possible protection from the airbags.
For the first time, the Volkswagen Golf is also available with driver profile selection, which allows the driver to choose from four modes – Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual; with a DSG gearbox a fifth option – Comfort – is also offered. Each of these modes alters the throttle mapping and engine management (among other parameters) to the chosen style, so in Eco mode, for example, the engine management, air conditioning and ancillary systems are controlled to achieve maximum fuel consumption.
Powering the VW Golf VII is a new range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which incorporate Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, the petrol engines are a 1.2-litre TSI 85 PS unit returning 4.9 l/100 km (around 57.6 mpg and 113 g/km), and a 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the cylinders, and achieves up to 4.8 l/100 km (58.9 mpg and 112 g/km). The launch diesel engines are a 1.6-litre unit with 105 PS, which returns 3.8 l/100 km (74.3 mpg and 99 g/km), and a 2.0-litre 150 PS unit which returns 4.1 l/100 km (68.9 mpg and 106 g/km).