Golf Mk V

First launched over 30 years ago, the Volkswagen Golf needs little introduction.  It is one of the world’s best-selling vehic les, with sa les of over 25 million now placing it well ahead of the original Beetle in terms of volume. 

The latest generation, which went on sale in the UK on 30 January 2004, is the fifth incarnation of the Golf.  Although it is an all-new vehicle, it builds upon the Golf’s traditional strengths of high quality, safety and technology, with, for example, new multi-link suspension, improved interior space and an advanced range of FSI, TSI and TDI engines. 

Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2003, it has been widely acclaimed as a class-leading vehicle, and claimed a number of awards.  Shortly after launch it took awards from Top Gear and Auto Express magazines, and was named What Car? Car of the Year 2004.  In 2007, the Golf once again reclaimed the title of Best Small Family Car in the What Car? awards.

The Golf continues to be Volkswagen UK ’s best-selling model, with 61,673 Mk V models sold in 2006 out of a total of 189,959 cars. 

SUMMARY

  • Major international debut at Frankfurt Motor Show 9 September 2003; launched in Germany in October and in the UK January 2004
  • Fifth generation of best-selling Volkswagen model to date (over 25 million sold worldwide)
  • Key dimensions increased compared with Golf Mk IV: overall length by 55 mm to 4,204 mm; width by 24 mm to 1,759 mm; height by 40 mm to 1,479 mm; wheelbase by 67 mm to 2,578 mm
  • Completely revised suspension, steering and damping to improve ride and handling qualities
  • All-new four-link independent rear suspension
  • Electro-mechanical power steering with speed-dependent assistance on all models
  • Class-leading body rigidity for improved safety, dynamics and refinement
  • Total model range engine line-up includes six petrol and four diesel units: 1.4-litre 80 PS; 1.4-litre TSI 122, 140 and 170 PS; 2.0-litre turbocharged T-FSI 200 PS (GTI only); and 3.2-litre V6 250 PS (R32 only); plus 2.0-litre SDI 75 PS; 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS; 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS or 170 PS with DPF (diesel particulate filter)
  • FSI features a sophisticated direct injection petrol system; TDI range uses proven ‘Pumpe Düse’ or unit injector technology
  • Introduced in June 2006, TSI combines a turbocharger and a supercharger to produce high performance from a small capacity engine with low fuel consumption and emissions. A 1.4-litre unit is currently available, producing 140 or 170 PS. Introduced in October 2007 is a 1.4-litre TSI with 122 PS which has a turbocharger only
  • Transmissions include five and six-speed manuals, a six-speed Tiptronic automatic and Volkswagen’s revolutionary DSG double-clutch system
  • Comprehensive standard safety features include latest generation ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) with BAS (Brake Assist System) and ABS; three-point safety belts for all occupants; active front head restraints; front airbags plus full length curtain airbags, and front seat side airbags
  • Chief competitors: Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Renault Mégane, Peugeot 307
  • Offered in three trim levels: S, Match and GT Sport
  • GTI with 2.0-litre T-FSI 200 PS launched in January 2005
  • R32 with 3.2-litre V6 250 PS and 4MOTION four-wheel drive launched in November 2005

Market information

The Golf competes in the lower medium class, a direct rival to cars such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.  In the UK , this class accounts for around one in every three cars purchased.  Volkswagen UK sold 61,673 Golfs in 2006.

Diesel accounts for 55 per cent of Golf sa les, with the most popular engine being the 1.9-litre TDI which takes around 28 per cent of the total.  The best-selling petrol engine is likely to be the new 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS.  Over a third of customers opt for the mid-level Match trim. 

Around two-thirds of all Golfs sold in the UK have five doors. 

Production

The Golf is produced at Volkswagen’s plants in Wolfsburg, Mosel, Brussels and Bratislava.  The majority of UK cars are made in Brussels.

State of the art production systems and assembly technologies are being employed, for example laser welding employing 140 special robots.  The Golf has laser-welded seams with a total length of 70 metres, compared with five metres in its predecessor, one factor in helping the Golf reach a new benchmark position with body rigidity.

Environment

Ecological considerations and the responsible handling of natural resources are central to the Volkswagen corporate philosophy.  Long before the European Used Car Directive and the resulting national legislation came into force, Volkswagen had set itself a number of environmental objectives, including the reduction of CO2 emissions and effective recycling methods.

Volkswagen set a target for the new Golf that 95 per cent of its weight should be recyclable by 2015, and this has had its effect on the choice of environmentally compatible materials and technologies employed during production.  For example, the use of PVC sealant has been significantly reduced thanks to the increased use of under-body sealing panels.

As well as optimising its vehicle construction technology, Volkswagen is also leading the way in the development of new methods for the preparation and recycling of plastics, and is also developing ever-more stringent processes for the efficient handling of resources such as water, energy and materials.

DESIGN

The Mk V Golf is larger all round than its predecessor – 24 mm wider, 46 mm taller and 55 mm longer – and these greater external dimensions translate directly into improved passenger space and comfort, with greater cabin length and hence improved legroom (up by 52 mm), more headroom (improved by 24 mm at the rear) and an extra 20 litres of luggage space.

Comparison of Golfs Mk IV, V and Touran:

  Golf Mk V Golf Mk IV Difference Touran
length, mm 4204 4149 +55 4407
width, w/out door mirrors, mm 1759 1735 +24 1794
height, mm 1479 1439 +40 1635
wheelbase, mm 2578 2511 +67 2675
maximum luggage capacity        
w/out rear seat folded, litres 350 330 +20 695
with rear seat folded, litres 1305 1184 +121 1989

 

One of the chief targets for the designers was a substantial improvement in body rigidity and, thanks to the extensive use of advanced construction techniques such as laser seam welding, this has been achieved: static torsional rigidity has been improved by 80 per cent to establish the Golf as the class leader. 

Improved safety and handling dynamics are among the benefits.  Acoustic levels are also greatly enhanced thanks to this new body rigidity.  Coupled with reductions in the levels of noise entering the cabin from the engine and gearbox, this has improved the Golf’s overall refinement to class-leading levels.

Attention to detail is evident throughout the car, with many neat styling touches and design ideas passed on to the Golf from Volkswagen’s luxury class models.  Among the most pleasing is the boot lid release mechanism, which is incorporated into the Volkswagen badge.

The ‘module’ doors are an innovation, aimed at drastically reducing repair costs.  No longer must the entire door be replaced in the event that it is damaged in an accident, instead the outer skin panel can easily be detached for repair.  This is achieved by the use of load-bearing ‘hybrid bars’ which serve as the door inner panel.  The outer skin panel is bonded to these bars.

Aerodynamics

The Golf has an aerodynamically efficient body shape with a 0.32 drag coefficient, achieved with help from the very tight body shut lines, flush-fitting windows and headlights, cleverly-designed door mirrors and efficient under-body panels.

These balanced aerodynamic properties not only lead to improved performance and fuel consumption but also to better handling dynamics, safety and stability at speed and in cross winds.

The interior: seats

The Golf’s seats are designed to provide maximum comfort and a great range of adjustment.  For example, the standard seat-height adjustment feature on the driver’s seat is accompanied by automatic tilt adjustment.  The seat base is therefore angled appropriately for smaller or larger drivers.

The Golf was also the first car in its segment to be offered with the option of an electric four-way lumbar support.

The rear seat backrests are easily and effectively folded and locked into place; to ensure this is done safely and correctly, an indicator on the outside of each backrest shows when it is fully locked.  The head restraints do not need to be removed in order to fold the backrests flat.

Stowage space

There are plenty of useful stowage areas within the Golf’s cabin.  In addition to the glovebox there is a driver’s side cubby which can accommodate a drinks can and generous door bins which can accept not only a one litre drink bottle but also a standard road atlas.

Depending on specification, there is a further large storage area between the front seats complete with two cup holders.  The overhead console, which houses the front interior lights and their controls, also has a sunglasses compartment (from Match upwards).

In the rear seating compartment there are useful storage pockets for smaller items and also a fold-away bottle/cup holder.

An optional storage drawer under the front passenger’s seat is optional on Match and GT Sport models.

Showing attention to detail, almost every cubby hole in the Golf has a purpose.  One example – depending on specification – is the bottle opener, which fits into the small gap between the cup holders in the space next to the handbrake lever. 

Climate control

The Golf is available with two climate control systems: semi-automatic (Climatic) air conditioning on S, Match and GT Sport models; and fully automatic 2Zone electronic climate control (Climatronic) air conditioning on the range-topping GTI and R32 (available as an upgrade on Match and GT Sport).

The sophisticated heating and ventilation systems are much improved over those on the previous Golf, with increased airflow into the front and rear passenger compartments, a pollen filter which operates in both fresh-air and recirculating-air modes and a coolable glovebox.

The Climatic air conditioning system replaces the manual system of the previous model.  It maintains the desired cabin temperature automatically whatever the temperature outside.

The fully automatic Climatronic air conditioning system is a two-zone device, with driver and front-seat passenger able to adjust their own climates individually and independently.

Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of half a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The Climatronic’s intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing and when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Windscreen wipers

Pioneered in the Touran, ‘intelligent’ windscreen wiper control is a feature of the Golf.  In addition to the classic operating modes – wiping speeds 1 and 2, intermittent operation, rain sensor operation (optional on S), flick wiping and washing – the wiper system is also able to perform the following functions:

  • Service position: When the car is stationary, the wipers move into the service position when the flick wipe function is activated.
  • Alternating park position: The wiper system has a so-called alternating park position.  Every second time the wiper system is turned off, the wiper moves upwards a little.  This operation repositions the wiper rubber on the windscreen, thereby increasing its life.
  • Intermittent speeds: The driver uses the steering column switch to select between four intermittent speeds, which are also dependant on the vehicle road speed.  These four speeds can also be used to adjust the response of the rain sensor.
  • Bonnet stop: When the bonnet is opened, the wiper stops for a moment to prevent the bonnet and the wiper itself from being damaged.
  • Malfunction stop: The system recognises whenever the wipers are blocked and responds appropriately to the situation.
  • Wash function 1: When the wash/wipe function is actuated, the wiper is only activated after a pre-wash period (at vehicle road speeds from 70 mph).
  • Wash function 2: Three post-wash cycles are automatically performed after the windscreen washer system is activated.  A further post-wash cycle is performed five seconds after the last wash/wipe cycle.

Quality

Volkswagen enjoys a hard won reputation for quality and knows that it must make an even greater commitment in design, materials, development, quality control and many other areas if it is to retain its lead. 

By designing the Golf to make use of some major and minor components including nuts, bolts, washers and fixings used in other Group products, Volkswagen is able to purchase high quality components and materials in bulk.  By saving costs in these areas, Volkswagen has more resource to spend on quality items specific to the Golf such as the body shell and trim components.

ENGINES

The standard Golf (excluding GTI and R32 models) is offered with a choice of four petrol and four diesel engines: 1.4-litre 80 PS; 1.4-litre TSI with 122, 140 or 170 PS; plus 2.0-litre SDI 75 PS; 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS; and 2.0-litre TDI with 140 PS or 170 PS, the latter featuring DPF (diesel particulate filter). 

The technically advanced designs of the TSI and TDI powerplants result in class-leading efficiency and therefore lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  This is not only better for the environment, but also for the wallet – company car drivers in particular can reduce significantly their annual tax bill by opting for a car in a low-emission band. 

Petrol engines

1.4-litre, 1390 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 80 PS

The entry-level engine of the new Golf range is Volkswagen’s proven 16-valve 1.4-litre unit which produces 80 PS.  Maximum torque of 97 lbs ft (132 Nm) is produced at 3,800 rpm.  This engine is fitted as standard with a five-speed manual gearbox.

TSI technology

In June 2006, Volkswagen launched the latest in a line of pioneering inventions with the introduction of TSI petrol technology.  Previous engines have used FSI technology, whereby petrol is injection directly into the combustion chamber to improve efficiency and hence reduce fuel consumption and emissions.  Taking this further, TSI uses – for the first time ever – an FSI engine which is then dual-charged through a combination of an engine driven supercharger and an exhaust gas turbocharger arranged in series.  A new 122 PS TSI unit, introduced in October 2007, uses simply a sophisticated turbocharger. 

The driving characteristics of TSI engines are improved over those of a conventional FSI unit.  The belt-driven supercharger operates at the lower engine speeds, with the turbocharger coming in as engine speed increases.  The result of this is excellent driveability and performance throughout the range with no turbo lag and high maximum torque.

Key to the TSI’s success is that direct injection allows an abnormally high compression ratio of 10:1 to be used in conjunction with high maximum boost pressure of up to 2.5 bar absolute.  This enables the relatively small engine to use very high gearing to provide exceptional fuel efficiency for a petrol engine, particularly at motorway cruising speeds.  As an additional bonus, the TSI engine provides driver enjoyment, producing high power and torque across a rev range from 1,000 to 6,500 rpm.

The TSI engines have a capacity of 1.4-litres (1,390 cc) and produce either 122, 140 or 170 PS.  The 170 PS version has the same peak power as a conventional 2.3-litre petrol unit but with 20 per cent lower fuel consumption, returning over 38 mpg on the combined cycle. 

TSI technology has received international acclaim, having been named Best New Engine of 2006 in the International Engine of the Year Awards as well as winning its category in the same awards in 2007. 

1.4-litre 1,390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 122 PS

This unit has replaced the Golf’s popular 1.6-litre FSI 115 PS unit.  Power is up to 122 PS while torque is also increased substantially by nearly 30 per cent from 155 Nm (114 lbs ft) at 4,000 rpm to 200 Nm (155 lbs ft) and this is delivered across a much broader speed range, from 1,500 to 3,500 rpm. 

The new engine also brings fuel saving benefits: the combined consumption has increased from 37.2 mpg for the outgoing 1.6-litre FSI to 44.8 mpg for the new engine.  Carbon dioxide emissions are also reduced from 161 g/km to 149 g/km (manual version).

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with this engine.  Thanks to the TSI’s revised gear ratios Volkswagen’s new transverse seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox will be offered with this unit (available from 2008). 

1.4-litre 1,390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS

This 1.4-litre TSI unit develops 140 PS, a very healthy 162 lbs ft (220 Nm) of torque from 1,750 rpm and a top speed of 127 mph.  Combined fuel consumption is over 39 mpg.  It is available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

1.4-litre 1,390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS

The most powerful petrol engine in the standard Golf range, the 1.4-litre TSI is available in GT Sport trim only and is offered with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic DSG gearbox.

It produces 177 lbs ft (240 Nm) of torque from 1,500 through to 4,750 rpm and yet returns over 38 mpg on the combined cycle.  Standstill to 62 mph takes under eight seconds and this Golf goes on to a top speed of 137 mph.

Diesel engines

The Golf’s diesel engines use Volkswagen’s acclaimed and award-winning ‘Pumpe Düse’ or ‘PD’ technology.  Pumpe Düse translates as ‘unit injector’, a fuel injection system which can operate at pressures of up to 2,050 bars or 30,000 psi. 

It provides better atomisation of the fuel for high torque and power with low emissions and high fuel efficiency.  These Volkswagen diesels are capable of converting up to 43 per cent of the thermal energy in the fuel into mechanical energy for powering the car.

PD technology combines the injector and pump into one unit for each cylinder.  Each unit injector is operated by its own cam on the engine camshaft.  A fine adjustment of the fuel injection process coupled with much higher pressures enables Volkswagen to attain a class-leading position in low fuel consumption, high power and attainment of Euro 4 emissions.

All Volkswagen TDI models also have turbochargers with variable geometry turbine (VTG) technology.  The VTG delivers high boost pressures even at low engine speeds.  An intercooler lowers the temperature of the hot compressed air leaving the turbocharger, leading to even greater efficiency.

Volkswagen’s latest TDI engine, the 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS, now also incorporates a diesel particulate filter for improved emissions performance.

2.0-litre SDI, 1968 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 75 PS

This engine is the entry-level diesel in the Golf range, and yet features much of the sophistication of its TDI siblings.  Unlike the 1.9-litre SDI featured in the last generation Golf, the 2.0-litre SDI uses Volkswagen’s ‘Pumpe Düse’ unit injector system, for even better efficiency through increased injection pressure.

Based heavily on the 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS engine, the 2.0-litre SDI provides excellent fuel economy in the Golf of over 52 mpg on the combined cycle.  Like all other engines in the range, it meets Euro 4 legislation.

This engine is available with a five-speed manual gearbox.

1.9-litre TDI, 1896 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 105 PS

This adaptation of Volkswagen’s renowned and award-winning 1.9-litre TDI engine features a number of improvements which enable it to comply with the Euro 4 emissions legislation.

The unit develops its maximum power output of 105 PS at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 184 lbs ft at 1,900 rpm. The engine is mated to a choice of five or six-speed manual or six-speed DSG gearboxes.  Equipped with a five-speed gearbox the Golf 1.9 TDI returns over 56 mpg on the combined cycle.  It is also available with the option of a six-speed DSG gearbox.

2.0-litre TDI, 1968 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS

The first Volkswagen turbocharged diesel to combine the innovative unit-injector fuel supply system with four valves per cylinder, the 2.0-litre TDI is also used in the Touran.

In the Golf, where it is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard (DSG optional), the unit delivers 140 PS at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 236 lbs ft from 1,750 through to 2,500 rpm.  Top speed is 127 mph and 0 to 62 mph acceleration takes just over nine seconds.  Despite its lively nature, the Golf 2.0-litre TDI returns over 51 mpg on the combined cycle, and complies with the Euro 4 emissions standard.

Principal design features include: twin overhead camshafts, valves operated by low-friction roller cam followers with hydraulic clearance adjusters and unit injectors actuated by roller-rockers from the exhaust camshaft.  As in other TDI engines, a variable geometry turbocharger (VTG) is used, which improves response at low engine speeds.  The crossflow cylinder head is a new design, with two tangential inlet ports per cylinder and a ‘rotated valve star’, the term used for the special arrangement of the four valves in relation to the crankshaft, which ensures the best possible injector position and therefore optimum swirl within the cylinder.

To lower emissions of oxides of nitrogen still further to meet Euro 4 levels, exhaust gas recirculation with a two-way oxidating catalytic converter is fitted.  The quantity of recirculated exhaust gas is precisely controlled by an electric throttle valve.  In addition, a new generation of unit injector has been developed for the four-valve engine.  It is more compact than previously, with a higher part-load injection pressure and superior acoustic properties.

The 2.0 TDI’s rapid starting system allows instant starting without a pre-heating period in almost all weathers.

2.0-litre TDI, 1968 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS DPF

Available in GT Sport trim only and currently the most powerful diesel in the line-up, this adaptation of the 2.0-litre TDI engine produces 170 PS at 4,200 rpm and 258 lbs ft of torque from 2,000 rpm. 

Despite its impressive performance – 137 mph top speed and 0 to 62 mph in just over eight seconds – combined consumption is over 47 mpg.

All Volkswagen diesel engines meet the most stringent environmental standards, with low emissions of particulate matter (PM).  However, this advanced engine goes one stage further with the fitment of a diesel particulate filter (DPF), designed to minimise remaining traces of PM.  This DPF is self-regenerating and requires no routine maintenance.

This engine can be combined with a six-speed manual or automatic DSG gearbox.

Gearboxes

Five- and six-speed manual

The 1.4-litre 80 PS petrol, 2.0-litre SDI and S and SE 1.9-litre TDI Golf models all feature a five-speed manual gearbox.  All other manual Golf models have a six-speed gearbox featuring a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements.  Three-cone synchromesh for the lower gears ensures a pleasant shift action.  Reduced-friction bearings further increase the efficiency of the unit and cut fuel consumption.

Six-speed automatic

With the launch of the New Beetle Cabriolet, Volkswagen became the only manufacturer worldwide to offer a transversely mounted six-speed automatic transmission, and a similar installation of six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox is offered as an option on the Golf 1.6-litre FSI.

The unit’s shift programmes adapt automatically to driving conditions – for example when driving uphill or towing – or the gears can be selected manually by means of Tiptronic + and - lever movements.  A sporty ‘S’ shift programme enhances agility.

Compared with four- and five-speed automatic gearboxes, the wider spread of ratios in the six-speed unit helps reduce noise levels and improves fuel consumption.

All the gearboxes in the Golf are filled with lifetime oil and need no routine maintenance.

DSG – automatic gearbox

The DSG gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the agility and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG has two wet clutches (offering a higher thermal load tolerance than dry clutches) with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this new clutch management system, the breaks in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.  In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection.

Servicing

Volkswagen offers customers a choice of servicing regime for their Golf.  They can choose Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

The Time and Distance Service is recommended for vehic les that will cover less than 10,000 (approx) mi les in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, heavy acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 mi les or every 12 months. 

The LongLife Service is recommended for vehic les with a daily mileage of more than 25 mi les, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed.  With the LongLife system, it can be possible to drive for up to 20,000 mi les or 24 months without a major service. 

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due.

RUNNING GEAR

A new era for Volkswagen suspension design was ushered in with the arrival of the Touran; the Golf was the second model in the range to benefit from the development of a completely new four-link rear suspension system.

Ride and handling are markedly improved over the Golf’s predecessor, with attendant active safety benefits, and the new rear axle configuration has also enabled an enlarged through-load width in the luggage compartment.

Electro-mechanical power steering is another feature designed to enhance the driving experience, while a new braking system complete with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) ensures rapid and safe deceleration.

Front axle

Numerous enhancements were made to the Golf’s proven strut-type front suspension to offer a more direct steering ratio, improved axle rigidity under lateral force and reduced body roll.

Ride and handling were improved markedly thanks to a new mounting concept for the lower wishbone, the separate mounting of springs and dampers on the suspension strut tower, a newly developed twin-sleeve damper unit and optimised spring rates.

Multi-link rear axle

The Golf’s completely new four-link rear suspension system was a major stride forwards for this market segment in terms of providing the optimum combination of handling dynamics and ride comfort.

The compact four-link layout features three lateral control arms – the spring mounting, the track rod and the upper control arm – and a trailing link at each wheel.  Suspension assemblies are attached by way of a rear-axle subframe and, as at the front, rubber-and-metal mountings that are soft in torsion but stiff radially are used to ensure that the anti-roll bar responds immediately and suppresses body roll effectively.  This combines accurate handling with good ride and low road noise levels.

The spring and damper on each side are located separately; the spring bears directly on the trailing link and the damper unit is attached to the wheel hub assembly.  The suspension geometry on the compression stroke generates a toe steering effect that maintains neutral behaviour or slight understeer in all driving and load-carrying situations.

Among the benefits of the almost neutral layout are excellent straight-running stability characteristics on highly uneven road surfaces and minimised tyre wear.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The electro-mechanical power steering system (EPS) first seen on the Touran is also employed in the Golf.  Unlike previous electro-mechanical steering systems, it is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.

Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Braking system

The Golf features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) as standard across the range.

Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, ranging in diameter from 280 mm to 345 mm depending on the model, with solid discs on the rear axle, varying in diameter between 255 mm and 286 mm.  A 10” brake servo is employed.

The new-generation ESP system developed for the Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety, including:

  • ABS – Anti-lock Braking System
  • AEM – Adaptive Engagement Model.  The car is continuously monitored, even when travelling in a stable manner, so that the system can take fast corrective action if instability occurs
  • ASR – traction control
  • EBD – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • EDL – Electronic Differential Lock
  • ESBS – Extended Stability Brake System
  • HBA – Hydraulic Brake Assist

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP

Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that onehas started. 

This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

Hydraulic Brake Assist – HBA

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of HBA recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, HBA automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

The Golf is available in three trim levels: S, Match and GT Sport.

S 1.4-litre 80 PS
S 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS
S 2.0-litre SDI 75 PS
S 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS

All the above models, available in either three of five-door bodystyles, feature the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (traction control)
  • driver and front passenger front airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • head airbag system for front and rear passengers, including front side airbags
  • three-point seatbelts for all rear passengers
  • driver and front passenger’s active head restraints
  • Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats
  • transponder-based electronic engine immobiliser
  • remote control central locking
  • ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning
  • front electric windows; electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • factory-fit stereo with CD player and four speakers
  • height and reach adjustable steering column; driver’s seat height adjustment
  • 6J x 15 steel wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres

Match 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS    
Match 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS

Among a number of additional features the Match, available in a five-door bodystyle only, adds the following equipment:

  • body-coloured bumpers, side rubbing strips, door handles and door mirrors with integrated indicators
  • additional storage compartment in roof console
  • alarm with interior protection
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming rear view mirror (not GT Sport)
  • front comfort seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function (not GT Sport)
  • dusk sensor, automatic driving lights (not GT Sport)
  • cruise control (not GT Sport)
  • leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel and handbrake
  • multifunction computer accessed via steering wheel mounted controls
  • 6½J x 15 ‘ Canberra’ alloy wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres and ant-theft bolts
  • eight-speaker stereo with CD player
  • front centre armrest incorporating an iPod MP3 or USB link cable

GT Sport 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS
GT Sport 1.4-litre TSI 170 PS
GT Sport 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS
GT Sport 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS DPF

Over the Match model, Sport adds the following:

  • sports suspension (lowered by 15mm)
  • front sports seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • darkened headlight lenses
  • GT Sport styling pack including uniquely shaped front bumper
  • rear tinted windows from B-pillar backwards
  • twin exhaust tailpipe (170 PS only)
  • leather trim steering with GT logo, plus leather trim on gearknob and handbrake grip
  • front fog lights
  • sports suspension (lowered by approx 15 mm)
  • rear electric windows (5dr models)
  • 7J x 17 ‘ClassiXs’ alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts

FACTORY FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the Golf, allowing buyers further to customise their vehic les.  These include an electric tilt/slide sunroof, a towbar, a wide variety of alloy wheels, sports suspension (standard on GT Sport models), and a satellite navigation system.  Air conditioning upgrades are also optional, as is leather upholstery.

Self-dimming rear view mirror and rain sensor

Standard on Match and above and optional on S model Golfs, is a ‘thinking’ rear-view mirror.  It uses LCD technology to sense when the lights of a vehicle behind are likely to distract the driver.  The mirror reacts by dimming automatically, in a similar way to light-sensitive sunglasses.  Sensors in the front and rear of the mirror monitor changes and readjust when appropriate. 

In conjunction with this are automatic windscreen wipers.  A rain sensor positioned behind the interior rear-view mirror on the windscreen activates the wiper system as required.  An infrared beam is reflected in different ways according to the pattern of moisture landing on a windscreen sensor.  Signals from the sensor are used to control the wipers.  When the wiper control is set to the normal ‘Intermittent’ position the wipers are automatically controlled from ‘off’ when the screen is dry through different delay intervals of intermittent wipe and on to two speeds of continuous operation.

Gas-discharge headlights

Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights are offered as an option on Match and above.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights.  This option includes a self-levelling mechanism and high pressure headlight wash. 

Parking sensors

Also available across the range is a rear parking distance control system which simplifies tight parking manoeuvres.  The system uses four ultrasonic sensors, integrated in the rear bumper, to pinpoint parked vehicles or other objects behind the car.  Automatically activated when reverse gear is selected, the system produces an audible warning signal to guide the driver up to a safe distance to

any objects behind.  Not only does this help to avoid car park knocks, it could also prevent accidents, for example, if a child runs out who may not have been seen.

In-car navigation system

All Golfs are offered with the option of a factory-fit DVD satellite navigation system.  The 6½” colour LCD screen, which is mounted in the centre console, is teamed with a simplified display in the instrument panel and verbal instructions. 

The driver or passenger can use the screen to pinpoint where the car is on a moving map display.  A traffic jam avoidance facility will be able to calculate alternative routes and the radio can memorise the latest traffic information bulletin even when switched off.

The LCD display also provides information for the in-car music system and incorporates an RGB video input to play video material from another source (i.e. camera or video tape player).

Rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit around the earth from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth.

A digitised road map, stored on DVD in the car, is accessed.  This contains road details and other information such as the locations of airports and stations. 

It is effectively a digital street plan of Great Britain .  The desired destination is selected using the buttons on the centre console.  The system evaluates satellite signals and those from the wheel sensors and compares these data with the digitised DVD road map.  Quite quickly, by comparing the movement of the car with the map and its approximate position from the satellites, the system can calculate the position of the car.  The road, street or motorway the car is on is then displayed and the route to the chosen destination calculated. 

The system employed in the Golf also allows for a choice of different types of route – for example, avoiding motorways or with a cross-country drive.

Should the driver deviate from an indicated route, the voice will politely request that

he or she makes a safe U-turn.  If the driver does not oblige, the system will automatically calculate a new route and continue to issue instructions to reach the destination.  The system will even guide the driver to a destination in Europe - when the UK map runs out, it will ask for the appropriate European map disc to be inserted.

In-car entertainment

The Golf is sold with Volkswagen-designed stereo equipment.  This is integrated with the vehicle and ergonomically designed for ease and safety of operation and maximum security.  On S models, the in-car entertainment system has, as

standard, six speakers; but this system can be upgraded to ten as an option.  The eight speaker system is standard on Match models and above.

All Golfs have a dash-mounted CD player as standard.  This can be upgraded to an RCD-500 ten speaker system with armrest-mounted six-disc CD autochanger for a small premium.

Luxury pack

A ‘luxury pack’ is available on the Golf, offering a variety of features designed to give maximum convenience to driver and passengers.  Offered on Match and GT Sport models, the pack includes electrically-foldable door mirrors; the mirrors also adjust automatically to provide a kerb-view on the passenger side when reverse gear is selected.  The pack also includes rear reading lights.

SAFETY

The high levels of body rigidity brought about by the advanced construction techniques employed in the Golf make it safe, thanks to the strength inherent in the body.  Key to this is the employment of laser seam welding; there is a total length of 70 metres of laser-welded seamwork in the Golf, compared with just five metres in the previous model.

Offset collision

In the event of a high-speed offset accident, an extremely strong bumper cross-member ensures that energy is efficiently absorbed even on the side of the car furthest from the impact.  The side members have been adapted to meet this requirement by means of ‘Tailored Blank’ technology: a maximum amount of energy is absorbed in the front section of the car and only then does the rear side member section buckle, thus reducing footwell intrusion.

Further protection of the footwell is achieved by the use of a cross-member to distribute longitudinal forces to the sill, the underfloor side-member and a stiffened transmission tunnel.  COF, or Crash-Optimised Foot controls, retract forwards in a crash to reduce the risk of foot injury. 

Side impact

The previous Golf’s already high levels of passenger protection against side impacts were enhanced in the current model thanks to the greater use of high-strength body panels and a three-layer B-pillar structure.  Impact loads are spread more uniformly as a result, preventing localised overloading.  High-strength side reinforcements are employed in the doors.

Rear-end collision

Safety standard requirements which were due to come into force in 2005 were taken into consideration in the design of the Golf’s rear protection systems.  These new regulations require that, when the rear is struck by a deformable barrier at 50 mph, the fuel tank system must develop no leaks.  Thus the tank filler neck and associated pipework is located ahead of the rear wheel, outside the crumple zone.

A high-strength bumper cross-member ensures that impact loads are distributed as evenly as possible to both sides of the car.

For active safety measures, please see Braking section.  

Passenger safety

The Golf name has always been synonymous with safety, and in this generation, the well-being of all occupants is paramount.  All models feature:

  • twin front airbags
  • passenger airbag which can be deactivated using the ignition key so a rear-facing child seat can be safely installed in the front
  • driver and front passenger side airbags
  • head airbag system for front and rear passengers
  • crash-active front head restraints to protect against whiplash injury
  • three rear head restraints and three rear three-point seat belts
  • Isofix child seat preparation for the two outer rear seats

Seat belt system

In the event of an accident, the Golf’s belt tensioners are electrically triggered by a central control unit.  Belt tensioning ensures the best performance, with energy being absorbed over a longer period of time with more moderate deceleration values.  Both front and rear seat belt systems are fitted with force limiters which prevent excessive pressure being applied to the chest in the event of an accident; while newly-designed inertia-reel seat belts ensure excellent passenger comfort.

Front airbags

The front restraint system of the Golf consists of a driver’s airbag with a volume of 60 litres and a front passenger airbag of 120 litres.  A further feature is the steering column, which has a highly-engineered clamp for longitudinal and vertical adjustment.  This clamp helps prevent the steering wheel from moving upwards in the event of a crash.  The underside of the steering column is also covered with an energy-absorbing trim to reduce knee and thigh forces, while a rigid footwell with forward-retracting brake and clutch pedals reduce loads on the feet.

Side airbags

The side airbags of the Golf are integrated in the front seat backrests.  They protect the chest, abdomen and pelvis and suit the car’s rigid side structure, while an innovative sensor concept means even faster triggering times.  Integrating the side airbags in the backrests ensures optimum positioning of the driver and front passenger with respect to the airbags.

Curtain airbags

The Golf has especially large curtain airbags which cover the side window areas from the A- to the C-pillar and from the headlining down to over the door sill.  The result of this feature is that maximum protection is afforded to all outer seat positions regardless of passenger body size.  The fact that these airbags cover such a large area prevents the head from swinging out, extremities from being thrown out and objects from penetrating the interior even in the event of the car rolling over.

Child seat

An Isofix child seat has been developed for very small passengers in the Golf, with a target age group between eight months and four years (or 9 to 18 kgs).  It fits into the Isofix fixtures which are standard in the two outer rear seats.  This type of fixture ensures that the seat is secured in place to optimum effect. 

Euro NCAP test results

The Golf scored a maximum five stars for occupant protection in the front and side impact tests, four stars for child protection as well as three stars for the protection of pedestrians in the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) tests. These scores make it one of the safest cars on the road. 

SECURITY

The security systems on the Golf were developed to be class-leading.  Highlights include:

  • an in-cut key which is more difficult to copy
  • free-wheeling mechanism for the door-locks which means if an attempt is made to turn the lock cylinder with a screwdriver, for example, the connection is broken to the door opening mechanism
  • enhanced steering lock clutch to resist forcing
  • protection boxes surrounding door lock mechanisms
  • alternating code, transponder-based engine immobiliser
  • alternating code for remote control central locking
  • an advanced alarm which includes interior protection (standard on Match and above).  The system is easily armed via the remote control key and causes an LED light mounted next to the driver’s door lock to flash
  • factory-fitted stereo with CD player which is Volkswagen-branded and security coded.  When the car is left switched off, it also has a flashing LED light which acts as a visual deterrent
  • electronic ‘CAN-bus’ system linking central locking, theft protection system, electric windows and mirrors, and internal lighting           

Line-up with insurance groups

Thanks to its impressive security and safety features, the Golf has secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers):

S

1.4-litre 80 PS                        4
1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                 6
2.0-litre SDI 75 PS                  6
1.9-litre TDI 105 PS                 6

Match

1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                 6
1.9-litre TDI 105 PS                 6

GT Sport

1.4-litre TSI 140 PS                 14
1.4-litre TSI 170 PS                 16
2.0-litre TDI 140 PS                 14
2.0-litre TDI 170 PS DPF         16

WARRANTIES

The Golf has a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty.  In addition, it comes with a class-leading 12 year anti-perforation guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer. 

CHRONOLOGY

Mk I (1974 until 1983)

The Golf Mk I was launched in 1974 and is still produced today – albeit extensively modified – as an economically priced entry-level model in South Africa parallel to the current model range.  Over 6.8 million units have been produced so far.

1974:   Debut of the first Golf
1976:   500,000th Golf in March
           1,000,000th Golf in October
           First Golf GTI
           First Golf with diesel engine
1978:   2,000,000th  Golf in June
           Debut of the US version Rabbit in July
1979:   3,000,000th Golf in September
           First Golf Cabriolet
           Minor facelift
1982:   5,000,000th Golf in February
           First Golf with turbodiesel engine

Mk II (1984 until 1992)

The Golf Mk II followed in 1983, and in the UK the following year.  Over 6.3 million units of this generation were produced in ten years – on average approximately 630,000 units per year.

1983:   Debut of the second Golf
1984:   Debut of the second Golf GTI
1985:   7,000,000th Golf in March
1986:   First Golf (GTI) with 16-valve petrol engine
1987:   ABS available for all GT and GTI models
           Minor facelift
1988:   Debut of the Rallye Golf G60 – some LHD examples imported to UK
          10,000,000th Golf in June
1989:  11,000,000th Golf in October
1990:   All Golf petrol models available with closed-loop catalytic converters from February
          1,000,000th Golf GTI in November
          12,000,000th Golf in November

Mk III (1992 until 1998)

The Golf Mk III, of which 4.8 million units were built, was launched on to the UK market in 1992.

1991:   Debut of the third Golf
           First Golf diesel with oxidation catalytic converter
           First Golf with six-cylinder engine (VR6); simultaneously
           the first model in the lower mid-range with a six-cylinder engine
1992:   13,000,000th Golf in February
           Driver and front passenger airbag available from August
1993:   First Golf with turbodiesel direct injection (TDI) engine
           Debut of the second Golf Cabriolet
           First Golf Estate
          14,000,000th Golf in March
1994:  15,000,000th Golf in May
1995:   First Golf with naturally aspirated diesel direct injection (SDI) engine
1996:   20th anniversary of the Golf GTI / anniversary model of the Golf GTI
           First Golf GTI with turbodiesel engine
           17,000,000th Golf in November

Mk IV (1998 until 2004)

The Golf Mk IV debuted in 1997, and was launched in the UK in 1998.  Over the last seven years until 2003, 4.3 million units of the best-seller were produced and, on average, approximately 614,000 units were sold per year.

1997:   Debut of the first Golf with fully galvanised body
           First Golf with five-cylinder engine (V5)
1998:   Debut of the new Golf Cabriolet
           First Golf 4MOTION with Haldex viscous coupling
           Introduction of optional ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme)
1999:   Second Golf Estate launched
           First TDI engines with Pumpe Düse unit-injector technology in the Golf
           19,000,000th Golf in June
2002:   Golf GTI 180 PS launched as special edition marking the 25th anniversary  of the Golf GTI in the UK
           Production of the Golf overtakes the Beetle; at 21,517,415 units it becomes the most-produced Volkswagen model to date
           Debut of the Golf R32, the most powerful in production Golf ever with241 PS
2002    becomes the Golf’s best year in the UK to date, with 72,362 units sold, while it also finishes the year as the country’s best-selling diesel car
2003:   End of year: phase-out of the fourth generation Golf after sales of more than 4.3 million units

Mk V (2004)

The Golf Mk V made its international debut in 2003, and was launched in the UK in 2004.
2003:   September – world premiere at Frankfurt motor show
2004:   January 30 – UK launch
           August – Sport added to model line-up
2005:   January – GTI launched in the UK
           November – R32 on sale in the UK
2006:   October – Match replaces SE trim level
2007:   May – GT Sport replaces GT and Sport trim levels

First launched over 30 years ago, the Volkswagen Golf needs little introduction.  It is one of the world’s best-selling vehic les, with sa les of over 25 million now placing it well ahead of the original Beetle in terms of volume. 

The latest generation, which went on sale in the UK on 30 January 2004, is the fifth incarnation of the Golf.  Although it is an all-new vehicle, it builds upon the Golf’s traditional strengths of high quality, safety and technology, with, for example, new multi-link suspension, improved interior space and an advanced range of FSI, TSI and TDI engines. 

Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2003, it has been widely acclaimed as a class-leading vehicle, and claimed a number of awards.  Shortly after launch it took awards from Top Gear and Auto Express magazines, and was named What Car? Car of the Year 2004.  In 2007, the Golf once again reclaimed the title of Best Small Family Car in the What Car? awards.

The Golf continues to be Volkswagen UK ’s best-selling model, with 61,673 Mk V models sold in 2006 out of a total of 189,959 cars. 

SUMMARY

  • Major international debut at Frankfurt Motor Show 9 September 2003; launched in Germany in October and in the UK January 2004
  • Fifth generation of best-selling Volkswagen model to date (over 25 million sold worldwide)
  • Key dimensions increased compared with Golf Mk IV: overall length by 55 mm to 4,204 mm; width by 24 mm to 1,759 mm; height by 40 mm to 1,479 mm; wheelbase by 67 mm to 2,578 mm
  • Completely revised suspension, steering and damping to improve ride and handling qualities
  • All-new four-link independent rear suspension
  • Electro-mechanical power steering with speed-dependent assistance on all models
  • Class-leading body rigidity for improved safety, dynamics and refinement
  • Total model range engine line-up includes six petrol and four diesel units: 1.4-litre 80 PS; 1.4-litre TSI 122, 140 and 170 PS; 2.0-litre turbocharged T-FSI 200 PS (GTI only); and 3.2-litre V6 250 PS (R32 only); plus 2.0-litre SDI 75 PS; 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS; 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS or 170 PS with DPF (diesel particulate filter)
  • FSI features a sophisticated direct injection petrol system; TDI range uses proven ‘Pumpe Düse’ or unit injector technology
  • Introduced in June 2006, TSI combines a turbocharger and a supercharger to produce high performance from a small capacity engine with low fuel consumption and emissions. A 1.4-litre unit is currently available, producing 140 or 170 PS. Introduced in October 2007 is a 1.4-litre TSI with 122 PS which has a turbocharger only
  • Transmissions include five and six-speed manuals, a six-speed Tiptronic automatic and Volkswagen’s revolutionary DSG double-clutch system
  • Comprehensive standard safety features include latest generation ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) with BAS (Brake Assist System) and ABS; three-point safety belts for all occupants; active front head restraints; front airbags plus full length curtain airbags, and front seat side airbags
  • Chief competitors: Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Renault Mégane, Peugeot 307
  • Offered in three trim levels: S, Match and GT Sport
  • GTI with 2.0-litre T-FSI 200 PS launched in January 2005
  • R32 with 3.2-litre V6 250 PS and 4MOTION four-wheel drive launched in November 2005

Market information

The Golf competes in the lower medium class, a direct rival to cars such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.  In the UK , this class accounts for around one in every three cars purchased.  Volkswagen UK sold 61,673 Golfs in 2006.

Diesel accounts for 55 per cent of Golf sa les, with the most popular engine being the 1.9-litre TDI which takes around 28 per cent of the total.  The best-selling petrol engine is likely to be the new 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS.  Over a third of customers opt for the mid-level Match trim. 

Around two-thirds of all Golfs sold in the UK have five doors. 

Production

The Golf is produced at Volkswagen’s plants in Wolfsburg, Mosel, Brussels and Bratislava.  The majority of UK cars are made in Brussels.

State of the art production systems and assembly technologies are being employed, for example laser welding employing 140 special robots.  The Golf has laser-welded seams with a total length of 70 metres, compared with five metres in its predecessor, one factor in helping the Golf reach a new benchmark position with body rigidity.

Environment

Ecological considerations and the responsible handling of natural resources are central to the Volkswagen corporate philosophy.  Long before the European Used Car Directive and the resulting national legislation came into force, Volkswagen had set itself a number of environmental objectives, including the reduction of CO2 emissions and effective recycling methods.

Volkswagen set a target for the new Golf that 95 per cent of its weight should be recyclable by 2015, and this has had its effect on the choice of environmentally compatible materials and technologies employed during production.  For example, the use of PVC sealant has been significantly reduced thanks to the increased use of under-body sealing panels.

As well as optimising its vehicle construction technology, Volkswagen is also leading the way in the development of new methods for the preparation and recycling of plastics, and is also developing ever-more stringent processes for the efficient handling of resources such as water, energy and materials.

DESIGN

The Mk V Golf is larger all round than its predecessor – 24 mm wider, 46 mm taller and 55 mm longer – and these greater external dimensions translate directly into improved passenger space and comfort, with greater cabin length and hence improved legroom (up by 52 mm), more headroom (improved by 24 mm at the rear) and an extra 20 litres of luggage space.

Comparison of Golfs Mk IV, V and Touran:

  Golf Mk V Golf Mk IV Difference Touran
length, mm 4204 4149 +55 4407
width, w/out door mirrors, mm 1759 1735 +24 1794
height, mm 1479 1439 +40 1635
wheelbase, mm 2578 2511 +67 2675
maximum luggage capacity        
w/out rear seat folded, litres 350 330 +20 695
with rear seat folded, litres 1305 1184 +121 1989

 

One of the chief targets for the designers was a substantial improvement in body rigidity and, thanks to the extensive use of advanced construction techniques such as laser seam welding, this has been achieved: static torsional rigidity has been improved by 80 per cent to establish the Golf as the class leader. 

Improved safety and handling dynamics are among the benefits.  Acoustic levels are also greatly enhanced thanks to this new body rigidity.  Coupled with reductions in the levels of noise entering the cabin from the engine and gearbox, this has improved the Golf’s overall refinement to class-leading levels.

Attention to detail is evident throughout the car, with many neat styling touches and design ideas passed on to the Golf from Volkswagen’s luxury class models.  Among the most pleasing is the boot lid release mechanism, which is incorporated into the Volkswagen badge.

The ‘module’ doors are an innovation, aimed at drastically reducing repair costs.  No longer must the entire door be replaced in the event that it is damaged in an accident, instead the outer skin panel can easily be detached for repair.  This is achieved by the use of load-bearing ‘hybrid bars’ which serve as the door inner panel.  The outer skin panel is bonded to these bars.

Aerodynamics

The Golf has an aerodynamically efficient body shape with a 0.32 drag coefficient, achieved with help from the very tight body shut lines, flush-fitting windows and headlights, cleverly-designed door mirrors and efficient under-body panels.

These balanced aerodynamic properties not only lead to improved performance and fuel consumption but also to better handling dynamics, safety and stability at speed and in cross winds.

The interior: seats

The Golf’s seats are designed to provide maximum comfort and a great range of adjustment.  For example, the standard seat-height adjustment feature on the driver’s seat is accompanied by automatic tilt adjustment.  The seat base is therefore angled appropriately for smaller or larger drivers.

The Golf was also the first car in its segment to be offered with the option of an electric four-way lumbar support.

The rear seat backrests are easily and effectively folded and locked into place; to ensure this is done safely and correctly, an indicator on the outside of each backrest shows when it is fully locked.  The head restraints do not need to be removed in order to fold the backrests flat.

Stowage space

There are plenty of useful stowage areas within the Golf’s cabin.  In addition to the glovebox there is a driver’s side cubby which can accommodate a drinks can and generous door bins which can accept not only a one litre drink bottle but also a standard road atlas.

Depending on specification, there is a further large storage area between the front seats complete with two cup holders.  The overhead console, which houses the front interior lights and their controls, also has a sunglasses compartment (from Match upwards).

In the rear seating compartment there are useful storage pockets for smaller items and also a fold-away bottle/cup holder.

An optional storage drawer under the front passenger’s seat is optional on Match and GT Sport models.

Showing attention to detail, almost every cubby hole in the Golf has a purpose.  One example – depending on specification – is the bottle opener, which fits into the small gap between the cup holders in the space next to the handbrake lever. 

Climate control

The Golf is available with two climate control systems: semi-automatic (Climatic) air conditioning on S, Match and GT Sport models; and fully automatic 2Zone electronic climate control (Climatronic) air conditioning on the range-topping GTI and R32 (available as an upgrade on Match and GT Sport).

The sophisticated heating and ventilation systems are much improved over those on the previous Golf, with increased airflow into the front and rear passenger compartments, a pollen filter which operates in both fresh-air and recirculating-air modes and a coolable glovebox.

The Climatic air conditioning system replaces the manual system of the previous model.  It maintains the desired cabin temperature automatically whatever the temperature outside.

The fully automatic Climatronic air conditioning system is a two-zone device, with driver and front-seat passenger able to adjust their own climates individually and independently.

Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of half a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The Climatronic’s intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing and when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Windscreen wipers

Pioneered in the Touran, ‘intelligent’ windscreen wiper control is a feature of the Golf.  In addition to the classic operating modes – wiping speeds 1 and 2, intermittent operation, rain sensor operation (optional on S), flick wiping and washing – the wiper system is also able to perform the following functions:

  • Service position: When the car is stationary, the wipers move into the service position when the flick wipe function is activated.
  • Alternating park position: The wiper system has a so-called alternating park position.  Every second time the wiper system is turned off, the wiper moves upwards a little.  This operation repositions the wiper rubber on the windscreen, thereby increasing its life.
  • Intermittent speeds: The driver uses the steering column switch to select between four intermittent speeds, which are also dependant on the vehicle road speed.  These four speeds can also be used to adjust the response of the rain sensor.
  • Bonnet stop: When the bonnet is opened, the wiper stops for a moment to prevent the bonnet and the wiper itself from being damaged.
  • Malfunction stop: The system recognises whenever the wipers are blocked and responds appropriately to the situation.
  • Wash function 1: When the wash/wipe function is actuated, the wiper is only activated after a pre-wash period (at vehicle road speeds from 70 mph).
  • Wash function 2: Three post-wash cycles are automatically performed after the windscreen washer system is activated.  A further post-wash cycle is performed five seconds after the last wash/wipe cycle.

Quality

Volkswagen enjoys a hard won reputation for quality and knows that it must make an even greater commitment in design, materials, development, quality control and many other areas if it is to retain its lead. 

By designing the Golf to make use of some major and minor components including nuts, bolts, washers and fixings used in other Group products, Volkswagen is able to purchase high quality components and materials in bulk.  By saving costs in these areas, Volkswagen has more resource to spend on quality items specific to the Golf such as the body shell and trim components.

ENGINES

The standard Golf (excluding GTI and R32 models) is offered with a choice of four petrol and four diesel engines: 1.4-litre 80 PS; 1.4-litre TSI with 122, 140 or 170 PS; plus 2.0-litre SDI 75 PS; 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS; and 2.0-litre TDI with 140 PS or 170 PS, the latter featuring DPF (diesel particulate filter). 

The technically advanced designs of the TSI and TDI powerplants result in class-leading efficiency and therefore lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  This is not only better for the environment, but also for the wallet – company car drivers in particular can reduce significantly their annual tax bill by opting for a car in a low-emission band. 

Petrol engines

1.4-litre, 1390 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 80 PS

The entry-level engine of the new Golf range is Volkswagen’s proven 16-valve 1.4-litre unit which produces 80 PS.  Maximum torque of 97 lbs ft (132 Nm) is produced at 3,800 rpm.  This engine is fitted as standard with a five-speed manual gearbox.

TSI technology

In June 2006, Volkswagen launched the latest in a line of pioneering inventions with the introduction of TSI petrol technology.  Previous engines have used FSI technology, whereby petrol is injection directly into the combustion chamber to improve efficiency and hence reduce fuel consumption and emissions.  Taking this further, TSI uses – for the first time ever – an FSI engine which is then dual-charged through a combination of an engine driven supercharger and an exhaust gas turbocharger arranged in series.  A new 122 PS TSI unit, introduced in October 2007, uses simply a sophisticated turbocharger. 

The driving characteristics of TSI engines are improved over those of a conventional FSI unit.  The belt-driven supercharger operates at the lower engine speeds, with the turbocharger coming in as engine speed increases.  The result of this is excellent driveability and performance throughout the range with no turbo lag and high maximum torque.

Key to the TSI’s success is that direct injection allows an abnormally high compression ratio of 10:1 to be used in conjunction with high maximum boost pressure of up to 2.5 bar absolute.  This enables the relatively small engine to use very high gearing to provide exceptional fuel efficiency for a petrol engine, particularly at motorway cruising speeds.  As an additional bonus, the TSI engine provides driver enjoyment, producing high power and torque across a rev range from 1,000 to 6,500 rpm.

The TSI engines have a capacity of 1.4-litres (1,390 cc) and produce either 122, 140 or 170 PS.  The 170 PS version has the same peak power as a conventional 2.3-litre petrol unit but with 20 per cent lower fuel consumption, returning over 38 mpg on the combined cycle. 

TSI technology has received international acclaim, having been named Best New Engine of 2006 in the International Engine of the Year Awards as well as winning its category in the same awards in 2007. 

1.4-litre 1,390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 122 PS

This unit has replaced the Golf’s popular 1.6-litre FSI 115 PS unit.  Power is up to 122 PS while torque is also increased substantially by nearly 30 per cent from 155 Nm (114 lbs ft) at 4,000 rpm to 200 Nm (155 lbs ft) and this is delivered across a much broader speed range, from 1,500 to 3,500 rpm. 

The new engine also brings fuel saving benefits: the combined consumption has increased from 37.2 mpg for the outgoing 1.6-litre FSI to 44.8 mpg for the new engine.  Carbon dioxide emissions are also reduced from 161 g/km to 149 g/km (manual version).

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with this engine.  Thanks to the TSI’s revised gear ratios Volkswagen’s new transverse seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox will be offered with this unit (available from 2008). 

1.4-litre 1,390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS

This 1.4-litre TSI unit develops 140 PS, a very healthy 162 lbs ft (220 Nm) of torque from 1,750 rpm and a top speed of 127 mph.  Combined fuel consumption is over 39 mpg.  It is available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

1.4-litre 1,390 cc TSI, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS

The most powerful petrol engine in the standard Golf range, the 1.4-litre TSI is available in GT Sport trim only and is offered with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic DSG gearbox.

It produces 177 lbs ft (240 Nm) of torque from 1,500 through to 4,750 rpm and yet returns over 38 mpg on the combined cycle.  Standstill to 62 mph takes under eight seconds and this Golf goes on to a top speed of 137 mph.

Diesel engines

The Golf’s diesel engines use Volkswagen’s acclaimed and award-winning ‘Pumpe Düse’ or ‘PD’ technology.  Pumpe Düse translates as ‘unit injector’, a fuel injection system which can operate at pressures of up to 2,050 bars or 30,000 psi. 

It provides better atomisation of the fuel for high torque and power with low emissions and high fuel efficiency.  These Volkswagen diesels are capable of converting up to 43 per cent of the thermal energy in the fuel into mechanical energy for powering the car.

PD technology combines the injector and pump into one unit for each cylinder.  Each unit injector is operated by its own cam on the engine camshaft.  A fine adjustment of the fuel injection process coupled with much higher pressures enables Volkswagen to attain a class-leading position in low fuel consumption, high power and attainment of Euro 4 emissions.

All Volkswagen TDI models also have turbochargers with variable geometry turbine (VTG) technology.  The VTG delivers high boost pressures even at low engine speeds.  An intercooler lowers the temperature of the hot compressed air leaving the turbocharger, leading to even greater efficiency.

Volkswagen’s latest TDI engine, the 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS, now also incorporates a diesel particulate filter for improved emissions performance.

2.0-litre SDI, 1968 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 75 PS

This engine is the entry-level diesel in the Golf range, and yet features much of the sophistication of its TDI siblings.  Unlike the 1.9-litre SDI featured in the last generation Golf, the 2.0-litre SDI uses Volkswagen’s ‘Pumpe Düse’ unit injector system, for even better efficiency through increased injection pressure.

Based heavily on the 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS engine, the 2.0-litre SDI provides excellent fuel economy in the Golf of over 52 mpg on the combined cycle.  Like all other engines in the range, it meets Euro 4 legislation.

This engine is available with a five-speed manual gearbox.

1.9-litre TDI, 1896 cc, 8-valve 4-cyl, 105 PS

This adaptation of Volkswagen’s renowned and award-winning 1.9-litre TDI engine features a number of improvements which enable it to comply with the Euro 4 emissions legislation.

The unit develops its maximum power output of 105 PS at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 184 lbs ft at 1,900 rpm. The engine is mated to a choice of five or six-speed manual or six-speed DSG gearboxes.  Equipped with a five-speed gearbox the Golf 1.9 TDI returns over 56 mpg on the combined cycle.  It is also available with the option of a six-speed DSG gearbox.

2.0-litre TDI, 1968 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 140 PS

The first Volkswagen turbocharged diesel to combine the innovative unit-injector fuel supply system with four valves per cylinder, the 2.0-litre TDI is also used in the Touran.

In the Golf, where it is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard (DSG optional), the unit delivers 140 PS at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 236 lbs ft from 1,750 through to 2,500 rpm.  Top speed is 127 mph and 0 to 62 mph acceleration takes just over nine seconds.  Despite its lively nature, the Golf 2.0-litre TDI returns over 51 mpg on the combined cycle, and complies with the Euro 4 emissions standard.

Principal design features include: twin overhead camshafts, valves operated by low-friction roller cam followers with hydraulic clearance adjusters and unit injectors actuated by roller-rockers from the exhaust camshaft.  As in other TDI engines, a variable geometry turbocharger (VTG) is used, which improves response at low engine speeds.  The crossflow cylinder head is a new design, with two tangential inlet ports per cylinder and a ‘rotated valve star’, the term used for the special arrangement of the four valves in relation to the crankshaft, which ensures the best possible injector position and therefore optimum swirl within the cylinder.

To lower emissions of oxides of nitrogen still further to meet Euro 4 levels, exhaust gas recirculation with a two-way oxidating catalytic converter is fitted.  The quantity of recirculated exhaust gas is precisely controlled by an electric throttle valve.  In addition, a new generation of unit injector has been developed for the four-valve engine.  It is more compact than previously, with a higher part-load injection pressure and superior acoustic properties.

The 2.0 TDI’s rapid starting system allows instant starting without a pre-heating period in almost all weathers.

2.0-litre TDI, 1968 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS DPF

Available in GT Sport trim only and currently the most powerful diesel in the line-up, this adaptation of the 2.0-litre TDI engine produces 170 PS at 4,200 rpm and 258 lbs ft of torque from 2,000 rpm. 

Despite its impressive performance – 137 mph top speed and 0 to 62 mph in just over eight seconds – combined consumption is over 47 mpg.

All Volkswagen diesel engines meet the most stringent environmental standards, with low emissions of particulate matter (PM).  However, this advanced engine goes one stage further with the fitment of a diesel particulate filter (DPF), designed to minimise remaining traces of PM.  This DPF is self-regenerating and requires no routine maintenance.

This engine can be combined with a six-speed manual or automatic DSG gearbox.

Gearboxes

Five- and six-speed manual

The 1.4-litre 80 PS petrol, 2.0-litre SDI and S and SE 1.9-litre TDI Golf models all feature a five-speed manual gearbox.  All other manual Golf models have a six-speed gearbox featuring a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements.  Three-cone synchromesh for the lower gears ensures a pleasant shift action.  Reduced-friction bearings further increase the efficiency of the unit and cut fuel consumption.

Six-speed automatic

With the launch of the New Beetle Cabriolet, Volkswagen became the only manufacturer worldwide to offer a transversely mounted six-speed automatic transmission, and a similar installation of six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox is offered as an option on the Golf 1.6-litre FSI.

The unit’s shift programmes adapt automatically to driving conditions – for example when driving uphill or towing – or the gears can be selected manually by means of Tiptronic + and - lever movements.  A sporty ‘S’ shift programme enhances agility.

Compared with four- and five-speed automatic gearboxes, the wider spread of ratios in the six-speed unit helps reduce noise levels and improves fuel consumption.

All the gearboxes in the Golf are filled with lifetime oil and need no routine maintenance.

DSG – automatic gearbox

The DSG gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the agility and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG has two wet clutches (offering a higher thermal load tolerance than dry clutches) with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this new clutch management system, the breaks in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.  In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection.

Servicing

Volkswagen offers customers a choice of servicing regime for their Golf.  They can choose Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

The Time and Distance Service is recommended for vehic les that will cover less than 10,000 (approx) mi les in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, heavy acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 mi les or every 12 months. 

The LongLife Service is recommended for vehic les with a daily mileage of more than 25 mi les, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed.  With the LongLife system, it can be possible to drive for up to 20,000 mi les or 24 months without a major service. 

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due.

RUNNING GEAR

A new era for Volkswagen suspension design was ushered in with the arrival of the Touran; the Golf was the second model in the range to benefit from the development of a completely new four-link rear suspension system.

Ride and handling are markedly improved over the Golf’s predecessor, with attendant active safety benefits, and the new rear axle configuration has also enabled an enlarged through-load width in the luggage compartment.

Electro-mechanical power steering is another feature designed to enhance the driving experience, while a new braking system complete with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) ensures rapid and safe deceleration.

Front axle

Numerous enhancements were made to the Golf’s proven strut-type front suspension to offer a more direct steering ratio, improved axle rigidity under lateral force and reduced body roll.

Ride and handling were improved markedly thanks to a new mounting concept for the lower wishbone, the separate mounting of springs and dampers on the suspension strut tower, a newly developed twin-sleeve damper unit and optimised spring rates.

Multi-link rear axle

The Golf’s completely new four-link rear suspension system was a major stride forwards for this market segment in terms of providing the optimum combination of handling dynamics and ride comfort.

The compact four-link layout features three lateral control arms – the spring mounting, the track rod and the upper control arm – and a trailing link at each wheel.  Suspension assemblies are attached by way of a rear-axle subframe and, as at the front, rubber-and-metal mountings that are soft in torsion but stiff radially are used to ensure that the anti-roll bar responds immediately and suppresses body roll effectively.  This combines accurate handling with good ride and low road noise levels.

The spring and damper on each side are located separately; the spring bears directly on the trailing link and the damper unit is attached to the wheel hub assembly.  The suspension geometry on the compression stroke generates a toe steering effect that maintains neutral behaviour or slight understeer in all driving and load-carrying situations.

Among the benefits of the almost neutral layout are excellent straight-running stability characteristics on highly uneven road surfaces and minimised tyre wear.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The electro-mechanical power steering system (EPS) first seen on the Touran is also employed in the Golf.  Unlike previous electro-mechanical steering systems, it is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.

Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Braking system

The Golf features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) as standard across the range.

Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, ranging in diameter from 280 mm to 345 mm depending on the model, with solid discs on the rear axle, varying in diameter between 255 mm and 286 mm.  A 10” brake servo is employed.

The new-generation ESP system developed for the Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety, including:

  • ABS – Anti-lock Braking System
  • AEM – Adaptive Engagement Model.  The car is continuously monitored, even when travelling in a stable manner, so that the system can take fast corrective action if instability occurs
  • ASR – traction control
  • EBD – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • EDL – Electronic Differential Lock
  • ESBS – Extended Stability Brake System
  • HBA – Hydraulic Brake Assist

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP

Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that onehas started. 

This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

Hydraulic Brake Assist – HBA

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of HBA recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, HBA automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

The Golf is available in three trim levels: S, Match and GT Sport.

S 1.4-litre 80 PS
S 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS
S 2.0-litre SDI 75 PS
S 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS

All the above models, available in either three of five-door bodystyles, feature the following standard features:

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (traction control)
  • driver and front passenger front airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • head airbag system for front and rear passengers, including front side airbags
  • three-point seatbelts for all rear passengers
  • driver and front passenger’s active head restraints
  • Isofix child seat preparation for two outer rear seats
  • transponder-based electronic engine immobiliser
  • remote control central locking
  • ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning
  • front electric windows; electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • factory-fit stereo with CD player and four speakers
  • height and reach adjustable steering column; driver’s seat height adjustment
  • 6J x 15 steel wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres

Match 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS    
Match 1.9-litre TDI 105 PS

Among a number of additional features the Match, available in a five-door bodystyle only, adds the following equipment:

  • body-coloured bumpers, side rubbing strips, door handles and door mirrors with integrated indicators
  • additional storage compartment in roof console
  • alarm with interior protection
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming rear view mirror (not GT Sport)
  • front comfort seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function (not GT Sport)
  • dusk sensor, automatic driving lights (not GT Sport)
  • cruise control (not GT Sport)
  • leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel and handbrake
  • multifunction computer accessed via steering wheel mounted controls
  • 6½J x 15 ‘ Canberra’ alloy wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres and ant-theft bolts
  • eight-speaker stereo with CD player
  • front centre armrest incorporating an iPod MP3 or USB link cable

GT Sport 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS
GT Sport 1.4-litre TSI 170 PS
GT Sport 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS
GT Sport 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS DPF

Over the Match model, Sport adds the following:

  • sports suspension (lowered by 15mm)
  • front sports seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • darkened headlight lenses
  • GT Sport styling pack including uniquely shaped front bumper
  • rear tinted windows from B-pillar backwards
  • twin exhaust tailpipe (170 PS only)
  • leather trim steering with GT logo, plus leather trim on gearknob and handbrake grip
  • front fog lights
  • sports suspension (lowered by approx 15 mm)
  • rear electric windows (5dr models)
  • 7J x 17 ‘ClassiXs’ alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts

FACTORY FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the Golf, allowing buyers further to customise their vehic les.  These include an electric tilt/slide sunroof, a towbar, a wide variety of alloy wheels, sports suspension (standard on GT Sport models), and a satellite navigation system.  Air conditioning upgrades are also optional, as is leather upholstery.

Self-dimming rear view mirror and rain sensor

Standard on Match and above and optional on S model Golfs, is a ‘thinking’ rear-view mirror.  It uses LCD technology to sense when the lights of a vehicle behind are likely to distract the driver.  The mirror reacts by dimming automatically, in a similar way to light-sensitive sunglasses.  Sensors in the front and rear of the mirror monitor changes and readjust when appropriate. 

In conjunction with this are automatic windscreen wipers.  A rain sensor positioned behind the interior rear-view mirror on the windscreen activates the wiper system as required.  An infrared beam is reflected in different ways according to the pattern of moisture landing on a windscreen sensor.  Signals from the sensor are used to control the wipers.  When the wiper control is set to the normal ‘Intermittent’ position the wipers are automatically controlled from ‘off’ when the screen is dry through different delay intervals of intermittent wipe and on to two speeds of continuous operation.

Gas-discharge headlights

Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-Xenon) headlights are offered as an option on Match and above.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights.  This option includes a self-levelling mechanism and high pressure headlight wash. 

Parking sensors

Also available across the range is a rear parking distance control system which simplifies tight parking manoeuvres.  The system uses four ultrasonic sensors, integrated in the rear bumper, to pinpoint parked vehicles or other objects behind the car.  Automatically activated when reverse gear is selected, the system produces an audible warning signal to guide the driver up to a safe distance to

any objects behind.  Not only does this help to avoid car park knocks, it could also prevent accidents, for example, if a child runs out who may not have been seen.

In-car navigation system

All Golfs are offered with the option of a factory-fit DVD satellite navigation system.  The 6½” colour LCD screen, which is mounted in the centre console, is teamed with a simplified display in the instrument panel and verbal instructions. 

The driver or passenger can use the screen to pinpoint where the car is on a moving map display.  A traffic jam avoidance facility will be able to calculate alternative routes and the radio can memorise the latest traffic information bulletin even when switched off.

The LCD display also provides information for the in-car music system and incorporates an RGB video input to play video material from another source (i.e. camera or video tape player).

Rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit around the earth from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth.

A digitised road map, stored on DVD in the car, is accessed.  This contains road details and other information such as the locations of airports and stations. 

It is effectively a digital street plan of Great Britain .  The desired destination is selected using the buttons on the centre console.  The system evaluates satellite signals and those from the wheel sensors and compares these data with the digitised DVD road map.  Quite quickly, by comparing the movement of the car with the map and its approximate position from the satellites, the system can calculate the position of the car.  The road, street or motorway the car is on is then displayed and the route to the chosen destination calculated. 

The system employed in the Golf also allows for a choice of different types of route – for example, avoiding motorways or with a cross-country drive.

Should the driver deviate from an indicated route, the voice will politely request that

he or she makes a safe U-turn.  If the driver does not oblige, the system will automatically calculate a new route and continue to issue instructions to reach the destination.  The system will even guide the driver to a destination in Europe - when the UK map runs out, it will ask for the appropriate European map disc to be inserted.

In-car entertainment

The Golf is sold with Volkswagen-designed stereo equipment.  This is integrated with the vehicle and ergonomically designed for ease and safety of operation and maximum security.  On S models, the in-car entertainment system has, as

standard, six speakers; but this system can be upgraded to ten as an option.  The eight speaker system is standard on Match models and above.

All Golfs have a dash-mounted CD player as standard.  This can be upgraded to an RCD-500 ten speaker system with armrest-mounted six-disc CD autochanger for a small premium.

Luxury pack

A ‘luxury pack’ is available on the Golf, offering a variety of features designed to give maximum convenience to driver and passengers.  Offered on Match and GT Sport models, the pack includes electrically-foldable door mirrors; the mirrors also adjust automatically to provide a kerb-view on the passenger side when reverse gear is selected.  The pack also includes rear reading lights.

SAFETY

The high levels of body rigidity brought about by the advanced construction techniques employed in the Golf make it safe, thanks to the strength inherent in the body.  Key to this is the employment of laser seam welding; there is a total length of 70 metres of laser-welded seamwork in the Golf, compared with just five metres in the previous model.

Offset collision

In the event of a high-speed offset accident, an extremely strong bumper cross-member ensures that energy is efficiently absorbed even on the side of the car furthest from the impact.  The side members have been adapted to meet this requirement by means of ‘Tailored Blank’ technology: a maximum amount of energy is absorbed in the front section of the car and only then does the rear side member section buckle, thus reducing footwell intrusion.

Further protection of the footwell is achieved by the use of a cross-member to distribute longitudinal forces to the sill, the underfloor side-member and a stiffened transmission tunnel.  COF, or Crash-Optimised Foot controls, retract forwards in a crash to reduce the risk of foot injury. 

Side impact

The previous Golf’s already high levels of passenger protection against side impacts were enhanced in the current model thanks to the greater use of high-strength body panels and a three-layer B-pillar structure.  Impact loads are spread more uniformly as a result, preventing localised overloading.  High-strength side reinforcements are employed in the doors.

Rear-end collision

Safety standard requirements which were due to come into force in 2005 were taken into consideration in the design of the Golf’s rear protection systems.  These new regulations require that, when the rear is struck by a deformable barrier at 50 mph, the fuel tank system must develop no leaks.  Thus the tank filler neck and associated pipework is located ahead of the rear wheel, outside the crumple zone.

A high-strength bumper cross-member ensures that impact loads are distributed as evenly as possible to both sides of the car.

For active safety measures, please see Braking section.  

Passenger safety

The Golf name has always been synonymous with safety, and in this generation, the well-being of all occupants is paramount.  All models feature:

  • twin front airbags
  • passenger airbag which can be deactivated using the ignition key so a rear-facing child seat can be safely installed in the front
  • driver and front passenger side airbags
  • head airbag system for front and rear passengers
  • crash-active front head restraints to protect against whiplash injury
  • three rear head restraints and three rear three-point seat belts
  • Isofix child seat preparation for the two outer rear seats

Seat belt system

In the event of an accident, the Golf’s belt tensioners are electrically triggered by a central control unit.  Belt tensioning ensures the best performance, with energy being absorbed over a longer period of time with more moderate deceleration values.  Both front and rear seat belt systems are fitted with force limiters which prevent excessive pressure being applied to the chest in the event of an accident; while newly-designed inertia-reel seat belts ensure excellent passenger comfort.

Front airbags

The front restraint system of the Golf consists of a driver’s airbag with a volume of 60 litres and a front passenger airbag of 120 litres.  A further feature is the steering column, which has a highly-engineered clamp for longitudinal and vertical adjustment.  This clamp helps prevent the steering wheel from moving upwards in the event of a crash.  The underside of the steering column is also covered with an energy-absorbing trim to reduce knee and thigh forces, while a rigid footwell with forward-retracting brake and clutch pedals reduce loads on the feet.

Side airbags

The side airbags of the Golf are integrated in the front seat backrests.  They protect the chest, abdomen and pelvis and suit the car’s rigid side structure, while an innovative sensor concept means even faster triggering times.  Integrating the side airbags in the backrests ensures optimum positioning of the driver and front passenger with respect to the airbags.

Curtain airbags

The Golf has especially large curtain airbags which cover the side window areas from the A- to the C-pillar and from the headlining down to over the door sill.  The result of this feature is that maximum protection is afforded to all outer seat positions regardless of passenger body size.  The fact that these airbags cover such a large area prevents the head from swinging out, extremities from being thrown out and objects from penetrating the interior even in the event of the car rolling over.

Child seat

An Isofix child seat has been developed for very small passengers in the Golf, with a target age group between eight months and four years (or 9 to 18 kgs).  It fits into the Isofix fixtures which are standard in the two outer rear seats.  This type of fixture ensures that the seat is secured in place to optimum effect. 

Euro NCAP test results

The Golf scored a maximum five stars for occupant protection in the front and side impact tests, four stars for child protection as well as three stars for the protection of pedestrians in the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) tests. These scores make it one of the safest cars on the road. 

SECURITY

The security systems on the Golf were developed to be class-leading.  Highlights include:

  • an in-cut key which is more difficult to copy
  • free-wheeling mechanism for the door-locks which means if an attempt is made to turn the lock cylinder with a screwdriver, for example, the connection is broken to the door opening mechanism
  • enhanced steering lock clutch to resist forcing
  • protection boxes surrounding door lock mechanisms
  • alternating code, transponder-based engine immobiliser
  • alternating code for remote control central locking
  • an advanced alarm which includes interior protection (standard on Match and above).  The system is easily armed via the remote control key and causes an LED light mounted next to the driver’s door lock to flash
  • factory-fitted stereo with CD player which is Volkswagen-branded and security coded.  When the car is left switched off, it also has a flashing LED light which acts as a visual deterrent
  • electronic ‘CAN-bus’ system linking central locking, theft protection system, electric windows and mirrors, and internal lighting           

Line-up with insurance groups

Thanks to its impressive security and safety features, the Golf has secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers):

S

1.4-litre 80 PS                        4
1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                 6
2.0-litre SDI 75 PS                  6
1.9-litre TDI 105 PS                 6

Match

1.4-litre TSI 122 PS                 6
1.9-litre TDI 105 PS                 6

GT Sport

1.4-litre TSI 140 PS                 14
1.4-litre TSI 170 PS                 16
2.0-litre TDI 140 PS                 14
2.0-litre TDI 170 PS DPF         16

WARRANTIES

The Golf has a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty.  In addition, it comes with a class-leading 12 year anti-perforation guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer. 

CHRONOLOGY

Mk I (1974 until 1983)

The Golf Mk I was launched in 1974 and is still produced today – albeit extensively modified – as an economically priced entry-level model in South Africa parallel to the current model range.  Over 6.8 million units have been produced so far.

1974:   Debut of the first Golf
1976:   500,000th Golf in March
           1,000,000th Golf in October
           First Golf GTI
           First Golf with diesel engine
1978:   2,000,000th  Golf in June
           Debut of the US version Rabbit in July
1979:   3,000,000th Golf in September
           First Golf Cabriolet
           Minor facelift
1982:   5,000,000th Golf in February
           First Golf with turbodiesel engine

Mk II (1984 until 1992)

The Golf Mk II followed in 1983, and in the UK the following year.  Over 6.3 million units of this generation were produced in ten years – on average approximately 630,000 units per year.

1983:   Debut of the second Golf
1984:   Debut of the second Golf GTI
1985:   7,000,000th Golf in March
1986:   First Golf (GTI) with 16-valve petrol engine
1987:   ABS available for all GT and GTI models
           Minor facelift
1988:   Debut of the Rallye Golf G60 – some LHD examples imported to UK
          10,000,000th Golf in June
1989:  11,000,000th Golf in October
1990:   All Golf petrol models available with closed-loop catalytic converters from February
          1,000,000th Golf GTI in November
          12,000,000th Golf in November

Mk III (1992 until 1998)

The Golf Mk III, of which 4.8 million units were built, was launched on to the UK market in 1992.

1991:   Debut of the third Golf
           First Golf diesel with oxidation catalytic converter
           First Golf with six-cylinder engine (VR6); simultaneously
           the first model in the lower mid-range with a six-cylinder engine
1992:   13,000,000th Golf in February
           Driver and front passenger airbag available from August
1993:   First Golf with turbodiesel direct injection (TDI) engine
           Debut of the second Golf Cabriolet
           First Golf Estate
          14,000,000th Golf in March
1994:  15,000,000th Golf in May
1995:   First Golf with naturally aspirated diesel direct injection (SDI) engine
1996:   20th anniversary of the Golf GTI / anniversary model of the Golf GTI
           First Golf GTI with turbodiesel engine
           17,000,000th Golf in November

Mk IV (1998 until 2004)

The Golf Mk IV debuted in 1997, and was launched in the UK in 1998.  Over the last seven years until 2003, 4.3 million units of the best-seller were produced and, on average, approximately 614,000 units were sold per year.

1997:   Debut of the first Golf with fully galvanised body
           First Golf with five-cylinder engine (V5)
1998:   Debut of the new Golf Cabriolet
           First Golf 4MOTION with Haldex viscous coupling
           Introduction of optional ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme)
1999:   Second Golf Estate launched
           First TDI engines with Pumpe Düse unit-injector technology in the Golf
           19,000,000th Golf in June
2002:   Golf GTI 180 PS launched as special edition marking the 25th anniversary  of the Golf GTI in the UK
           Production of the Golf overtakes the Beetle; at 21,517,415 units it becomes the most-produced Volkswagen model to date
           Debut of the Golf R32, the most powerful in production Golf ever with241 PS
2002    becomes the Golf’s best year in the UK to date, with 72,362 units sold, while it also finishes the year as the country’s best-selling diesel car
2003:   End of year: phase-out of the fourth generation Golf after sales of more than 4.3 million units

Mk V (2004)

The Golf Mk V made its international debut in 2003, and was launched in the UK in 2004.
2003:   September – world premiere at Frankfurt motor show
2004:   January 30 – UK launch
           August – Sport added to model line-up
2005:   January – GTI launched in the UK
           November – R32 on sale in the UK
2006:   October – Match replaces SE trim level
2007:   May – GT Sport replaces GT and Sport trim levels

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