Golf GTI MK VII

On 4 September 2012, 38 years after the original model redefined the small family car, the all-new Golf was unveiled in Berlin ahead of its public debut at the Paris Motor Show later that month.  Few cars have a history like that of the Volkswagen Golf, yet with global sales having reached 30 million in June 2013, and in its seventh generation, the latest Golf continues to offer buyers a car which sets benchmarks in comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency.

The GTI version was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013, with sales in the UK starting just a month later.  The first Golf GTI, launched 40 years ago, defined a fundamental standard for dynamic performance that was more precise than any other compact car.

The affordable Volkswagen also made automotive sportiness more attainable than ever. Everything was simply right about it – the safe and taut chassis, the agile and fuel-efficient injection engine and the car’s styling that was as unmistakable as it was timeless.  All of this combined with the insignias of a future icon – a red stripe around the radiator grille, a black border around the rear windscreen, a sport steering wheel like in the Scirocco Coupé, a golf ball as a gear shift grip, ergonomically perfect sport seats with a classic tartan design and a name that would never be forgotten: GTI.

In 2015 the Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 was announced.  This model celebrates the 40th anniversary of the iconic Golf GTI.  The car’s production is time-limited, with around 1000 expected to be sold in the UK.  The car features a variety of developments to make it stand out from the Golf GTI.  Chief among these is a retuned engine that gives 265 PS, allowing a zero to 62 mph time of 6.3 seconds.  The car’s ‘party trick’ is an ‘overboost’ function.  This increases the power output to 290 PS for around 10 seconds when under hard acceleration.

The GTI Clubsport Edition 40’s handling characteristics have been perfected by virtue of a new spring layout, newly tuned dampers and optimised bump stops.  These measures, working alongside the specially modified aerodynamics, combine to deliver high levels of agility and steering precision along with extremely precise driving stability at high speed, linear and predictable vehicle reactions and optimised grip.

Just a few months after the Clubsport Edition 40 was announced, the Golf GTI Clubsport S was unveiled.  Only 400 examples of the ‘S’ were built, with 150 of those reaching the UK.  These sold out in a matter of weeks.  The Clubsport S legend was underlined when the car took the front-wheel drive lap record around the gruelling Nürburgring Nordschleife in May 2016.

The Golf GTI, GTI Clubsport Edition 40 and Clubsport S are highly tuned developments of the standard Volkswagen Golf.

Despite offering more room for passengers and more advanced technological features than previous versions, new production techniques contributed to the Golf Mk VII being up to 100 kg lighter than the car it replaced, helping to make it up to 23 per cent more efficient than before.  On top of this, the current Golf is safer than ever thanks not just to a stronger body structure (which is also 23 kg lighter) but also to a raft of standard and optional passive and active safety systems.

The Golf is built on the so-called MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix.  This standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes, and allows access to new powertrains and technologies, including innovations in the areas of safety and infotainment, which until now were reserved for vehicles in higher segments.

The Golf is 4,255 mm long, with a wheelbase of 2,637 mm.  The Golf is 1,799 mm wide and 1,452 mm tall.  It has a drag co-efficient of 0.29 Cd. 

The latest Golf’s overall design is unmistakably that of a Golf, thanks to a design DNA that has evolved through the decades.  Walter de Silva, former Head of Design for Volkswagen AG, said: ‘One of the keys to the Golf’s success lies in its continuity.  There are a handful of cars with a design that, like the Golf’s, has been refined, tweaked and enhanced down the decades and thus become timeless.’

The centre console of the latest Golf is angled more towards the driver, giving him or her easier, more ergonomic and direct access to auxiliary controls, including the touch-screen infotainment systems.  All Golf models have touch-screen systems as standard, with the GTI getting the Discover Navigation system.  Features include a 6.5-inch colour touch-screen, DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information.  Between the front seats, space is increased by virtue of the electronic parking brake with auto hold feature.

The current Golf GTI is powered by a 2.0-litre TSI engine with 220 PS and 350 Nm of torque (up 70 Nm from Mk VI).  For the first time, a second power option is available from the factory through the GTI Performance pack.  This gives an additional 10 PS, an electrically actuated mechanical front differential lock and larger brakes.  Despite the high power output, the Golf GTI is EU6 emissions compliant, and returns 47.1 mpg combined with 139 g/km of carbon dioxide (a fuel economy enhancement of 18 per cent).  

Summary

  • Current Golf made Paris Show debut on 27 September 2012, 38 years after the original model (first shown in May 1974) redefined the small family car.  By June 2013, 30 million Golfs had been sold worldwide, of which over 1.6 million found homes in the UK
  • Design of seventh generation is an evolution of Golf styling, demonstrating Volkswagen’s ‘DNA’; under the surface, use of the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix brings fundamental changes
  • The Golf is 4,255 mm long with a wheelbase of 2,637 mm.  It is 1,799 mm wide and 1,452 mm tall.  Boot capacity is 380 litres, while a low 665 mm sill makes loading easy
  • Despite being larger, new production techniques and developments contribute to the Golf Mk VII being up to 100 kg lighter than the car it replaced, and up to 23 per cent more fuel efficient; the Golf is also safer than ever, due to a stronger body structure
  • Safety systems include as standard an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System that automatically brakes the vehicle after a collision to reduce kinetic energy significantly and thus minimise the chance or consequences of a second impact
  • Also available is a PreCrash system which, on detecting the possibility of an accident, pre-tensions seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof, leaving just a small gap, to ensure the airbags provide the best possible protection
  • Other electronic aids include Automatic Distance Control, Driver Alert System, Front Assist and City Emergency Braking (all standard on the Golf GTI), all of which can reduce or eliminate the chance of accidents occurring
  • In the cabin the minor controls are angled more towards the driver.  The Discover Navigation touch-screen infotainment system is standard on the GTI and brings a range of features including DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information
  • The Golf GTI’s engine is a development of the EA288 2.0-litre TSI unit, with 220 PS or optionally 230 PS.  It returns 47.1 mpg and 139 g/km
  • Standard on the GTI for the first time is a driver profile selection facility which allows the driver to choose from four modes – Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual.  With Dynamic Chassis Control, an option on GTI, a fifth option – Comfort – is also offered.  Each of these modes alters the engine mapping (among other parameters) to the chosen style
  • Other new technologies include the latest Park Assist, which allows the Golf to park itself parallel to the kerb in a space no more than 80 cm longer than the vehicle, and cope automatically with end-on bay parking

Market information

The Golf is Europe’s best-selling car, and the best-selling Volkswagen in the UK.  It competes in the lower medium class, and is 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. 

The Golf GTI competes with the Ford Focus ST, Renault Megane RS and Seat Leon Cupra.

In 2015, 71,788 Golf (Mk VII) hatchbacks were sold in the UK.  This includes around 2,800 GTIs.  It compares with 54,900 Polos, 16,904 up! and 20,208 Passats as the top-selling Volkswagen models.

Production

The Golf is primarily produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Wolfsburg, where state of the art production systems and assembly technologies are employed to combine strength, low weight, high quality and low production costs.

Volkswagen’s factory grounds in Wolfsburg occupy an area of more than 2.3 square miles.  The 0.6 sq miles taken up by factory buildings could comfortably contain the Principality of Monaco.  The network of roads linking the individual production facilities, storage halls, administration buildings and external facilities, is 20.8 miles long, while the plant’s rail network totals 19.4 miles, on which seven locomotives and two shunting robots operate.

The world’s largest single car-manufacturing complex employed around 60,400 people in 2015 and produces the Golf, Golf Plus, Touran and Tiguan.  About 815,000 vehicles rolled off the assembly lines in 2015.  Apart from car production, component manufacture is another cornerstone of activities at Wolfsburg. The components produced here, including drive shafts and injection-moulded parts, are used in vehicle production in Wolfsburg and at other Group plants.

With its “Think Blue. Factory.” initiative, the Volkswagen brand set itself clear targets for the environmentally sustainable positioning of all its plants.  By 2018, the aim was to reduce the environmental impact of all Volkswagen plants by 25 per cent.  Specifically, this meant 25 per cent lower energy and water consumption, waste volumes and emissions at all plants.

This target was met by the end of 2015. Taking the average of the five agreed environmental indicators for the Volkswagen brand, environmental impact was reduced by precisely 25.3 per cent, with energy consumption down by 24.7 per cent, CO? emissions by 29.1 per cent, waste production by as much as 46.5 per cent, water consumption by 18.2 per cent and solvent emissions by 8.2 per cent between 2010 and the end of 2015.

Part of the “Think Blue. Factory.” programme involved the Wolfsburg plant introducing the Modular Production System (MPB), which made production more environmentally compatible.  Another contribution to sustained energy saving was the Energy Path which featured a large number of practical examples showing precisely where and how energy could be saved.  These included an electric vehicle recharging station with photovoltaic panels and wind turbine and the optimisation of heating pumps featuring demand-oriented control to save energy.

The two power stations operated in Wolfsburg by Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH generate power and heat not only for the Volkswagen plant, but also the city of Wolfsburg.  The two power stations have a power generating capacity of 442 megawatts.  

This combined heat and power system converts 53.3 per cent of the heat in the fuel into usable energy against a maximum of 38 per cent for a normal coal-fired power station.  (Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change.)

Every day, around 150 double-deck rail cars and about 160 transporter trucks leave the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg with a cargo of some 2,600 vehicles.  Incoming deliveries from around 1,900 suppliers arrive at the plant in about 150 or so rail carriages and 700 trucks every day.

ENGINE

The Golf GTI VII is powered by an advanced engine of the EA888 series – a two-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine (TSI) with a new cylinder head design. The TSI produces 220 PS (from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm). The sports car icon is optionally available in a performance-enhanced version as the Golf GTI Performance. In this version, the engine produces 230 PS (from 4,700 to 6,200 rpm). Both GTI versions are equipped with a Start/Stop system as standard and, with a 6-speed gearbox, they attain the same low NEDC fuel consumption of 6.0 l/100 km (CO?: 139 g/km). The combined fuel consumption of the new Golf GTI was thereby reduced by 1.3 litres per 100 km, or 18 per cent, compared to the previous model.

A 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option for both power levels. The recognised high agility of the Golf GTI has been increased once again in the new model compared to the previous model. In two stages:

Stage 1 – the standard GTI: The 220 PS base version now outputs 10 PS more than the previous model. At the same time, its maximum torque was increased by a considerable 70 Nm to 350 Nm (from 1,500 to 4,400 rpm). Equipped in this way, the Golf GTI makes its appearance with highly superior flexibility values: in fourth gear, the Golf GTI accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h in 5.0 seconds; in fifth gear, it takes 6.0 seconds. The Golf GTI accelerates to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 246 km/h.

Stage 2 – the GTI Performance: Those choosing a Golf GTI with the performance pack ignite the second stage. As mentioned, the car’s power is increased by 10 PS here, while its maximum torque is identical. The 230 PS of power enables a top speed of 250 km/h and just 6.4 seconds for the sprint to 100 km/h. Its maximum torque of 350 Nm is available from 1,500 to 4,600 rpm.

Advanced petrol turbocharged direct injection engine (TSI)

The engine of the Golf GTI is based on the EA888 four-cylinder engine series − now in its third generation. Compared to the previous engine generation, numerous technical details were modified to reduce fuel consumption and emissions while simultaneously increasing power and torque values.

As a result, the new model is the first Golf GTI to conform to limits of the Euro-6 emissions standard.

Efficient thermal management

The turbocharged direct petrol injection engine is marked by innovative technical modifications such as exhaust gas cooling integrated in the cylinder head and a dual injection system with both direct injection and multi point injection. The fully-electronic coolant control system of the TSI enables significantly more efficient thermal management with a shorter warm-up phase; this reduces friction losses, which efficiently improves fuel economy.

A new type of rotary vane module was developed for intelligent thermal management control.

This makes it possible to fully block coolant entry into the engine or adjust to a minimal volumetric flow in the engine warm-up phase. In the hot operating state, the coolant temperature can be adjusted quickly and fully variably to various temperatures as a function of engine load and external constraints.

Newly developed cylinder head

A unique innovation in this power class is a water-cooled exhaust gas circulation loop to the turbocharger that is fully integrated in the newly developed cylinder head.  This type of exhaust cooling makes an important contribution towards reducing fuel consumption at full load in the new Golf GTI.  In addition, the 1,984 cc TSI has variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment.  In addition, the valve lift on the exhaust side can be switched over two stages.

This enables optimal control of the charge exchange process for better performance, fuel economy and low emissions.  As noted, a dual injection system – with direct injection and multi point injection – was also implemented to conform to the Euro-6 emissions standard.  Since the system can freely choose the injection type that is optimal at any given time, it is possible to reduce particulate emissions over broad map regions and also reduce fuel consumption.  Another focus of development was to significantly reduce internal friction.  This involved such modifications as changing over the balancer shafts to anti-friction bearings, optimising the crankshaft drive and developing an oil pump that operates only as needed.  In parallel, the weight of the GTI engine was reduced as well.

A large portion of the savings came from the thin-wall crankcase that is only 3 mm thick, a weight-optimised crankshaft, exhaust gas cooling by integrating the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head, a plastic oil pan and the use of aluminium screws.

Eco mode: driver profile selection

The Golf GTI has a standard driver profile selection facility (see Technology highlights section for details) which allows the driver to choose an operating mode which suits their style and journey.  One of the available modes is ‘Eco’, whereby the engine management, air conditioning and ancillary systems are controlled to achieve maximum fuel efficiency.  Vehicles with a DSG gearbox have an additional coasting function in Eco mode which disengages the gear to allow the engine to idle, thereby ensuring better utilisation of the car’s kinetic energy and better fuel economy. 

Gearboxes

As detailed above, the Golf GTI can be ordered with a dual-clutch six-speed gearbox (DSG).  It is designed to offer the best combination of fuel-efficiency and shifting dynamics.  Two dry clutches are used in the seven-speed DSG.

First launched in 2005, Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Theoretically, it is two gearboxes in one.

Servicing

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

The Fixed Service regime is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly urban 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, hard acceleration and heavy braking

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

Flexible Service is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, 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 Flexible regime, the vehicle can cover typically between 10,000 and a maximum of 20,000 miles or 24 months (whichever is sooner) between oil changes.  An inspection service is typically due at the end of the second year of ownership or at 20,000 miles and thereafter every year or 20,000 miles, whichever is soonest.

Customers can choose between Fixed and Flexible 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

The latest generation Golf GTI has sport suspension and new progressive steering.  The progressive steering resolves the conflict between comfort and sportiness.  Additionally, a new front differential lock is used exclusively in the Golf GTI Performance.

In developing the running gear for the seventh generation Golf, engineers set out to exploit the advantages of the Modular Transverse Matrix (or MQB platform – see separate section for full details), and certain proven components were further advanced to perfect the car’s ride and comfort properties.  At the same time, weight reduction was a clear priority, in order to maximise the reduction in fuel consumption and enhance ride comfort. 

In order to allow the greatest possible weight reduction, a new modular lightweight rear suspension system was developed for Golf models with under 122 PS, which weighs just 38 kg.  For the more powerful versions, including the GTI, performance suspension was used, weighing 49 kg.

The Golf GTI is offered with a standard sport suspension that is tuned to the higher power of the car.  The body was lowered 15 mm compared to the less powerful Golf models. In front, a MacPherson suspension provides for precise tracking; at the rear, there is the modular performance suspension. Equipped as standard with the further advanced XDSPlus vehicle dynamic function and the new progressive steering system (significantly smaller steering angle input required from one end stop to the other: just over two full turns), the Golf GTI is advancing more than ever into the realm of high-class and significantly more expensive sports cars with its agile and safe handling properties.

Golf GTI Performance

The optional Performance pack boosts power to 230 PS, and has a front differential lock that was exclusively developed for this version.  The advantages of the GTI-specific sport suspension, new progressive steering system, further advanced XDSPlus vehicle dynamic function and electronic front differential lock all add up to handling that is far superior to that of the majority of competitors.  The Golf GTI Performance is also equipped with internally-ventilated disc brakes at all four wheels.  The brake system uses 340 x 30 mm discs at the front and 310 x 22 mm at the rear wheels.  The 220 PS GTI has internally-ventilated discs at the front wheels and unventilated discs at the rear (front: 314 x 30 mm; rear: 300 x 12 mm).

Vehicle dynamics

The running gear layout of the Golf GTI has been tuned for maximum driving fun combined with a high level of vehicle stability.  Drivers will notice that steering response is more agile than in previous Golfs thanks to more direct steering gear ratios.  Maximum attainable speeds through bends were also increased, because of more neutral running gear tuning and optimisations of the XDSPlus system.  In the Golf GTI Performance, the transverse acceleration potential was further increased by the front differential lock; this is especially true of the car’s acceleration out of bends.

Applicable to both versions of the new Golf GTI, is that their neutral handling in bends goes hand in hand with good vehicle stability right up to the maximum speed range, thanks to an innovative and careful layout of all running gear components.  This exceptionally high vehicle stability is especially noticeable during lane changes and during engine load changes.  The development team also made a special effort to tune the Golf GTI for harmonious and predictable reactions of the running gear.

In parallel to improvements to vehicle dynamics, suspension comfort was enhanced relative to the previous model.  For example, the acceleration forces acting on passengers when driving over small and large road bumps have been noticeably reduced.  The comfort levels realised in the Golf GTI show that sporty handling does not necessarily involve unpleasant ride harshness.  The described broad array of positive handling properties – direct, neutral and stable handling up to performance limits combined with a high level of ride comfort – make the driving properties of the seventh generation Golf GTI unique in the competitive field.

XDSPlus

The XDS system that was first introduced in the Golf VI was further developed into the advanced XDSPlus system for the current Golf GTI.  Technically, the XDSPlus electronic differential lock is a functionality that is integrated in the electronic stabilisation programme (ESC) for improved vehicle dynamics.  XDSPlus is an extension of XDS, which is familiar from the previous model; its functionality has now been extended to cover all unbraked driving states.

The new system improves agility and reduces the need for steering angle inputs by targeted brake interventions at the wheels on the inside of the bend of both axles.  In addition, XDSPlus is effective over all conceivable road friction values; it results in more precise handling, even on snow.  The well-known benefits of XDS – such as significantly reduced understeer and improved traction – were also perfected.

Front differential lock

A newly engineered electronic front differential lock is being used exclusively in the Golf GTI Performance.  To date, Volkswagen is the only carmaker to utilise an electronically controlled differential lock in a front-wheel drive production model.  Compared to purely mechanical locks, the front differential lock integrated in the Golf GTI Performance offers advantages such as a variable degree of locking and comprehensive interfaces to the ESC, EDS and XDSPlus functions.  This makes it possible to completely avoid negative effects on steering response and steering precision that otherwise occur with mechanical locks.  As a result, the system realises the full potential and maximum performance of a differential lock with regard to vehicle dynamics, because comfort is not impaired under any circumstances.

Functionality of the front differential lock

The front differential lock doesn’t use any of the engine’s power.  It utilises a multi-plate unit located between the right side driveshaft and the differential case.  The hydraulic pressure needed to actuate the plates is generated by an electric motor driven piston pump.  The locking moment that is generated here is proportional to the hydraulic pressure.  The hydraulic pressure is controlled by the pump speed that is prescribed by a control module.  This control module takes numerous parameter inputs – such as wheel speed, vehicle speed, yaw rate and transverse acceleration – and computes the ideal locking moment.

1,600 Nm maximum locking moment

If the control module detects wheel slip at one of the front wheels, the plates are actuated to redistribute the drive torque from the wheel with the lower grip level to the wheel with the higher level.  The maximum locking moment is 1,600 Nm, so that if necessary all of the drive torque can be directed to just one front wheel; that corresponds to a locking value of 100 per cent.  This produces maximum traction for a front-wheel drive vehicle, even under difficult road conditions and in turning situations.

Torque vectoring effect

When accelerating out of a bend, the drive torque is increased at the wheel on the outside of the bend.  This produces an asymmetrical drive torque distribution that matches the dynamic wheel load distribution.  This is known as a ‘torque vectoring effect’ which reduces acceleration-related understeer.  As a result, the Golf GTI Performance handles neutrally and precisely tracks along the ideal line.  The existing grip level is optimally exploited.  This lets the driver apply much greater force to the accelerator pedal at the apex of a bend, which in turn results in significantly higher exit speeds of the Golf GTI Performance out of bends.

Electronic Stability Control – ESC

The latest-generation ESC system developed for the latest Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.  Essentially, ESC is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur ESC reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusting the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started. 

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

The latest generation of ESC fitted to the Golf has a finer response, counter-steering recommendation and offers trailer stabilisation.  This function can be activated by a Volkswagen Retailer when a Volkswagen-approved towbar is fitted.  This system extends the capability of the normal ESC purely through a software extension.  It does not require additional sensors. 

When the onset of yawing of a trailer is detected by the ESC control module the system automatically reduces or cuts engine power and applies the brakes to appropriate wheels dynamically in phase with the yawing to oppose the snaking motion and stabilise the vehicle/trailer combination.  When stability is achieved the brakes and engine power return to normal control.  During the automatic braking process the brake lights are turned on even though the driver may not be touching the brake pedal.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The Golf uses the latest generation electro-mechanical power steering system which is able to vary the feel at 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, such as crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Progressive steering

Progressive steering is standard on the GTI.  It lets drivers make a turn of a given radius with smaller steering wheel inputs than with conventional steering, thanks to a varied (or progressive) steering gear ratio.  On Golfs with standard steering, it takes 2.75 turns lock to lock (500 degrees).  With progressive steering, this is reduced to 2.1 turns (380 degrees).  As well as providing an even more enjoyable and dynamic driving experience, progressive steering requires perceptibly less steering effort in parking and manoeuvring.

Technically, progressive steering differs from the basic steering system primarily by the rack’s variable tooth spacing and a more powerful electric motor.

DCC dynamic chassis control

A second generation DCC dynamic chassis control system is at work in the Golf GTI.  DCC offers the three driving modes ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’, which are now selected and displayed under ‘Driving profile selector’ on the touchscreen of the centre console.  Besides offering a ‘Normal’ mode, the DCC system, which was specially tuned for the GTI, now offers the ‘Comfort’ mode, which is indeed comfort-oriented but still reflects typical GTI properties.  In ‘Sport’ mode, especially dynamic and agile handling is implemented.  In the ‘Individual’ driving profile, the DCC mode can even be configured with any other desired driving profile properties.

The DCC system adaptively regulates the damper valves via a further developed and refined Volkswagen control algorithm which sets the damper characteristic.  In doing so, DCC evaluates input signals from wheel displacement sensors and accelerometers as well as vehicle bus information from the Chassis-CAN bus.  It then computes the optimal damper force for every driving situation and adaptively adjusts this force.  Damping forces are selectively applied to the four wheels individually.

In the new DCC generation, it is now also possible to fully independently vary rebound and compression damping for transverse dynamic manoeuvres – a significant benefit in optimising vehicle dynamics.  The damper valves were also modified for further improved response.

MacPherson-type front suspension

A MacPherson front suspension (spring struts) with a newly developed low wishbone and track-stabilising scrub radius enables optimal handling and steering in the GTI as well as a balanced response to vibration.  All components were reworked for improved functionality, weight and cost.  This resulted in a weight savings of 1.6 kg compared to the previous model.  This was made possible, for example, by the use of high-strength steel in the transverse links and an innovative bionic approach to designing the pivot bearings.  The subframe is centrally positioned on the front axle; its frame − designed for maximum transverse rigidity − handles loads from the engine mounts and steering as well as loads of the front suspension components.

The now fully tubular anti-roll bar has a spring rate that was specifically tuned for the handling of the new GTI.  The rubber bearings are vulcanised directly onto the painted anti-roll tube; this assures optimal acoustic properties and optimises the responsiveness of the anti-roll bar which is important to vehicle dynamics.  A new aluminium pivot bearing was also designed for the GTI.  The use of aluminium and the bionic design of this pivot bearing enabled a weight reduction of 2.8 kg.  Compared to the previous model, the location of the centre of motion was moderately raised for quicker and more precise response of the new GTI front suspension.

Modular performance rear suspension

The modular lightweight rear suspension system consists of a transverse torsion beam that is open at the bottom, into which an insert plate is welded at the outer ends.  Different torsional stiffness rates for different versions are attained by different lengths of the insert plates.  This yields a considerable weight saving compared to a welded tubular anti-roll bar.  The use of a transverse profile that is open at the bottom also enables optimal roll/steer behaviour and high transverse rigidity.  By using high-strength steels and innovative design methods, Volkswagen succeeded in significantly increasing rigidity compared with previous suspension systems of this construction type.  Despite this, its weight was reduced.

The rear suspension of the Golf GTI was further developed from the perspectives of improved kinematics, acoustics, weight situation and modularity.  However, nothing has changed with regard to its fundamental approach of consistently separating longitudinal and transverse rigidities.  The low longitudinal rigidity has been preserved by the soft axle control of the trailing link; this was a necessary precondition for further improving ride comfort.

Furthermore, compared with the previous generation, Volkswagen successfully improved the transverse rigidity of the modular performance suspension, which is important for steering behaviour, by a new tie rod bearing tuning.  Tracking and camber values are individually tuned by screws on the spring link and at the upper transverse link according to requirement for each vehicle type.  Key design changes to the rear suspension are the connections of the tubular antiroll bar and the suspension damper, which are now made at the spring link.  This reduces forces within the suspension, while in addition the suspension was made 4.0 kg or eight per cent (depending on model) lighter thanks to structural optimisations of many components and the use of high-strength steels.

Hydraulic Brake Assist

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, the 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.

Electronic parking brake with auto hold function

All Golf models have an electronic parking brake which is operated via a switch between the front seats, as opposed to the ‘pull up’ handle from the previous generation.  This also incorporates a standard auto hold function.  This is activated via a button near the gear lever and is useful when the car is regularly stopping for short periods, for example when driving in heavy traffic.  In this case, the parking brake is applied automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake, preventing it from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is then released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.

If auto hold has been switched on when the vehicle ignition is on, it will automatically be switched on the next time the vehicle is started.  Likewise if auto hold has been switched off when the vehicle ignition is on, it will automatically be switched off the next time the vehicle is started.

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS AND DESIGN

The MQB platform

The Golf Mk VII was the first Volkswagen model to be based upon the Volkswagen Group’s MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix.  The introduction of the MQB strategy represented a turning point in the design and production of future automobiles with transverse-mounted engines as it standardised many vehicle component parameters – across brands and vehicle classes – and at the same time, it offered access to new technologies.

The MQB extends from the A0 to the B segment.  At the Volkswagen brand, for example, it covers the following models: Polo, Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Tiguan, Touran, Sharan, Passat and Volkswagen CC.  In the future, all of these models could theoretically be produced on the same assembly line – despite their different wheelbases and track widths.  It will also be possible to produce MQB models of different brands together.

One of the prominent characteristics of the Modular Transverse Matrix is the uniform mounting position of all engines.  Two systems integrated in the MQB strategy which play a key role here are the modular petrol engine system (MOB) with the EA211 engine series (60 to 150 PS) – this range includes the world’s first four-cylinder production engine with cylinder deactivation (ACT) – and the modular diesel engine system (MDB) with the new EA288 engine series (90 to 190 PS).

By introducing this engine series, the number of engine and gearbox variants offered by the Group was reduced by around 90 per cent, without restricting choice.  On the contrary; in addition to standardising conventional internal combustion engines, the MQB also enables an identical mounting position for all current alternative drive concepts without limitations – from natural gas and hybrid versions to the pure electric drive, such as the e-Golf that is on sale today.

The MQB opened up new opportunities at the Volkswagen Group, allowing it to produce high-volume and niche models at the highest quality and extremely competitive costs over the long term and worldwide – vehicles that are individually tailored to the requirements of very diverse markets such as Europe, China and America, as well as emerging markets such as India.  In parallel, the Volkswagen Group significantly reduced vehicle weights with the launch of the first MQB model series, and introduced 20 innovations in the areas of safety and infotainment.  Many of these innovations were reserved for higher vehicle segments, including for example the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System which, after an initial collision, helps to reduce the intensity of secondary collisions by automatically initiated braking.  This system is standard on all Golf models.

Within the Group, the MQB developed under the auspices of the Volkswagen brand is supplemented by the Modular Longitudinal System (MLB) from Audi, the Modular Standard System (MSB) with Porsche as the competence centre and finally the ‘New Small Family’ – the most compact vehicle model series with the Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii and ŠKODA Citigo.

DESIGN

Exterior

In developing the Golf, the teams led by then head designers Walter de Silva (Volkswagen Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand) based their work on a great deal of creative freedom that allowed many different approaches for a new design, while also focusing on the principles of what is now commonly termed, the Volkswagen ‘design DNA’.

Over recent years, Volkswagen designers have crystallised a selection of core elements from the brand’s history, which they term its ‘historic DNA’.  All current Volkswagen designs correspond to this DNA, with the cars conveying a modern, progressive impression, which nevertheless feels familiar.  This DNA includes elements such as the reduced form of the radiator grille crossbeam, the look of the side windows as well as the first Golf’s roofline and the Golf Mk VI’s typical C-pillars and wheel arches.

This DNA creates a unique, unmistakable language of product features and design.  The language of product features leaves a familiar feeling, and yet it creates a new sensation in the eyes of the observer. The features are visual characteristics such as functionality, robustness, honesty and reliability.  These characteristics are generated by a ‘language of form’ perfected over many years.

‘This language of form,’ explains Bischoff, ‘is logical, solid, product-focused, pure and precise, and it reflects the brand’s design DNA as a perfect model of creativity.  This makes the base architecture of the Golf unmistakable.  It comes over as simple, strong, understandable, reliable and safe.  When one begins with the pure element of this clear base architecture, details such as the economical use and placement of sculptural lines seem more like fine nuances.  Another extremely important point is that the Golf’s proportions have changed with the seventh generation, making the car look more confident than ever before.’

Marc Lichte, lead exterior designer, explains: ‘The proportions have changed, as we have taken advantage of the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) here.  The front wheels, for example, have moved 43 mm further forward.  The front overhang is therefore shorter, while the bonnet looks longer.’  Klaus Bischoff confirms this: ‘Visually, the passenger compartment has been shifted towards the rear, creating what is called a ‘cab backward’ impression.  That’s what we call the proportions of premium-class vehicles, where the bonnet is long and the passenger compartment a long way towards the back.  On the current Golf, we thus have proportions that you otherwise only get in higher-class segments of the market.’

In pure dimensional terms the Golf Mk VII is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, giving it a more dynamic stance.  Thanks to a longer wheelbase, however, it has more interior space and a larger boot.

Comparison of Golfs Mk VI and VII:

 

 

Golf Mk VII

Golf Mk VI

Difference

length, mm

4255

4199

+56

width, w/out door mirrors, mm (5dr)

1799

1786

+13

height, mm

1452

1479

-28

wheelbase, mm

2637

2578

+59

maximum luggage capacity

 

 

 

w/out rear seat folded, litres

380

350

+30

with        rear seat folded, litres

1270

1305

-35

Side profile

Marc Lichte: ‘We sought to emphasise these modified proportions with design elements.  Below the door handles, we have integrated the now clearly visible and very sharp character line.  While this line is interrupted by the wheelarches, it is otherwise continuous and is stylistically reflected in the chrome bars of the radiator grille and headlights and at the back in the white lateral bars of the rear light clusters.  Set deep down all the way around, this line lowers the visual centre of gravity and gives the car a more solid stance on the road.  Another striking element is the new line along the side shoulder directly below the windows.  This line begins at the front in the headlight, and then glides under the wing mirror, which is positioned right on the line, all the way through to the rear side window, underscoring the premium proportions of the Golf.’  The wheelarches are particularly prominent as well, and along with the wider track, longer wheelbase and tyre dimensions of up to 18 inches, they make the Golf appear more powerful.

‘Two other features,’ explains Bischoff, ‘are characteristic of the Golf silhouette: the C-pillar and the roofline.  On the previous Golf, the character line still cut through the C-pillar.  This is no longer the case on the new Golf.  The C-pillar runs along one homogenous surface from the start of the roof all the way to the rear wheel arch.  Above the wheelarch, however, it picks up more strongly the entire width of the car – and as a result, when viewed from behind or diagonally from the rear, the new Golf looks more powerful.  Viewed from the side, the precision of the C-pillar design catches the eye; it resembles the drawn string of a bow, giving the Golf a look of acceleration even while it is standing still.  At the same time, it pays homage to the Golf Mk II and Mk IV – both design icons.’

On the right-hand side of the vehicle, even the shape of the fuel cap is integrated into this arrow element.  Head Designer Klaus Bischoff continues: ‘The contour of the roofline has also been redesigned.  Here – above the side windows – the Golf displays another line, which runs from the roof-edge spoiler right through to the A-pillars.  It is one of those features that give the Golf a particularly sophisticated look from the side as well – a line that at first glance may remain unnoticed, yet is a further detail en route to visual precision.’

The designers have systematically exploited this potential of proportions to give the Golf GTI a more impressive stance on the road than ever before. Like the very first Golf GTI, the seventh generation also sports typical GTI insignia. On the new model they include the red trim strip on the radiator grille that now extends into the headlights. Also typically GTI VII are the additional air inlet openings in the front spoiler; a honeycomb structure of the air inlet screens; vertical fog lights; xenon headlights with an unmistakable light signature; the larger rear spoiler; distinctive, large tailpipes of the exhaust system that are arranged far outboard and finally the alloy wheels that were specially designed for the Golf GTI. Certainly, the visual effect of the standard 18-inch alloy wheels (‘Austin’ type) and their interplay with the GTI sport suspension (with a 15 mm lower ride height) should not be underestimated.

Front section

The Volkswagen design DNA manifests itself in a ‘face’ that has appealing features.  In addition, in the same way as on the first Golf, it defines horizontally balanced elements that create a certain width.  Together they produce a front section that is recognisable in every rear view window as that of a Volkswagen.  Each Volkswagen class has its own character attributes in this respect.  In the Golf class these include, for example, the slightly upward sweeping headlights and a defined maximum height for the radiator grille.

Compared to its predecessor, the current Golf displays completely restructured modulation of its surfaces.  While on the Golf Mk VI the wings were higher than the bonnet – effectively framing it – this is now the other way round.  On the sides, the crease lines form the wings’ lowest points, before the latter transition vertically into the wheelarches.  The top border of the wings is formed by a line, as if cut by a knife, which begins at the A-pillars.  All of the lines together form a V-shaped bonnet.

In the front area with its LED fog lights (optional) that were customised to the GTI,

there is another strong and significant GTI element that was completely reinterpreted: the red line on the radiator grille. At one time, on the first Golf GTI, it completely surrounded the rectangular radiator grille. On the sixth generation GTI, two red stripes were used which framed the top and bottom of the grille. Now, in the seventh generation, the red stripe terminates the lower edge of the radiator. The air inlet is now framed by a body-coloured area that even with the car’s very confident look gives it the typical Volkswagen smile.  Particularly striking are the LED daytime running lights of the xenon headlights. 

At the very bottom of the bumper, beneath the cross panel painted in body colour, the black air inlet (with its honeycomb structure screen) is now no longer surrounded by another black area, rather by surfaces painted in body colour. In this way, the air inlet makes a stronger impression; simultaneously, the three lateral, high-gloss black aerodynamic fins beneath the headlights also terminate the front end. Another detail fitting in with the precisely contoured styling is the black splitter (lower edge of the front spoiler), which is familiar from motorsport.

Rear section

Typical Golf elements at the rear include the clear geometry of the rear lights, the rear window stretching all the way to the C-pillars and the large uniform surface around the Volkswagen badge.  In fact, even without the badge or model name the seventh generation of this best-seller is instantly recognisable as a Golf.  And yet every line is new.  That applies both to the rear light clusters that terminate narrower on the inside and terminate parallel to the C-pillar on the outside (with striking L-shaped light contours) and to the tailgate, which reaches much lower down and offers one of the lowest boot sill heights in its class (665 mm).  

A horizontal light-refracting edge near the bottom of the tailgate, which continues on the bumper, and the boot sill running parallel below this emphasise the sportily full width of the new Golf.  These elements also correspond to the lines of the now much more pronounced bumper that is visually ‘pulled out’ towards the rear.  The bumper itself is fully painted right down to the bottom, with only the centrally integrated diffuser, which also incorporates the exhaust pipe, kept black.

Another example of the harmonious integration of GTI specific elements is the roof spoiler design, which is considerably larger than its counterpart on Golf versions with less powerful engines; it is integrated to be flush to the boot lid and the body. The spoiler, painted in body colour, seamlessly transitions into black aerodynamic elements on the sides of the boot lid, which makes a visual reference to the use of black colour in the first generation Golf GTI. Another feature that is designed in black, along with the aerodynamic elements and the front splitter, is the diffuser at the rear. To the left and right of the diffuser are the chrome tailpipes of the exhaust system.

Under the surface: weight reduction

It was a stated intention in designing the latest Golf to end the upward spiral in weight while raising the number of features, enhancing safety and increasing size.  Saving up to 100 kg in weight – which was achieved – is a complex task, especially in the compact class, as intensive research and development work costs money, and it was also a pre-requisite that the Mk VII should cost less than the Mk VI. 
Weight savings were achieved thanks to development in the following areas:

  • Body structure: up to 37.0 kg
  • Electrical: up to 6.0 kg
  • Engines: up to 40.0 kg
  • Running gear: up to 26.0 kg

In mathematical terms the total potential saving is as much as 109 kilograms although the maximum that can be achieved in any one vehicle is 100 kg.  The greatest weight reduction is achieved from the engines and body structure.

Superstructure

Within the body structure, a 37 kg saving is possible through:

  • Dashboard: -0.4 kg
  • Module cross-member (beneath dashboard): -1.4 kg
  • Air conditioning: -2.7 kg
  • Front and rear seats (depending on version): -7.0 kg
  • Body: -23.0 kg
  • Miscellaneous: -2.5 kg

Dashboard: Although 0.4 kg does not sound much, this is where designers insist that perfection in the details comes into play.  If 0.4 kg is overlooked, then ultimately a 100 kg saving will never be attained.  Volkswagen not only succeeded in making the dashboard 20 per cent lighter thanks to a new thermoplastic foam injection process – the load-bearing, sandwich-like structure beneath the elegant surface consists of this material – but also in making it 20 per cent more rigid at the same time.

Module cross-member: The 1.4 kg saved here also contributes towards overcoming the upward weight spiral.  Mounted on the module cross-member are both the steering gear and the dashboard.  Altogether the cross-member weighs 5.8 kg.  The reduction in weight was achieved with a lightweight design approach utilising steel components.  Based on an analysis by Finite Element Method (FEM) computations, the structure of the module cross-member was designed to be as light as possible and as strong as necessary.  Optimal steel thicknesses and structural design measures, such as specially formed corrugations, improved the rigidity of the cross-member, while also reducing its weight by the noted 1.4 kg.  Utilising methods such as the Finite Element Method (FEM), engineers at Volkswagen are essentially emulating examples found in nature, where the natural world is able to attain an astonishing ratio between the cross-section of a part’s structure and its rigidity, e.g. in a stalk of grass or grain.

Air conditioning: The Golf’s entire air conditioning system was redesigned and became 2.7 kg lighter.  Independent of its weight, all of the Golf air conditioning units with their highly efficient refrigerant cycles set standards of comfort and efficiency.  That is because they run very quietly (up to 5 dB(A) lower), they reach the desired temperature significantly faster and are very energy-efficient (up to 4 Amperes less) due to a type of blower control with intelligent climate control.  The 2.7 kg weight reduction is achieved by such design modifications as optimised gauge of materials for various system components, reduced diameters of pressure lines, a new fastening system and a weight-optimised high performance heat exchanger.

Seating system: Along with numerous minor modifications to the seats, weight was reduced in other areas − especially in the rear backrests − to save a total of up to 7 kg.  Once again, the Finite Element Method and high-strength steels combined with laser welding made it possible to optimise wall thicknesses and profile geometries.  Engineers achieved weight savings of over 15 per cent in this way and by using lighter backrest latch mechanisms.

Body: The body must be strong to guarantee optimal safety and maximum comfort, and harmonising these two parameters continues to be one of the greatest challenges in the automotive world, especially when a car needs to be affordable for millions of people.  Expensive materials like aluminium, magnesium or carbon-fibre are therefore excluded in this segment.  That is why Volkswagen relies on the synergies of the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), innovative utilisation of high-strength steels and advanced production methods.  The success of this approach is demonstrated by a 23 kg reduction in weight in the car body structure − without additional costs − while satisfying more stringent crash and rigidity requirements and implementing larger vehicle dimensions.

In this area a 23 kg saving was made possible through:

  • Use of high-strength and advanced high-strength steel grades and reduction of sheet metal thickness: -12 kg
  • Only using materials where they are needed: -4 kg
  • Optimising profile and surface geometries: -7 kg

High-strength and advanced high-strength steels: The share of high-strength steels has grown from 66 per cent to 80 per cent compared to the Golf Mk VI.  The decisive advantage lies in the fact that Volkswagen has built up expertise in the development and production of ultra-high-strength, hot-formed parts since the Golf Mk VI and has invested in manufacturing facilities – more than any other carmaker in the world.  The share of these parts that are up to six times as strong as conventional steel parts grew from six per cent in the Golf Mk VI to 28 per cent in the Golf Mk VII.  

Moreover, advanced high-strength steels are available today that did not exist when the previous model was being developed.  These represent another nine per cent in the new car.  The advantage of these extremely strong steels: the finished parts made of them can be designed to be considerably thinner than before and still handle the stresses of a crash.  Nearly the entire safety architecture of the new Golf consists of these steels, which effectively form the vehicle’s backbone.  Hot-forming also saves a total of 12 kg in weight.

Only using materials where needed: The second lightweight design strategy – to only use material where it is needed – is an obvious one.  This effort even goes so far as precisely to vary the sheet metal thicknesses within a part; this is done at the rolling mill of the steel supplier, which delivers a tailor rolled blank (a rolled blank with variable thickness) to the hot-forming facility.  One advantage compared to conventional tailored blanks is that 11 zones can be produced within a cross-member, each with optimal sheet thickness.  The transitions between the different sheet thicknesses are uniform here and do not exhibit any abrupt changes in strength.  The savings for just these parts: 4 kg.

Optimising geometries: Geometries of the load-bearing structure and surface parts have been optimised for many years.  Continually improved virtual methods in the development process can be used to utilise existing installation spaces even more effectively.  Take the example of the longitudinal frame member, where optimal utilisation of the mounting space between the engine and the front of the chassis enabled a 25 per cent increase in profile cross-section, which in turn enabled the use of thinner stock.  

Nonetheless, the entire front structure of the Golf can absorb more energy in a frontal crash – thanks to geometry that is computationally optimised by FEM.  In the case of surface parts such as the bulkhead and the floor, computationally optimised, acoustically effective corrugation patterns were introduced that also make the sheet metal more rigid and in turn lead to a reduction in sound insulating measures.  Just these mentioned examples result in a weight reduction of 7 kg.

New production methods

Welding processes and innovative tools also make a decisive contribution towards attaining high quality in body manufacturing.  They are used to join and assemble all components – including the hot-formed steels and tailor rolled blanks, and includes the laser clamp welder, a tool which enables so-called ‘wobble welds’, which are able to produce the joint between parts on a short flange.  The ‘wobble’ describes the sinusoidal path of the laser weld seam.

Hot forming: Hot-formed parts have an extremely high tensile yield strength of 1,000 MPa (Megapascal), which is over six times the strength of conventional deep-drawn steels and up to four times the strength of conventional high-strength steels.  In the hot-forming process, a red-hot blank, heated to approximately 950 degrees Celsius, is inserted in the forming tool, formed in a work process and then quickly cooled in the tool.  

Acoustics perfected: The sixth-generation Golf was already considered among the quietest cars in the compact class, and Volkswagen set out to reinforce this position with the seventh-generation model.  Therefore, innovative simulation tools were employed in the development of the latest car to evaluate very precisely conceptual and component layouts with regard to their comfort and acoustics early on. This type of evaluation analyses parameters such as vibrations and sound pressure, which are perceived directly by the driver and passengers in the car.  As a result, it was possible to transfer the high level of acoustic comfort of the previous model to the new Golf, despite substantial weight savings.

Running gear:  One example of weight reduction in this area is in the screw fastening concept for the front suspension which was simplified while the joining points were optimised for the modular performance suspension that is used for all Golf cars up to 120 PS.  This makes it possible to attain the greatest effect for acoustic ride comfort compared to the usual stiffening measures that are taken.  The structure in the vicinity of the region where the front-body legs connect to the occupant cell and the entire area around the strut towers were designed to minimise acoustic noise transmission to the interior.  Specifically, engineers achieved a 5 dB reduction in ride noise compared to the previous model here.

Noise reduction

As well as minimising the transmission of road noise through the running gear, the development group also focused on minimising engine noise.  In particular, the transmission of engine noise was reduced to a low level in the conceptual design of the front subframe, as well as the zones around the strut towers, windscreen and firewall.

Engine mounts: A considerable amount of optimal refinement comfort depends on a car’s engine mounting method.  The mounting system for the seventh-generation Golf was completely redesigned, while retaining the pivot bearing concept.  Despite reductions in component weights, performance of the engine mounting system was improved.  Along with reducing the amount of structure-borne noise (from the engine), improvements were made in vibration damping.  The engine mount system thus results in smaller movements of the engine assembly, and it is this which is key to optimising refinement.

Quieter engines: The acoustic performance of the current Golf’s engines was an issue tackled in the early development phase of the car.  With the TDI engine, for example, by considering requirements early in its development, specific engine-related acoustic measures were implemented in the package to reduce the airborne noise emissions directly at the source.  This also included measures for optimal acoustic integration of the oxidation catalytic converter, the charge air tube, oil sump and dampers on the crankcase on the firewall side.  In addition, encapsulating the engine compartment in a sound-absorbent material ensures conditions remain quiet both inside and around the Golf.

Wind, environmental and background noise:  Thanks to the Golf’s impressive aerodynamic properties wind noise is reduced; meanwhile, environmental noises are absorbed for the most part by the elaborately sealed body.  However, comprehensive noise insulation of the engine and running gear can mean that background sounds – e.g. from the blower, actuator motors, toothed belts or the turbocharger – might be perceived, while they were masked by engine noise in the previous model.  This problem was solved through intensive work which reduced or eliminated background noise at source, and which largely avoided the need for additional, secondary acoustic measures in these areas.

Acoustic windscreen:  The acoustically effective damping film used in the windscreen between the two glass laminations of the Golf Mk VI was carried over to the new generation.  This film is especially effective at reducing noise or sound waves in the frequency range from 2.5 to 3.5 kHz.  In addition, the use of absorbers in the front doors and innovative design of the door seals has achieved a further reduction in the amount of environmental noise that finds its way into the interior.  The complete package of all acoustic measures has made the latest Golf one of the quietest cars in its class.

Interior design

As already mentioned, at 4,255 mm the Golf is 56 mm longer than the previous model, while the wheelbase was increased by 59 mm to 2,637 mm.  Since the front wheels are also located 43 mm further forward, the interplay of the new dimensions not only creates sportier proportions and an improved crash structure, but also optimises interior space.  At the same time, although the body has been lowered in height by 28 mm (1,452 mm) headroom in the interior is still very good.  At 1,799 mm the new Golf is 13 mm wider, and the track widths have been increased by 8 mm in front and 6 mm at the rear.

The slight increases in length and width, as well as increased wheelbase and optimised track widths, have a perceptible effect on space in the passenger cabin, which is now 14 mm longer (1,750 mm).  Passengers in the rear seating area, in particular, enjoy 15 mm more knee room.  Shoulder room has grown by 31 mm to 1,420 mm and elbow room is increased by 22 mm to 1,469 mm.  In the rear seating area, shoulder room was also improved by an additional 30 mm and elbow width by 20 mm.  All Golfs have a 60:40 split backrest. 

Overall, boot capacity has grown by 30 litres to 380 litres; while the variable-height cargo floor can also be lowered by 100 mm.  The loading height of the boot is now just 665 mm (-17 mm).  In parallel, the maximum bootspace width has grown by 228 mm to 1,272 mm.  Volkswagen has also increased the width of the bootspace opening by 47 mm to 1,023 mm.

Styling and controls

Significantly more room and even better ergonomics define the driver’s area in the Golf
Mk VII.  Taller drivers in particular will welcome the seat position that has been moved back by 20 mm; the steering wheel’s adjustment range has also been modified.  Pedal distances have been optimised as well thanks to the Modular Transverse Matrix, with the space between the brake and accelerator pedals, for example, increased by 16 mm.  Another ergonomic improvement: compared to the previous model, Volkswagen has raised the position of the gearbox controls by 20 mm; the gear shift grip now rests better in the driver’s hand.

Tomasz Bachorski, Head of Interior Design at Volkswagen, commented: ‘Every interior element was redeveloped and redesigned.  One noticeable feature here is the wide centre console that is oriented towards the driver, which is more typical of the premium category than the compact class.  Never before have the traditionally high levels of objectivity and functionality in the Golf been implemented with such elegance and sophistication.’

In the middle of the centre console, beneath the switch for the hazard warning lights, is the infotainment touch-screen with its menu keys and dials.  All information and entertainment systems were completely redeveloped and restyled and for the first time, Volkswagen introduced a generation of touch-screens with a proximity sensor and a function that reacts to wiping movements by the fingers (wipe and zoom movements as used on smartphones); the graphic design of the interface also corresponds to the new age of intuitive operation.

Located beneath the infotainment module are the well laid-out controls for climate control, followed by the lower section of the centre console that runs in a line up to the large centre armrest.  The consistent design conveys a sense of sophistication of a premium class model.  To the left of the driver are the buttons for the new electronic parking brake and its auto hold function.  Integrated in front of it is a storage compartment which houses the multimedia interfaces (aux-in, USB and iPod interfaces).  The compartment is also big enough to hold a smartphone.  There is a large storage compartment hidden under the centre armrest that can be adjusted by up to 100 mm in length and five stages in height.  

Bachorski comments: ‘Visually distinctive in the interior – along with the centre console –
is the dashboard body, the upper section of the dashboard that is upholstered with a material that is visually elegant and pleasing to the touch.  It is subdivided by a seam that runs across the entire interior width towards the windscreen.  Each of the outer areas of the dashboard body fuses homogeneously with the window sill on each side.’  Like the lower area of the dashboard, the lower door trim can also be ordered in a contrasting colour.

The inlays in the door panels have illuminated trim as part of the ambient lighting fitted as standard in the GTI.  The switches for the electric windows are ergonomically easy to access in the armrests; located in front of the door handle on the driver’s side is the control for electric mirror adjustment.  

The door trim panels themselves display the motif of two intersecting curved lines, which logically divide the door trim’s functional areas: armrest, door handle, storage bin and loudspeaker.  Elements of the ambient lighting provide for optimal illumination and an elegant atmosphere at night.

Seat comfort

For the Golf Mk VII, all five seating positions were redesigned, front and rear.  The seats exhibit well-contoured body lines, optimal support for dynamic driving, and a high level of comfort on long trips.  These characteristics were achieved by designing the foam contours to fit body shapes properly and by the optimised springing and damping properties of the cold foam cushioning sections.  The GTI is equipped with standard two-way lumbar support on the driver and front passenger seats.  The optional 12-way electric driver’s seat offers even greater individual adjustment.

Climate control

Standard on GTI and GTD models is a fully automatic 2Zone electronic climate control.  This regulates the Golf’s interior temperature via 2Zone temperature control (separate for driver and front passenger), and its intensity can be selected as ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ or ‘Intense’). 

The fully automatic control unit operates with various sensors for the sun, air quality and humidity.  The sun sensor detects the intensity and direction of solar radiation, and the system is controlled accordingly.  When the air quality sensor indicates that the concentration of nitrogen oxides or carbon monoxide outside has exceeded a defined limit, then the recirculation flap of the Climatronic system closes.  The addition of a humidity sensor on the Golf means it is also possible to control the heating function with recirculation mode, resulting in significantly quicker heating of the interior without fogging of the windows.

The packaging of the air conditioning system was also improved by such measures as a new filter layout above the blower in the air intake channel which makes it 140 mm narrower in this area.  The overall system is 2.7 kg lighter than that in the previous generation Golf.  What’s more this enabled a uniform layout of electrical system components between left-hand and right-hand drive vehicles, and created more space in the footwell area.  A high-performance heat exchanger, as well as reduction of heat losses in the refrigerant cycle, demand-based use of electrical auxiliary heating and an innovative thermal management system, also had a beneficial effect on heating performance.  Compared to the previous model, the interior of the Golf heats to a pleasantly warm temperature 30 per cent faster.

In addition, the refrigerant cycle was completely redesigned for maximum efficiency gain, weight reduction and manufacturing optimisation.  The refrigerant cycle consists of a highly efficient compressor and condenser as well as an internal heat exchanger.  Design of the refrigerant lines was also perfected resulting in weight savings.  Another benefit of the efficient refrigerant cycle is that it cools the interior significantly faster.

The humidity sensor is also used to run the air conditioning compressor at as low a power level as is needed, thereby significantly reducing energy consumption on hot days.  Here, the Climatronic automatically deactivates the compressor as soon as it is not needed to reach the desired temperature, or if there is no risk of window fogging and a preset limit for humidity is not exceeded in the interior.  For the first time, air conditioning components that are relevant to fuel economy are then only activated when needed and are controlled to optimise energy consumption in all operating modes.  The interplay of all components of the new air conditioning system leads to considerable fuel savings compared to the previous model.

FEATURES

Like all six Golf GTI generations before it, the seventh generation is distinguished from other Golf models by numerous additional equipment features and classic GTI insignia. The new Golf GTI is also one of the best equipped cars in its class with standard features like the innovative progressive steering, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Driver Alert System, xenon headlights, a radio-CD system with touchscreen and automatic climate control.

Exterior features

On its exterior, GTI-specific standard features are the red painted brake callipers, sport suspension (15 mm lower ride height), the progressive steering system being used in the GTI for the first time, bi-xenon headlights with cornering lights, licence plate lighting in LED technology, dark red LED rear lights, the GTI-typical honeycomb structure of the air inlet screens, a roof spoiler (in body colour) with side-mounted aerodynamic elements (high gloss black), GTI bumpers, ParkPilot (acoustic and visual warning signals), tyre pressure monitoring indicator, GTI logos on the front wings (sides of body in area of A-pillars) and chrome 80-mm diameter tailpipes, one on the left and one on the right. In the chassis electronics area, on-board features also include the extensively reengineered XDSPlus electronic differential lock. Extended performance features. On its exterior, the Golf GTI Performance (169 kW/230 PS) is distinguished by the GTI logo on the front brake callipers and larger internally-ventilated brake discs (front: 340 mm, rear: 310 mm) for the GTI with 162 kW/220 PS. Technical features of the Golf GTI Performance also include a newly developed front differential lock.

Colours and wheels

The production colours red (‘Tornado Red’) and ‘Black’ as well as ‘Pure White’ have been typical for the Golf GTI since its beginning days. As a special feature, the new Golf GTI can also be ordered in seven metallic or pearl effect paints: ‘Carbon Steel Grey Metallic’, ‘Reflex Silver Metallic’, ‘Tungsten Silver Metallic’, ‘Limestone Grey Metallic’, ‘Night Blue Metallic’, ‘Deep Black Pearl Effect’ and ‘Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect’.

Volkswagen has further developed its standard ‘Denver’ GTI wheels; their styling characteristics flowed into the design of the new machine-polished 17-inch ‘Brooklyn’ alloy wheels that replace them. The new wheels have a lighter visual look and are in fact lighter in weight. The wheels are fitted with size 225/45 tyres. In addition, the new 18-inch ‘Austin’ alloy wheels and 19-inch alloy wheels in ‘Santiago’ design are available as options.

Interior features

The car with the golf ball. Along with its many standard features such as air conditioning, Driver Alert system and the Composition Touch radio system, numerous GTI features refine the interior. They include the customised leather sport steering wheel and a special gear shift grip. The latter is once again reminiscent of a golf ball, which also makes it a tribute to the first GTI just like the new leather-trimmed steering wheel design. The sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel with its three metal spokes and trim in high-gloss black has a lightweight look, and it is remarkably handy and easy to grip. On its two cross spokes it has multifunction keys as standard, and at its centre - in contrast to all other Golf steering wheels - it has a round impact absorber whose form is similar to that of the component in the first GTI.

GTI instruments and ambience lighting. Also making a strong statement is the GTI instrument cluster with a colour display and independent graphics of its instruments. It is no coincidence that it resembles high-end chronographs. The GTI specific look of the interior is rounded out by red ambience lighting, special trim strips and panels (trim strips in the front doors with ambience lighting), brushed stainless steel pedals and foot rest (on left), door sill entry plates in front with a stainless steel application and ambience lighting that is also integrated here.

Classic seat now also in Alcantara.

Also important are the typical top sport seats and seat covers. The first GTI had them already: seat covers in the legendary tartan pattern. As in the transition to every new GTI generation, the fabric of the Golf GTI VI known as ‘Jacky’ was redesigned and is now named ‘Clark.’ Naturally, the tartan pattern was kept. A new optional feature: the fabric sport seats in ‘Clark’ design can now be ordered for the first time with side panels and head restraints in Alcantara.

Moreover, the seats and door trim panels can also be ordered in ‘Vienna’ upholstery. The front seats also offer height adjustment and a manually adjustable lumbar support. Electric adjustment of the driver’s seat is available as an option. Red decorative seams in the area of the seats and the gear shift trim provide a sporty contrast, and the black roofliner that is always part of the GTI emphasises the sporty layout of the interior.

SAFETY

As well as making the latest generation the most technically advanced Golf, designers and developers were also set the task of making this the safest Golf yet – quite a challenge given the accompanying weight reduction targets.

Earlier sections of this description (Design: weight reduction, and Technology highlights) lay out in detail the measures that were taken to ensure weight reduction did not result in any loss of safety, as well as the full remit of passive and active safety features which are fitted.

Airbag system

Naturally the latest generation Golf has, like its predecessor, seven airbags, including a knee airbag on the driver’s side.  The special location of the knee airbag – beneath the knee impact area on the instrument panel – ensures that there is no contact between the airbag door and the lower leg.

In the event of a crash the airbag deploys in front of the driver’s knees in less than 20 milliseconds and absorbs – in conjunction with the seatbelt and front airbag – a significant share of the crash energy.  The driver is integrated into the vehicle’s deceleration early via the thighs and pelvis, and the steering wheel airbag cushions the driver’s chest and head at the optimal angle in the resulting, gently introduced upper body movement.

In general, the knee airbag protects the driver’s legs from a hard collision with the steering column and instrument panel.  In an offset impact, the feet are also better protected against lateral ankle twist.

Safety optimised head restraint system

Injuries caused by hyperextensions of the spine – or whiplash – are extremely common following car accidents.  Volkswagen has developed its safety optimised head restraint system to counteract whiplash injuries by co-ordinating the movements of the head and upper body as synchronously as possible via the seatbacks and head restraints.  The latest generation of the system is fitted as standard on all Golfs including the GTI and GTI Clubsport Edition 40.

To reduce the risk of injury, excellent protection is afforded by achieving defined deceleration velocity of the upper body via the seatback, co-ordinated deceleration of the head via the head restraint, and balanced motions of head and upper body.  Key to this is the special contour of the head restraints and seatbacks as well as the hardness of the foam material used here.  The contoured shape of the head restraints is being patented by Volkswagen.  On related studies, the system has demonstrated a level of protective potential that is substantially better than the biomechanical values attained by many active systems.

Seatbelt fastening detection for the rear

Another highlight in the Golf is the seatbelt fastening detection system for rear passengers.  This function is standard when optional side airbags and belt tensioners are ordered for the outer rear seat positions.  Thanks to this warning system, the driver can tell whether occupants are buckled up in the rear when starting the car and during driving.

After switching on the ignition, the driver is informed via the multifunctional display for 30 seconds whether occupants are buckled up in the rear.  If a seatbelt is fastened, a relevant symbol is shown (buckled person) for the specific seat location; an unfastened seatbelt is also displayed (empty seat).  While driving, if the rear seatbelts are unfastened at a vehicle speed greater than 25 km/h (approx. 15 mph), the seatbelt indicator flashes for 30 seconds (displayed symbol alternates between empty seat and buckled occupant); an acoustic signal is also heard.

Euro NCAP test results

The Golf was tested ahead of launch by the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) crash test agency, and received a top five-star rating.  It also won the award for innovations in the area of integral safety at the Euro NCAP Advanced Awards.  Along with Lane Assist and Front Assist, the PreCrash preventive occupant protection and the standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System were recognised as pioneering safety innovations.  This is further confirmation of the excellent competitive position of the Golf.

The new Golf was awarded top ratings for its occupant protection.  Evaluated here were frontal and side impact tests, a pole side impact test and what is known as the whiplash test, in which loads to the spine are measured in a rear end collision.  Not only adults, but children too can feel safe in the new Golf.  This was verified in tests, some of which utilised dummies sized to represent 18-month-old and three-year-old children.  The new Golf also impressed testers with its pedestrian protection capabilities.

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

The Golf GTI, GTI Clubsport Edition 40 and GTI Clubsport S models are all well-equipped. Highlights of each trim are shown below.  The GTI and Clubsport Edition 40 are available in either three or five-door bodystyles and with a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox.  For full details please refer to the latest price list.  The Clubsport S, which sold out on release, was exclusively a three-door car with manual transmission. 

Golf GTI

The GTI Mk VII features the following as standard:

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control)
  • XDSPlus electronic differential lock
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
  • Driver Alert system
  • PreCrash preventive occupant protection
  • ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) including Front Assist, radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system, City Emergency Braking system and cruise control
  • driver profile selection
  • driver’s and front passenger’s airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system, for front and rear passengers
  • front seat side impact airbags
  • driver’s knee airbag
  • driver’s and front passenger’s safety optimised head restraints
  • three rear three-point seatbelts and head restraints
  • warning buzzer and light for front seatbelts if unfastened
  • Isofix child seat preparation (for two rear child seats)
  • electronic engine immobiliser
  • alarm with interior protection
  • automatic door locking, speed related, can be switched off
  • remote central locking with two folding keys
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment
  • rear centre armrest with cupholders
  • easy entry sliding seats (for access to rear seats – three-door only)
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40
  • variable boot floor, height adjustable and removable
  • multifunction computer with visual gear change recommendation for improved fuel consumption
  • Bluetooth connection for compatible telephones
  • Discover Navigation infotainment system with 6.5-inch colour touch-screen, DAB radio, CD player, car information display, 2D or 3D satellite navigation display and Think Blue Trainer (with information and tips on how to achieve an especially economical style of driving, for example, advising the driver to shut windows if the air conditioning is on)
  • front and rear (on five-door models) electric windows
  • 2Zone electronic air conditioning with allergy filer
  • four load lashing points in luggage compartment
  • battery regeneration and Start/Stop system
  • steel space saver spare wheel
  • 7.5J x 18-inch ‘Austin’ alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • sports suspension (lowered by approx. 15 mm)
  • luggage compartment storage area; load-through provision
  • height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • leather-trimmed three spoke multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift (DSG models), gear knob and handbrake grip
  • 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • automatic coming and leaving home lighting function, plus dusk sensor and automatic driving lights
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • rear tinted windows from B-pillar back, 65 per cent tinted
  • front sport seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • driver’s and front passenger’s under seat drawers
  • ambient interior lighting
  • parking sensors, front and rear (no rear sensors on Clubsport Edition 40)
  • LED front fog lights
  • bi-xenon headlights with static cornering function and LED daytime running lights
  • LED rear light clusters with ‘Smoked’ covers
  • LED rear number plate illumination
  • ‘Jacara Red’ cloth upholstery
  • red ambient interior lighting
  • illuminated and cooled glovebox
  • uniquely styled front bumper with spoiler and rear bumper with black diffuser
  • dual exhaust pipes, chrome, one at either side
  • honeycomb radiator grille with red stripe into headlights
  • unique ‘GTI’ instrument cluster
  • contrast red stitching on steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and handbrake
  • ‘Cyclone’ decorative inserts in dash, centre console and door panels
  • black rooflining
  • stainless steel pedals
  • red brake calipers with ‘GTI’ logo on cars with Performance pack
  • limited-slip differential (GTI with Performance pack only)
  • XDSPlus electronic differential lock
  • heated windscreen washer jets (not on Clubsport Edition 40)         

Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40

In addition to the GTI, this model adds:

  • 7.5J x 18-inch ‘Quaranta’ alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres
  • ‘Gloss Black’ door mirrors
  • ‘GTI Clubsport’ styling pack with uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers, ‘Black’ honeycomb front air intake, front splitter and air curtains
  • unique ‘Clubsport’ decals on the side skirts
  • unique rear diffuser in ‘Black’ with chrome exhaust tailpipes, left and right
  • uniquely shaped extended roof spoiler
  • ‘Overboost’ function – additional 25 PS for 10 seconds during full throttle
  • Alcantara door panels with red trim
  • ‘Clubsport’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • door sill protectors, stainless steel with red GTI lettering
  • ‘Piano Black’ centre console
  • red stitching on Alcantara trimmed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with red 12 o’clock mark, ‘GTI’ logo and gear knob gaiter
  • ‘Clubsport’ cloth seat centre section and Alcantara side bolsters
  • front sports seats with embroidered ‘GTI’ logo

Golf GTI Clubsport S

The limited edition Clubsport S adds:

  • 7.5J x 19-inch ‘Pretoria’ alloy wheels with 225/35 ZR Michelin tyres
  • 310 PS power output
  • Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC)
  • weight reduced to 1,285 kg
  • revised fuel pump
  • aluminium subframe on front axle, with aluminium brake covers
  • smaller battery
  • removal of insulating materials, variable luggage compartment floor, parcel shelf, floor mats, bonnet damping and rear seats
  • manual transmission only
  • race-derived heated bucket seats
  • revised exhaust system
  • tailpipe diameter increased from 55 mm to 65 mm
  • air-conditioning is a no-cost option

LINE UP WITH INSURANCE GROUPS

Thanks to its impressive security and safety features, the Golf secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers), all of which are lower than those achieved by the previous generation model:

GTI

2.0-litre TSI 220 PS                                                   29E

2.0-litre TSI 230 PS                                                   30E

GTI Clubsport Edition 40

2.0-litre TSI 265 PS                                                   33E

WARRANTIES

The Golf has a three-year (first- and second-year manufacturer-operated, third-year retailer-operated) / 60,000-mile mechanical warranty.  In addition, it comes with a 12-year body protection guarantee, three-year Paintwork Warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Roadside Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer.

HISTORY OF THE GTI

Golf GTI Mk I – 1977-1984

1975        Original Golf GTI design by, Giorgetto Giugiaro, unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show

1977        Golf GTI Mk I launched in the UK

                  With 1.6-litre, 110 PS (108 bhp) engine

                  Length: 3,705 mm

                  Width: 1,630 mm

                  Height: 1,395 mm

                  Top speed: 113 mph

                  0-62 mph: 9.0 seconds

                  mpg: 35.2 (urban)

1979        Right-hand drive GTI launched in the UK

1980        Right-hand drive GTI Cabriolet launched in the UK

1982        More powerful engine introduced: a 1.8-litre, 112 PS (110 bhp) unit

                  Top speed: 113 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.2 seconds

                  mpg: 26.6 (urban)

                  1.6-litre turbo, 70 PS (69 bhp) GTD diesel launched in the UK

                  Top speed: 96 mph

                  0-62 mph: 13.5 seconds

                  mpg: 42.5 (urban)

1983        Special edition GTI ‘Campaign’ launched in the UK

                  Special edition GTI ‘Pirelli’ launched in Germany

1984        Golf Cabriolet ‘All White’ launched in the UK with GTI’s 1.8-litre, 112 PS engine

?Total Golf GTI Mk I hatchback sales in the UK – 17,039

Golf GTI Mk II – 1984-1992

1984       Golf GTI Mk II Launched

                  With 1.8-litre 8V, 112 PS (110 bhp) engine

                  Length: 3,985 mm (+ 280 mm)

                  Width: 1,680 mm (+ 50 mm)

                  Height: 1,395 mm (+ 0)

                  Top speed: 119 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.3 seconds

                  mpg: 32.5 (urban)

1985        25,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  UK launch of facelifted model featuring double headlights and twin exhausts

                  Five door GTI launched in the UK

1986        More powerful engine; 1.8-litre 16V, 139 PS (137 bhp)

                  Top speed: 130 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds

                  mpg: 26.6 (urban)

1988       50,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

1989       75,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  Introduction of ‘big bumpers’

1990        1,000,000th Golf GTI produced        

                  Left-hand drive GTI G60 announced for special order in the UK.
                  Supercharged 1.8-litre 16V, 160 PS (158 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 130 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.6 seconds

                  mpg: 23.2 (urban)

1991        Launch of limited run of 70, left-hand drive GTI G60 Limited with 1.8-litre 16V 210 PS (207 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 143 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.4 seconds

                  mpg: 20.1 (urban)

?Total Golf GTI Mk II hatchback sales in the UK  80,307

Golf GTI Mk III – 1992-1998

1992        Golf GTI Mk III Launched

                  With 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

                  Length: 4,020 mm (+ 35 mm)

                  Width: 1,710 mm (+ 30 mm)

                  Height: 1,405 mm (+ 10 mm)

                  Top speed: 123 mph

                  0-62 mph: 10.1 seconds

                  mpg: 27.4 (urban)

                  100,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

 

  1. Launch of 2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 134 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.3 seconds

                  mpg: 25.9

                 Second generation GTI Cabriolet launched

1994        ABS brakes become standard on GTI

1995        Special edition GTI Colour Concept launched with 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

1996        21 years after first being unveiled, limited run GTI Anniversary launched.
600 vehicles fitted with 2.0-litre 8V 115 PS (113 bhp) engine and 150 fitted with
2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

1997        125,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

?Total Golf GTI Mk III hatchback sales in the UK – 39,766

Golf GTI Mk IV – 1998-2004

1998       Golf GTI Mk IV Launched

                  With 1.8-litre, 125 PS (123 bhp) and 1.8-litre turbo, 150 PS (148 bhp) engines

                  Length: 4,149 mm (+ 129 mm)

                  Width: 1,735 mm (+ 25 mm)

                  Height: 1,439 mm (+ 34 mm)

                  Top speed: 125 mph (1.8-litre) / 134 mph (1.8-litre turbo)

                  0-62 mph: 9.9 seconds (1.8-litre) / 8.5 seconds (1.8-litre turbo)

                  mpg: 34.0 (1.8-litre) / 35.3 (1.8-litre turbo) combined     

                  CO2199 g/km (1.8-litre) / 192 g/km (1.8-litre turbo)

1999       150,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  Launch of 2.0-litre, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 121 mph

                  0-62 mph: 10.5 seconds

                  mpg: 35.8 combined

                  CO2194 g/km

                  UK launch of facelifted GTI Cabriolet

2001        175,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  First ever diesel-powered Golf GTI, launched with 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 134 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.6 seconds

                  mpg: 52.3 combined

                  CO2146 g/km

2002        25 years since the Golf GTI Mk I was launched is commemorated with the introduction of the GTI Anniversary.  Available with either a 1.8-litre turbo, 180 PS (178 bhp) petrol or a 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) diesel engine

                  Top speed: 138 mph (petrol) / 134 mph (diesel)

                  0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds (petrol) / 8.6 seconds (diesel)

                  mpg: 33.2 (petrol) / 52.3 (diesel) combined

                  CO2204 g/km (petrol) / 146 g/km (diesel)

?Total Golf GTI Mk IV hatchback sales in the UK  61,879

Golf GTI Mk V – 2005-2008

2003        Golf GTI Design Study unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show                                                     

2004        Golf GTI Mk V unveiled

                  GTI named ‘Top Gear Car of the Year’

2005        Golf GTI Mk V Launched

With 2.0-litre, 200 PS T-FSI engine.  For the first time ever, GTI was available as an automatic – the revolutionary DSG twin plate gearbox

                  Length: 4,216 mm (+ 67 mm)

                  Width: 1,759 mm (+ 24 mm)

                  Height: 1,466 mm (+ 27 mm)

                  Top speed: 146 mph (145 – DSG)

                  0-62 mph: 7.2 seconds (6.9 – DSG)

                  mpg: 35.3 combined

                  CO2189 g/km

                  200,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  GTI named ‘What Car? Hot Hatch of the Year’

2007        Launch of GTI Edition 30 to celebrate the model’s 30th anniversary fitted with a
2.0-litre, 230 PS engine

                  Top speed: 150 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

                  mpg: 34.4 combined

                  CO2194 g/km

                  Total sold in the UK: 2,264

The most powerful Golf ever produced by Volkswagen, GTI W12-650 design study, unveiled with 6.0-litre bi-turbo 650 PS engine

                  Length: 4,204 mm

                  Width: 1,919 mm

                  Height: 1,396 mm

                  Top speed: 201 mph (estimate)

                  0-62 mph: 3.7 seconds

                  GTI ‘R-Line’ claims 8th place overall and class victory at Nürburgring 24-hour                   endurance race

2008        2.0-litre T-FSI 230 PS GTI Pirelli launched to commemorate 25th anniversary of the
original GTI Mk I variant

                  Top Speed: 152 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

                  mpg: 34.4 combined

                  CO2194 g/km

                  Total sold in the UK: 181

?Total Golf GTI Mk V hatchback sales in the UK  18,223

Golf GTI Mk VI – 2009-2012

 

2008        Golf GTI Concept unveiled

                  Top speed: 148 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.2 seconds                                                                                                                       

                  mpg: 37.6 combined

                  CO2178 g/km

2009        Golf GTI Mk VI displayed at Geneva Motor Show (March)

                  Car released for ordering at UK Retailers (23 March GTI / April GTD)

                  22 May – GTI on sale in UK

                  22 June – GTD on sale in UK

                  Mk VI is most powerful standard GTI launched with 2.0-litre TSI, 210 PS

                  engine.  For the first time ever, GTI available with Adaptive Chassis Control                   (ACC), electronic limited slip differential (XDS) and seven airbags

                                   GTI:

                  Length: 4,213 mm 

                  Width: 1,786 mm 

                  Height: 1,501 mm 

                  Top speed: 149 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.9 seconds  

                  mpg: 38.7 combined

                  CO2170 g/km

                  GTD:

                  Length: 4,213 mm 

                  Width: 1,786 mm 

                  Height: 1,501 mm 

                  Top speed: 138 mph

                  0-62 mph:  8.1 seconds  

                  mpg: 55.4 combined

                  CO2134 g/km

2011         Golf GTI Edition 35 displayed at Wörthersee GTI enthusiast meeting in June

                  Car goes on sale in UK on 2 September

GTI Edition 35:

                  Length: 4,213 mm 

                  Width: 1,786 mm 

                  Height: 1,501 mm 

                  Top speed: 153 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.6 seconds  

                  mpg: 34.9 combined

                  CO2189 g/km

? Total Golf GTI Mk VI hatchback sales in the UK– 6158

?1977-2012: Total Golf GTI hatchback sales in the UK (Mk I – VI) – 224,125

 

Golf GTI Mk VII – 2013-

 

2013        Golf Mk VII unveiled in Berlin on 4 September 2012, with GTI version shown to the public the following March.  The Golf GTI Mk VII has 100 per cent more power than the original GTI.  The engine of the first Golf GTI produced exactly 81 kW/110 PS.  The seventh generation Golf GTI sends at least 162 kW/220 PS to the front wheels.

Model goes on sale in the UK on 4 April.  For the first time the GTI features an optional (£980) Performance pack that gives an extra 10 PS of power, uprated brakes and a limited-slip differential.

GTI:

Length: 4,268 mm 

                  Width: 1,799 mm 

                  Height: 1,442 mm 

Power: 220 PS (230 with Performance

                  Top speed: 155 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.5 seconds  

                  mpg: 47.1 combined (44.1 with DSG gearbox)

                  CO2148 g/km

2015        Golf GTI Mk VII Clubsport Edition 40 announced. It celebrates the GTI’s 40th anniversary. Its 265 PS engine helps the Clubsport to reach 62 mph in 5.9 seconds.  Production run is time-limited, with around 1000 examples expected to reach the UK.

GTI Clubsport Edition 40:

Length: 4,268 mm 

                  Width: 1,799 mm 

                  Height: 1,442 mm 

Power: 265 PS (overboost function takes it to 290 PS)

                  Top speed: 155 mph

                  0-62 mph: 5.9 seconds  

                  mpg: 40.4 combined (40.9 with DSG gearbox)

                  CO2160 g/km

2016        Golf GTI Mk VII Clubsport S announced. Extreme version of the Clubsport Edition 40, the Clubsport S was limited to 400 examples worldwide, of which 150 came to the UK. The model sold out on release. Took the Nürburgring lap record for front-wheel drive production cars, and benefitted from significantly reduced weight.

GTI Clubsport S:

Length: 4,268 mm 

                  Width: 1,799 mm 

                  Height: 1,442 mm 

Power: 310 PS

                  Top speed: 164 mph

                  0-62 mph: 5.8 seconds  

                  mpg: 38.1 combined (40.9 with DSG gearbox)

                  CO2172 g/km

? Total Golf GTI Mk VII hatchback sales in the UK to end of June 2016 – exactly 9800

?1977-2012: Total Golf GTI hatchback sales in UK (Mk I  VII) to end June ’16 – 233,925

On 4 September 2012, 38 years after the original model redefined the small family car, the all-new Golf was unveiled in Berlin ahead of its public debut at the Paris Motor Show later that month.  Few cars have a history like that of the Volkswagen Golf, yet with global sales having reached 30 million in June 2013, and in its seventh generation, the latest Golf continues to offer buyers a car which sets benchmarks in comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency.

The GTI version was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013, with sales in the UK starting just a month later.  The first Golf GTI, launched 40 years ago, defined a fundamental standard for dynamic performance that was more precise than any other compact car.

The affordable Volkswagen also made automotive sportiness more attainable than ever. Everything was simply right about it – the safe and taut chassis, the agile and fuel-efficient injection engine and the car’s styling that was as unmistakable as it was timeless.  All of this combined with the insignias of a future icon – a red stripe around the radiator grille, a black border around the rear windscreen, a sport steering wheel like in the Scirocco Coupé, a golf ball as a gear shift grip, ergonomically perfect sport seats with a classic tartan design and a name that would never be forgotten: GTI.

In 2015 the Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 was announced.  This model celebrates the 40th anniversary of the iconic Golf GTI.  The car’s production is time-limited, with around 1000 expected to be sold in the UK.  The car features a variety of developments to make it stand out from the Golf GTI.  Chief among these is a retuned engine that gives 265 PS, allowing a zero to 62 mph time of 6.3 seconds.  The car’s ‘party trick’ is an ‘overboost’ function.  This increases the power output to 290 PS for around 10 seconds when under hard acceleration.

The GTI Clubsport Edition 40’s handling characteristics have been perfected by virtue of a new spring layout, newly tuned dampers and optimised bump stops.  These measures, working alongside the specially modified aerodynamics, combine to deliver high levels of agility and steering precision along with extremely precise driving stability at high speed, linear and predictable vehicle reactions and optimised grip.

Just a few months after the Clubsport Edition 40 was announced, the Golf GTI Clubsport S was unveiled.  Only 400 examples of the ‘S’ were built, with 150 of those reaching the UK.  These sold out in a matter of weeks.  The Clubsport S legend was underlined when the car took the front-wheel drive lap record around the gruelling Nürburgring Nordschleife in May 2016.

The Golf GTI, GTI Clubsport Edition 40 and Clubsport S are highly tuned developments of the standard Volkswagen Golf.

Despite offering more room for passengers and more advanced technological features than previous versions, new production techniques contributed to the Golf Mk VII being up to 100 kg lighter than the car it replaced, helping to make it up to 23 per cent more efficient than before.  On top of this, the current Golf is safer than ever thanks not just to a stronger body structure (which is also 23 kg lighter) but also to a raft of standard and optional passive and active safety systems.

The Golf is built on the so-called MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix.  This standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes, and allows access to new powertrains and technologies, including innovations in the areas of safety and infotainment, which until now were reserved for vehicles in higher segments.

The Golf is 4,255 mm long, with a wheelbase of 2,637 mm.  The Golf is 1,799 mm wide and 1,452 mm tall.  It has a drag co-efficient of 0.29 Cd. 

The latest Golf’s overall design is unmistakably that of a Golf, thanks to a design DNA that has evolved through the decades.  Walter de Silva, former Head of Design for Volkswagen AG, said: ‘One of the keys to the Golf’s success lies in its continuity.  There are a handful of cars with a design that, like the Golf’s, has been refined, tweaked and enhanced down the decades and thus become timeless.’

The centre console of the latest Golf is angled more towards the driver, giving him or her easier, more ergonomic and direct access to auxiliary controls, including the touch-screen infotainment systems.  All Golf models have touch-screen systems as standard, with the GTI getting the Discover Navigation system.  Features include a 6.5-inch colour touch-screen, DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information.  Between the front seats, space is increased by virtue of the electronic parking brake with auto hold feature.

The current Golf GTI is powered by a 2.0-litre TSI engine with 220 PS and 350 Nm of torque (up 70 Nm from Mk VI).  For the first time, a second power option is available from the factory through the GTI Performance pack.  This gives an additional 10 PS, an electrically actuated mechanical front differential lock and larger brakes.  Despite the high power output, the Golf GTI is EU6 emissions compliant, and returns 47.1 mpg combined with 139 g/km of carbon dioxide (a fuel economy enhancement of 18 per cent).  

Summary

  • Current Golf made Paris Show debut on 27 September 2012, 38 years after the original model (first shown in May 1974) redefined the small family car.  By June 2013, 30 million Golfs had been sold worldwide, of which over 1.6 million found homes in the UK
  • Design of seventh generation is an evolution of Golf styling, demonstrating Volkswagen’s ‘DNA’; under the surface, use of the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix brings fundamental changes
  • The Golf is 4,255 mm long with a wheelbase of 2,637 mm.  It is 1,799 mm wide and 1,452 mm tall.  Boot capacity is 380 litres, while a low 665 mm sill makes loading easy
  • Despite being larger, new production techniques and developments contribute to the Golf Mk VII being up to 100 kg lighter than the car it replaced, and up to 23 per cent more fuel efficient; the Golf is also safer than ever, due to a stronger body structure
  • Safety systems include as standard an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System that automatically brakes the vehicle after a collision to reduce kinetic energy significantly and thus minimise the chance or consequences of a second impact
  • Also available is a PreCrash system which, on detecting the possibility of an accident, pre-tensions seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof, leaving just a small gap, to ensure the airbags provide the best possible protection
  • Other electronic aids include Automatic Distance Control, Driver Alert System, Front Assist and City Emergency Braking (all standard on the Golf GTI), all of which can reduce or eliminate the chance of accidents occurring
  • In the cabin the minor controls are angled more towards the driver.  The Discover Navigation touch-screen infotainment system is standard on the GTI and brings a range of features including DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information
  • The Golf GTI’s engine is a development of the EA288 2.0-litre TSI unit, with 220 PS or optionally 230 PS.  It returns 47.1 mpg and 139 g/km
  • Standard on the GTI for the first time is a driver profile selection facility which allows the driver to choose from four modes – Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual.  With Dynamic Chassis Control, an option on GTI, a fifth option – Comfort – is also offered.  Each of these modes alters the engine mapping (among other parameters) to the chosen style
  • Other new technologies include the latest Park Assist, which allows the Golf to park itself parallel to the kerb in a space no more than 80 cm longer than the vehicle, and cope automatically with end-on bay parking

Market information

The Golf is Europe’s best-selling car, and the best-selling Volkswagen in the UK.  It competes in the lower medium class, and is 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. 

The Golf GTI competes with the Ford Focus ST, Renault Megane RS and Seat Leon Cupra.

In 2015, 71,788 Golf (Mk VII) hatchbacks were sold in the UK.  This includes around 2,800 GTIs.  It compares with 54,900 Polos, 16,904 up! and 20,208 Passats as the top-selling Volkswagen models.

Production

The Golf is primarily produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Wolfsburg, where state of the art production systems and assembly technologies are employed to combine strength, low weight, high quality and low production costs.

Volkswagen’s factory grounds in Wolfsburg occupy an area of more than 2.3 square miles.  The 0.6 sq miles taken up by factory buildings could comfortably contain the Principality of Monaco.  The network of roads linking the individual production facilities, storage halls, administration buildings and external facilities, is 20.8 miles long, while the plant’s rail network totals 19.4 miles, on which seven locomotives and two shunting robots operate.

The world’s largest single car-manufacturing complex employed around 60,400 people in 2015 and produces the Golf, Golf Plus, Touran and Tiguan.  About 815,000 vehicles rolled off the assembly lines in 2015.  Apart from car production, component manufacture is another cornerstone of activities at Wolfsburg. The components produced here, including drive shafts and injection-moulded parts, are used in vehicle production in Wolfsburg and at other Group plants.

With its “Think Blue. Factory.” initiative, the Volkswagen brand set itself clear targets for the environmentally sustainable positioning of all its plants.  By 2018, the aim was to reduce the environmental impact of all Volkswagen plants by 25 per cent.  Specifically, this meant 25 per cent lower energy and water consumption, waste volumes and emissions at all plants.

This target was met by the end of 2015. Taking the average of the five agreed environmental indicators for the Volkswagen brand, environmental impact was reduced by precisely 25.3 per cent, with energy consumption down by 24.7 per cent, CO? emissions by 29.1 per cent, waste production by as much as 46.5 per cent, water consumption by 18.2 per cent and solvent emissions by 8.2 per cent between 2010 and the end of 2015.

Part of the “Think Blue. Factory.” programme involved the Wolfsburg plant introducing the Modular Production System (MPB), which made production more environmentally compatible.  Another contribution to sustained energy saving was the Energy Path which featured a large number of practical examples showing precisely where and how energy could be saved.  These included an electric vehicle recharging station with photovoltaic panels and wind turbine and the optimisation of heating pumps featuring demand-oriented control to save energy.

The two power stations operated in Wolfsburg by Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH generate power and heat not only for the Volkswagen plant, but also the city of Wolfsburg.  The two power stations have a power generating capacity of 442 megawatts.  

This combined heat and power system converts 53.3 per cent of the heat in the fuel into usable energy against a maximum of 38 per cent for a normal coal-fired power station.  (Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change.)

Every day, around 150 double-deck rail cars and about 160 transporter trucks leave the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg with a cargo of some 2,600 vehicles.  Incoming deliveries from around 1,900 suppliers arrive at the plant in about 150 or so rail carriages and 700 trucks every day.

ENGINE

The Golf GTI VII is powered by an advanced engine of the EA888 series – a two-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine (TSI) with a new cylinder head design. The TSI produces 220 PS (from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm). The sports car icon is optionally available in a performance-enhanced version as the Golf GTI Performance. In this version, the engine produces 230 PS (from 4,700 to 6,200 rpm). Both GTI versions are equipped with a Start/Stop system as standard and, with a 6-speed gearbox, they attain the same low NEDC fuel consumption of 6.0 l/100 km (CO?: 139 g/km). The combined fuel consumption of the new Golf GTI was thereby reduced by 1.3 litres per 100 km, or 18 per cent, compared to the previous model.

A 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option for both power levels. The recognised high agility of the Golf GTI has been increased once again in the new model compared to the previous model. In two stages:

Stage 1 – the standard GTI: The 220 PS base version now outputs 10 PS more than the previous model. At the same time, its maximum torque was increased by a considerable 70 Nm to 350 Nm (from 1,500 to 4,400 rpm). Equipped in this way, the Golf GTI makes its appearance with highly superior flexibility values: in fourth gear, the Golf GTI accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h in 5.0 seconds; in fifth gear, it takes 6.0 seconds. The Golf GTI accelerates to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 246 km/h.

Stage 2 – the GTI Performance: Those choosing a Golf GTI with the performance pack ignite the second stage. As mentioned, the car’s power is increased by 10 PS here, while its maximum torque is identical. The 230 PS of power enables a top speed of 250 km/h and just 6.4 seconds for the sprint to 100 km/h. Its maximum torque of 350 Nm is available from 1,500 to 4,600 rpm.

Advanced petrol turbocharged direct injection engine (TSI)

The engine of the Golf GTI is based on the EA888 four-cylinder engine series − now in its third generation. Compared to the previous engine generation, numerous technical details were modified to reduce fuel consumption and emissions while simultaneously increasing power and torque values.

As a result, the new model is the first Golf GTI to conform to limits of the Euro-6 emissions standard.

Efficient thermal management

The turbocharged direct petrol injection engine is marked by innovative technical modifications such as exhaust gas cooling integrated in the cylinder head and a dual injection system with both direct injection and multi point injection. The fully-electronic coolant control system of the TSI enables significantly more efficient thermal management with a shorter warm-up phase; this reduces friction losses, which efficiently improves fuel economy.

A new type of rotary vane module was developed for intelligent thermal management control.

This makes it possible to fully block coolant entry into the engine or adjust to a minimal volumetric flow in the engine warm-up phase. In the hot operating state, the coolant temperature can be adjusted quickly and fully variably to various temperatures as a function of engine load and external constraints.

Newly developed cylinder head

A unique innovation in this power class is a water-cooled exhaust gas circulation loop to the turbocharger that is fully integrated in the newly developed cylinder head.  This type of exhaust cooling makes an important contribution towards reducing fuel consumption at full load in the new Golf GTI.  In addition, the 1,984 cc TSI has variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment.  In addition, the valve lift on the exhaust side can be switched over two stages.

This enables optimal control of the charge exchange process for better performance, fuel economy and low emissions.  As noted, a dual injection system – with direct injection and multi point injection – was also implemented to conform to the Euro-6 emissions standard.  Since the system can freely choose the injection type that is optimal at any given time, it is possible to reduce particulate emissions over broad map regions and also reduce fuel consumption.  Another focus of development was to significantly reduce internal friction.  This involved such modifications as changing over the balancer shafts to anti-friction bearings, optimising the crankshaft drive and developing an oil pump that operates only as needed.  In parallel, the weight of the GTI engine was reduced as well.

A large portion of the savings came from the thin-wall crankcase that is only 3 mm thick, a weight-optimised crankshaft, exhaust gas cooling by integrating the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head, a plastic oil pan and the use of aluminium screws.

Eco mode: driver profile selection

The Golf GTI has a standard driver profile selection facility (see Technology highlights section for details) which allows the driver to choose an operating mode which suits their style and journey.  One of the available modes is ‘Eco’, whereby the engine management, air conditioning and ancillary systems are controlled to achieve maximum fuel efficiency.  Vehicles with a DSG gearbox have an additional coasting function in Eco mode which disengages the gear to allow the engine to idle, thereby ensuring better utilisation of the car’s kinetic energy and better fuel economy. 

Gearboxes

As detailed above, the Golf GTI can be ordered with a dual-clutch six-speed gearbox (DSG).  It is designed to offer the best combination of fuel-efficiency and shifting dynamics.  Two dry clutches are used in the seven-speed DSG.

First launched in 2005, Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox combines the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Theoretically, it is two gearboxes in one.

Servicing

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

The Fixed Service regime is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly urban 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, hard acceleration and heavy braking

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

Flexible Service is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, 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 Flexible regime, the vehicle can cover typically between 10,000 and a maximum of 20,000 miles or 24 months (whichever is sooner) between oil changes.  An inspection service is typically due at the end of the second year of ownership or at 20,000 miles and thereafter every year or 20,000 miles, whichever is soonest.

Customers can choose between Fixed and Flexible 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

The latest generation Golf GTI has sport suspension and new progressive steering.  The progressive steering resolves the conflict between comfort and sportiness.  Additionally, a new front differential lock is used exclusively in the Golf GTI Performance.

In developing the running gear for the seventh generation Golf, engineers set out to exploit the advantages of the Modular Transverse Matrix (or MQB platform – see separate section for full details), and certain proven components were further advanced to perfect the car’s ride and comfort properties.  At the same time, weight reduction was a clear priority, in order to maximise the reduction in fuel consumption and enhance ride comfort. 

In order to allow the greatest possible weight reduction, a new modular lightweight rear suspension system was developed for Golf models with under 122 PS, which weighs just 38 kg.  For the more powerful versions, including the GTI, performance suspension was used, weighing 49 kg.

The Golf GTI is offered with a standard sport suspension that is tuned to the higher power of the car.  The body was lowered 15 mm compared to the less powerful Golf models. In front, a MacPherson suspension provides for precise tracking; at the rear, there is the modular performance suspension. Equipped as standard with the further advanced XDSPlus vehicle dynamic function and the new progressive steering system (significantly smaller steering angle input required from one end stop to the other: just over two full turns), the Golf GTI is advancing more than ever into the realm of high-class and significantly more expensive sports cars with its agile and safe handling properties.

Golf GTI Performance

The optional Performance pack boosts power to 230 PS, and has a front differential lock that was exclusively developed for this version.  The advantages of the GTI-specific sport suspension, new progressive steering system, further advanced XDSPlus vehicle dynamic function and electronic front differential lock all add up to handling that is far superior to that of the majority of competitors.  The Golf GTI Performance is also equipped with internally-ventilated disc brakes at all four wheels.  The brake system uses 340 x 30 mm discs at the front and 310 x 22 mm at the rear wheels.  The 220 PS GTI has internally-ventilated discs at the front wheels and unventilated discs at the rear (front: 314 x 30 mm; rear: 300 x 12 mm).

Vehicle dynamics

The running gear layout of the Golf GTI has been tuned for maximum driving fun combined with a high level of vehicle stability.  Drivers will notice that steering response is more agile than in previous Golfs thanks to more direct steering gear ratios.  Maximum attainable speeds through bends were also increased, because of more neutral running gear tuning and optimisations of the XDSPlus system.  In the Golf GTI Performance, the transverse acceleration potential was further increased by the front differential lock; this is especially true of the car’s acceleration out of bends.

Applicable to both versions of the new Golf GTI, is that their neutral handling in bends goes hand in hand with good vehicle stability right up to the maximum speed range, thanks to an innovative and careful layout of all running gear components.  This exceptionally high vehicle stability is especially noticeable during lane changes and during engine load changes.  The development team also made a special effort to tune the Golf GTI for harmonious and predictable reactions of the running gear.

In parallel to improvements to vehicle dynamics, suspension comfort was enhanced relative to the previous model.  For example, the acceleration forces acting on passengers when driving over small and large road bumps have been noticeably reduced.  The comfort levels realised in the Golf GTI show that sporty handling does not necessarily involve unpleasant ride harshness.  The described broad array of positive handling properties – direct, neutral and stable handling up to performance limits combined with a high level of ride comfort – make the driving properties of the seventh generation Golf GTI unique in the competitive field.

XDSPlus

The XDS system that was first introduced in the Golf VI was further developed into the advanced XDSPlus system for the current Golf GTI.  Technically, the XDSPlus electronic differential lock is a functionality that is integrated in the electronic stabilisation programme (ESC) for improved vehicle dynamics.  XDSPlus is an extension of XDS, which is familiar from the previous model; its functionality has now been extended to cover all unbraked driving states.

The new system improves agility and reduces the need for steering angle inputs by targeted brake interventions at the wheels on the inside of the bend of both axles.  In addition, XDSPlus is effective over all conceivable road friction values; it results in more precise handling, even on snow.  The well-known benefits of XDS – such as significantly reduced understeer and improved traction – were also perfected.

Front differential lock

A newly engineered electronic front differential lock is being used exclusively in the Golf GTI Performance.  To date, Volkswagen is the only carmaker to utilise an electronically controlled differential lock in a front-wheel drive production model.  Compared to purely mechanical locks, the front differential lock integrated in the Golf GTI Performance offers advantages such as a variable degree of locking and comprehensive interfaces to the ESC, EDS and XDSPlus functions.  This makes it possible to completely avoid negative effects on steering response and steering precision that otherwise occur with mechanical locks.  As a result, the system realises the full potential and maximum performance of a differential lock with regard to vehicle dynamics, because comfort is not impaired under any circumstances.

Functionality of the front differential lock

The front differential lock doesn’t use any of the engine’s power.  It utilises a multi-plate unit located between the right side driveshaft and the differential case.  The hydraulic pressure needed to actuate the plates is generated by an electric motor driven piston pump.  The locking moment that is generated here is proportional to the hydraulic pressure.  The hydraulic pressure is controlled by the pump speed that is prescribed by a control module.  This control module takes numerous parameter inputs – such as wheel speed, vehicle speed, yaw rate and transverse acceleration – and computes the ideal locking moment.

1,600 Nm maximum locking moment

If the control module detects wheel slip at one of the front wheels, the plates are actuated to redistribute the drive torque from the wheel with the lower grip level to the wheel with the higher level.  The maximum locking moment is 1,600 Nm, so that if necessary all of the drive torque can be directed to just one front wheel; that corresponds to a locking value of 100 per cent.  This produces maximum traction for a front-wheel drive vehicle, even under difficult road conditions and in turning situations.

Torque vectoring effect

When accelerating out of a bend, the drive torque is increased at the wheel on the outside of the bend.  This produces an asymmetrical drive torque distribution that matches the dynamic wheel load distribution.  This is known as a ‘torque vectoring effect’ which reduces acceleration-related understeer.  As a result, the Golf GTI Performance handles neutrally and precisely tracks along the ideal line.  The existing grip level is optimally exploited.  This lets the driver apply much greater force to the accelerator pedal at the apex of a bend, which in turn results in significantly higher exit speeds of the Golf GTI Performance out of bends.

Electronic Stability Control – ESC

The latest-generation ESC system developed for the latest Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.  Essentially, ESC is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur ESC reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusting the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started. 

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

The latest generation of ESC fitted to the Golf has a finer response, counter-steering recommendation and offers trailer stabilisation.  This function can be activated by a Volkswagen Retailer when a Volkswagen-approved towbar is fitted.  This system extends the capability of the normal ESC purely through a software extension.  It does not require additional sensors. 

When the onset of yawing of a trailer is detected by the ESC control module the system automatically reduces or cuts engine power and applies the brakes to appropriate wheels dynamically in phase with the yawing to oppose the snaking motion and stabilise the vehicle/trailer combination.  When stability is achieved the brakes and engine power return to normal control.  During the automatic braking process the brake lights are turned on even though the driver may not be touching the brake pedal.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The Golf uses the latest generation electro-mechanical power steering system which is able to vary the feel at 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, such as crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Progressive steering

Progressive steering is standard on the GTI.  It lets drivers make a turn of a given radius with smaller steering wheel inputs than with conventional steering, thanks to a varied (or progressive) steering gear ratio.  On Golfs with standard steering, it takes 2.75 turns lock to lock (500 degrees).  With progressive steering, this is reduced to 2.1 turns (380 degrees).  As well as providing an even more enjoyable and dynamic driving experience, progressive steering requires perceptibly less steering effort in parking and manoeuvring.

Technically, progressive steering differs from the basic steering system primarily by the rack’s variable tooth spacing and a more powerful electric motor.

DCC dynamic chassis control

A second generation DCC dynamic chassis control system is at work in the Golf GTI.  DCC offers the three driving modes ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’, which are now selected and displayed under ‘Driving profile selector’ on the touchscreen of the centre console.  Besides offering a ‘Normal’ mode, the DCC system, which was specially tuned for the GTI, now offers the ‘Comfort’ mode, which is indeed comfort-oriented but still reflects typical GTI properties.  In ‘Sport’ mode, especially dynamic and agile handling is implemented.  In the ‘Individual’ driving profile, the DCC mode can even be configured with any other desired driving profile properties.

The DCC system adaptively regulates the damper valves via a further developed and refined Volkswagen control algorithm which sets the damper characteristic.  In doing so, DCC evaluates input signals from wheel displacement sensors and accelerometers as well as vehicle bus information from the Chassis-CAN bus.  It then computes the optimal damper force for every driving situation and adaptively adjusts this force.  Damping forces are selectively applied to the four wheels individually.

In the new DCC generation, it is now also possible to fully independently vary rebound and compression damping for transverse dynamic manoeuvres – a significant benefit in optimising vehicle dynamics.  The damper valves were also modified for further improved response.

MacPherson-type front suspension

A MacPherson front suspension (spring struts) with a newly developed low wishbone and track-stabilising scrub radius enables optimal handling and steering in the GTI as well as a balanced response to vibration.  All components were reworked for improved functionality, weight and cost.  This resulted in a weight savings of 1.6 kg compared to the previous model.  This was made possible, for example, by the use of high-strength steel in the transverse links and an innovative bionic approach to designing the pivot bearings.  The subframe is centrally positioned on the front axle; its frame − designed for maximum transverse rigidity − handles loads from the engine mounts and steering as well as loads of the front suspension components.

The now fully tubular anti-roll bar has a spring rate that was specifically tuned for the handling of the new GTI.  The rubber bearings are vulcanised directly onto the painted anti-roll tube; this assures optimal acoustic properties and optimises the responsiveness of the anti-roll bar which is important to vehicle dynamics.  A new aluminium pivot bearing was also designed for the GTI.  The use of aluminium and the bionic design of this pivot bearing enabled a weight reduction of 2.8 kg.  Compared to the previous model, the location of the centre of motion was moderately raised for quicker and more precise response of the new GTI front suspension.

Modular performance rear suspension

The modular lightweight rear suspension system consists of a transverse torsion beam that is open at the bottom, into which an insert plate is welded at the outer ends.  Different torsional stiffness rates for different versions are attained by different lengths of the insert plates.  This yields a considerable weight saving compared to a welded tubular anti-roll bar.  The use of a transverse profile that is open at the bottom also enables optimal roll/steer behaviour and high transverse rigidity.  By using high-strength steels and innovative design methods, Volkswagen succeeded in significantly increasing rigidity compared with previous suspension systems of this construction type.  Despite this, its weight was reduced.

The rear suspension of the Golf GTI was further developed from the perspectives of improved kinematics, acoustics, weight situation and modularity.  However, nothing has changed with regard to its fundamental approach of consistently separating longitudinal and transverse rigidities.  The low longitudinal rigidity has been preserved by the soft axle control of the trailing link; this was a necessary precondition for further improving ride comfort.

Furthermore, compared with the previous generation, Volkswagen successfully improved the transverse rigidity of the modular performance suspension, which is important for steering behaviour, by a new tie rod bearing tuning.  Tracking and camber values are individually tuned by screws on the spring link and at the upper transverse link according to requirement for each vehicle type.  Key design changes to the rear suspension are the connections of the tubular antiroll bar and the suspension damper, which are now made at the spring link.  This reduces forces within the suspension, while in addition the suspension was made 4.0 kg or eight per cent (depending on model) lighter thanks to structural optimisations of many components and the use of high-strength steels.

Hydraulic Brake Assist

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, the 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.

Electronic parking brake with auto hold function

All Golf models have an electronic parking brake which is operated via a switch between the front seats, as opposed to the ‘pull up’ handle from the previous generation.  This also incorporates a standard auto hold function.  This is activated via a button near the gear lever and is useful when the car is regularly stopping for short periods, for example when driving in heavy traffic.  In this case, the parking brake is applied automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake, preventing it from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is then released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.

If auto hold has been switched on when the vehicle ignition is on, it will automatically be switched on the next time the vehicle is started.  Likewise if auto hold has been switched off when the vehicle ignition is on, it will automatically be switched off the next time the vehicle is started.

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS AND DESIGN

The MQB platform

The Golf Mk VII was the first Volkswagen model to be based upon the Volkswagen Group’s MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix.  The introduction of the MQB strategy represented a turning point in the design and production of future automobiles with transverse-mounted engines as it standardised many vehicle component parameters – across brands and vehicle classes – and at the same time, it offered access to new technologies.

The MQB extends from the A0 to the B segment.  At the Volkswagen brand, for example, it covers the following models: Polo, Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Tiguan, Touran, Sharan, Passat and Volkswagen CC.  In the future, all of these models could theoretically be produced on the same assembly line – despite their different wheelbases and track widths.  It will also be possible to produce MQB models of different brands together.

One of the prominent characteristics of the Modular Transverse Matrix is the uniform mounting position of all engines.  Two systems integrated in the MQB strategy which play a key role here are the modular petrol engine system (MOB) with the EA211 engine series (60 to 150 PS) – this range includes the world’s first four-cylinder production engine with cylinder deactivation (ACT) – and the modular diesel engine system (MDB) with the new EA288 engine series (90 to 190 PS).

By introducing this engine series, the number of engine and gearbox variants offered by the Group was reduced by around 90 per cent, without restricting choice.  On the contrary; in addition to standardising conventional internal combustion engines, the MQB also enables an identical mounting position for all current alternative drive concepts without limitations – from natural gas and hybrid versions to the pure electric drive, such as the e-Golf that is on sale today.

The MQB opened up new opportunities at the Volkswagen Group, allowing it to produce high-volume and niche models at the highest quality and extremely competitive costs over the long term and worldwide – vehicles that are individually tailored to the requirements of very diverse markets such as Europe, China and America, as well as emerging markets such as India.  In parallel, the Volkswagen Group significantly reduced vehicle weights with the launch of the first MQB model series, and introduced 20 innovations in the areas of safety and infotainment.  Many of these innovations were reserved for higher vehicle segments, including for example the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System which, after an initial collision, helps to reduce the intensity of secondary collisions by automatically initiated braking.  This system is standard on all Golf models.

Within the Group, the MQB developed under the auspices of the Volkswagen brand is supplemented by the Modular Longitudinal System (MLB) from Audi, the Modular Standard System (MSB) with Porsche as the competence centre and finally the ‘New Small Family’ – the most compact vehicle model series with the Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii and ŠKODA Citigo.

DESIGN

Exterior

In developing the Golf, the teams led by then head designers Walter de Silva (Volkswagen Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Volkswagen Brand) based their work on a great deal of creative freedom that allowed many different approaches for a new design, while also focusing on the principles of what is now commonly termed, the Volkswagen ‘design DNA’.

Over recent years, Volkswagen designers have crystallised a selection of core elements from the brand’s history, which they term its ‘historic DNA’.  All current Volkswagen designs correspond to this DNA, with the cars conveying a modern, progressive impression, which nevertheless feels familiar.  This DNA includes elements such as the reduced form of the radiator grille crossbeam, the look of the side windows as well as the first Golf’s roofline and the Golf Mk VI’s typical C-pillars and wheel arches.

This DNA creates a unique, unmistakable language of product features and design.  The language of product features leaves a familiar feeling, and yet it creates a new sensation in the eyes of the observer. The features are visual characteristics such as functionality, robustness, honesty and reliability.  These characteristics are generated by a ‘language of form’ perfected over many years.

‘This language of form,’ explains Bischoff, ‘is logical, solid, product-focused, pure and precise, and it reflects the brand’s design DNA as a perfect model of creativity.  This makes the base architecture of the Golf unmistakable.  It comes over as simple, strong, understandable, reliable and safe.  When one begins with the pure element of this clear base architecture, details such as the economical use and placement of sculptural lines seem more like fine nuances.  Another extremely important point is that the Golf’s proportions have changed with the seventh generation, making the car look more confident than ever before.’

Marc Lichte, lead exterior designer, explains: ‘The proportions have changed, as we have taken advantage of the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) here.  The front wheels, for example, have moved 43 mm further forward.  The front overhang is therefore shorter, while the bonnet looks longer.’  Klaus Bischoff confirms this: ‘Visually, the passenger compartment has been shifted towards the rear, creating what is called a ‘cab backward’ impression.  That’s what we call the proportions of premium-class vehicles, where the bonnet is long and the passenger compartment a long way towards the back.  On the current Golf, we thus have proportions that you otherwise only get in higher-class segments of the market.’

In pure dimensional terms the Golf Mk VII is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, giving it a more dynamic stance.  Thanks to a longer wheelbase, however, it has more interior space and a larger boot.

Comparison of Golfs Mk VI and VII:

 

 

Golf Mk VII

Golf Mk VI

Difference

length, mm

4255

4199

+56

width, w/out door mirrors, mm (5dr)

1799

1786

+13

height, mm

1452

1479

-28

wheelbase, mm

2637

2578

+59

maximum luggage capacity

 

 

 

w/out rear seat folded, litres

380

350

+30

with        rear seat folded, litres

1270

1305

-35

Side profile

Marc Lichte: ‘We sought to emphasise these modified proportions with design elements.  Below the door handles, we have integrated the now clearly visible and very sharp character line.  While this line is interrupted by the wheelarches, it is otherwise continuous and is stylistically reflected in the chrome bars of the radiator grille and headlights and at the back in the white lateral bars of the rear light clusters.  Set deep down all the way around, this line lowers the visual centre of gravity and gives the car a more solid stance on the road.  Another striking element is the new line along the side shoulder directly below the windows.  This line begins at the front in the headlight, and then glides under the wing mirror, which is positioned right on the line, all the way through to the rear side window, underscoring the premium proportions of the Golf.’  The wheelarches are particularly prominent as well, and along with the wider track, longer wheelbase and tyre dimensions of up to 18 inches, they make the Golf appear more powerful.

‘Two other features,’ explains Bischoff, ‘are characteristic of the Golf silhouette: the C-pillar and the roofline.  On the previous Golf, the character line still cut through the C-pillar.  This is no longer the case on the new Golf.  The C-pillar runs along one homogenous surface from the start of the roof all the way to the rear wheel arch.  Above the wheelarch, however, it picks up more strongly the entire width of the car – and as a result, when viewed from behind or diagonally from the rear, the new Golf looks more powerful.  Viewed from the side, the precision of the C-pillar design catches the eye; it resembles the drawn string of a bow, giving the Golf a look of acceleration even while it is standing still.  At the same time, it pays homage to the Golf Mk II and Mk IV – both design icons.’

On the right-hand side of the vehicle, even the shape of the fuel cap is integrated into this arrow element.  Head Designer Klaus Bischoff continues: ‘The contour of the roofline has also been redesigned.  Here – above the side windows – the Golf displays another line, which runs from the roof-edge spoiler right through to the A-pillars.  It is one of those features that give the Golf a particularly sophisticated look from the side as well – a line that at first glance may remain unnoticed, yet is a further detail en route to visual precision.’

The designers have systematically exploited this potential of proportions to give the Golf GTI a more impressive stance on the road than ever before. Like the very first Golf GTI, the seventh generation also sports typical GTI insignia. On the new model they include the red trim strip on the radiator grille that now extends into the headlights. Also typically GTI VII are the additional air inlet openings in the front spoiler; a honeycomb structure of the air inlet screens; vertical fog lights; xenon headlights with an unmistakable light signature; the larger rear spoiler; distinctive, large tailpipes of the exhaust system that are arranged far outboard and finally the alloy wheels that were specially designed for the Golf GTI. Certainly, the visual effect of the standard 18-inch alloy wheels (‘Austin’ type) and their interplay with the GTI sport suspension (with a 15 mm lower ride height) should not be underestimated.

Front section

The Volkswagen design DNA manifests itself in a ‘face’ that has appealing features.  In addition, in the same way as on the first Golf, it defines horizontally balanced elements that create a certain width.  Together they produce a front section that is recognisable in every rear view window as that of a Volkswagen.  Each Volkswagen class has its own character attributes in this respect.  In the Golf class these include, for example, the slightly upward sweeping headlights and a defined maximum height for the radiator grille.

Compared to its predecessor, the current Golf displays completely restructured modulation of its surfaces.  While on the Golf Mk VI the wings were higher than the bonnet – effectively framing it – this is now the other way round.  On the sides, the crease lines form the wings’ lowest points, before the latter transition vertically into the wheelarches.  The top border of the wings is formed by a line, as if cut by a knife, which begins at the A-pillars.  All of the lines together form a V-shaped bonnet.

In the front area with its LED fog lights (optional) that were customised to the GTI,

there is another strong and significant GTI element that was completely reinterpreted: the red line on the radiator grille. At one time, on the first Golf GTI, it completely surrounded the rectangular radiator grille. On the sixth generation GTI, two red stripes were used which framed the top and bottom of the grille. Now, in the seventh generation, the red stripe terminates the lower edge of the radiator. The air inlet is now framed by a body-coloured area that even with the car’s very confident look gives it the typical Volkswagen smile.  Particularly striking are the LED daytime running lights of the xenon headlights. 

At the very bottom of the bumper, beneath the cross panel painted in body colour, the black air inlet (with its honeycomb structure screen) is now no longer surrounded by another black area, rather by surfaces painted in body colour. In this way, the air inlet makes a stronger impression; simultaneously, the three lateral, high-gloss black aerodynamic fins beneath the headlights also terminate the front end. Another detail fitting in with the precisely contoured styling is the black splitter (lower edge of the front spoiler), which is familiar from motorsport.

Rear section

Typical Golf elements at the rear include the clear geometry of the rear lights, the rear window stretching all the way to the C-pillars and the large uniform surface around the Volkswagen badge.  In fact, even without the badge or model name the seventh generation of this best-seller is instantly recognisable as a Golf.  And yet every line is new.  That applies both to the rear light clusters that terminate narrower on the inside and terminate parallel to the C-pillar on the outside (with striking L-shaped light contours) and to the tailgate, which reaches much lower down and offers one of the lowest boot sill heights in its class (665 mm).  

A horizontal light-refracting edge near the bottom of the tailgate, which continues on the bumper, and the boot sill running parallel below this emphasise the sportily full width of the new Golf.  These elements also correspond to the lines of the now much more pronounced bumper that is visually ‘pulled out’ towards the rear.  The bumper itself is fully painted right down to the bottom, with only the centrally integrated diffuser, which also incorporates the exhaust pipe, kept black.

Another example of the harmonious integration of GTI specific elements is the roof spoiler design, which is considerably larger than its counterpart on Golf versions with less powerful engines; it is integrated to be flush to the boot lid and the body. The spoiler, painted in body colour, seamlessly transitions into black aerodynamic elements on the sides of the boot lid, which makes a visual reference to the use of black colour in the first generation Golf GTI. Another feature that is designed in black, along with the aerodynamic elements and the front splitter, is the diffuser at the rear. To the left and right of the diffuser are the chrome tailpipes of the exhaust system.

Under the surface: weight reduction

It was a stated intention in designing the latest Golf to end the upward spiral in weight while raising the number of features, enhancing safety and increasing size.  Saving up to 100 kg in weight – which was achieved – is a complex task, especially in the compact class, as intensive research and development work costs money, and it was also a pre-requisite that the Mk VII should cost less than the Mk VI. 
Weight savings were achieved thanks to development in the following areas:

  • Body structure: up to 37.0 kg
  • Electrical: up to 6.0 kg
  • Engines: up to 40.0 kg
  • Running gear: up to 26.0 kg

In mathematical terms the total potential saving is as much as 109 kilograms although the maximum that can be achieved in any one vehicle is 100 kg.  The greatest weight reduction is achieved from the engines and body structure.

Superstructure

Within the body structure, a 37 kg saving is possible through:

  • Dashboard: -0.4 kg
  • Module cross-member (beneath dashboard): -1.4 kg
  • Air conditioning: -2.7 kg
  • Front and rear seats (depending on version): -7.0 kg
  • Body: -23.0 kg
  • Miscellaneous: -2.5 kg

Dashboard: Although 0.4 kg does not sound much, this is where designers insist that perfection in the details comes into play.  If 0.4 kg is overlooked, then ultimately a 100 kg saving will never be attained.  Volkswagen not only succeeded in making the dashboard 20 per cent lighter thanks to a new thermoplastic foam injection process – the load-bearing, sandwich-like structure beneath the elegant surface consists of this material – but also in making it 20 per cent more rigid at the same time.

Module cross-member: The 1.4 kg saved here also contributes towards overcoming the upward weight spiral.  Mounted on the module cross-member are both the steering gear and the dashboard.  Altogether the cross-member weighs 5.8 kg.  The reduction in weight was achieved with a lightweight design approach utilising steel components.  Based on an analysis by Finite Element Method (FEM) computations, the structure of the module cross-member was designed to be as light as possible and as strong as necessary.  Optimal steel thicknesses and structural design measures, such as specially formed corrugations, improved the rigidity of the cross-member, while also reducing its weight by the noted 1.4 kg.  Utilising methods such as the Finite Element Method (FEM), engineers at Volkswagen are essentially emulating examples found in nature, where the natural world is able to attain an astonishing ratio between the cross-section of a part’s structure and its rigidity, e.g. in a stalk of grass or grain.

Air conditioning: The Golf’s entire air conditioning system was redesigned and became 2.7 kg lighter.  Independent of its weight, all of the Golf air conditioning units with their highly efficient refrigerant cycles set standards of comfort and efficiency.  That is because they run very quietly (up to 5 dB(A) lower), they reach the desired temperature significantly faster and are very energy-efficient (up to 4 Amperes less) due to a type of blower control with intelligent climate control.  The 2.7 kg weight reduction is achieved by such design modifications as optimised gauge of materials for various system components, reduced diameters of pressure lines, a new fastening system and a weight-optimised high performance heat exchanger.

Seating system: Along with numerous minor modifications to the seats, weight was reduced in other areas − especially in the rear backrests − to save a total of up to 7 kg.  Once again, the Finite Element Method and high-strength steels combined with laser welding made it possible to optimise wall thicknesses and profile geometries.  Engineers achieved weight savings of over 15 per cent in this way and by using lighter backrest latch mechanisms.

Body: The body must be strong to guarantee optimal safety and maximum comfort, and harmonising these two parameters continues to be one of the greatest challenges in the automotive world, especially when a car needs to be affordable for millions of people.  Expensive materials like aluminium, magnesium or carbon-fibre are therefore excluded in this segment.  That is why Volkswagen relies on the synergies of the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), innovative utilisation of high-strength steels and advanced production methods.  The success of this approach is demonstrated by a 23 kg reduction in weight in the car body structure − without additional costs − while satisfying more stringent crash and rigidity requirements and implementing larger vehicle dimensions.

In this area a 23 kg saving was made possible through:

  • Use of high-strength and advanced high-strength steel grades and reduction of sheet metal thickness: -12 kg
  • Only using materials where they are needed: -4 kg
  • Optimising profile and surface geometries: -7 kg

High-strength and advanced high-strength steels: The share of high-strength steels has grown from 66 per cent to 80 per cent compared to the Golf Mk VI.  The decisive advantage lies in the fact that Volkswagen has built up expertise in the development and production of ultra-high-strength, hot-formed parts since the Golf Mk VI and has invested in manufacturing facilities – more than any other carmaker in the world.  The share of these parts that are up to six times as strong as conventional steel parts grew from six per cent in the Golf Mk VI to 28 per cent in the Golf Mk VII.  

Moreover, advanced high-strength steels are available today that did not exist when the previous model was being developed.  These represent another nine per cent in the new car.  The advantage of these extremely strong steels: the finished parts made of them can be designed to be considerably thinner than before and still handle the stresses of a crash.  Nearly the entire safety architecture of the new Golf consists of these steels, which effectively form the vehicle’s backbone.  Hot-forming also saves a total of 12 kg in weight.

Only using materials where needed: The second lightweight design strategy – to only use material where it is needed – is an obvious one.  This effort even goes so far as precisely to vary the sheet metal thicknesses within a part; this is done at the rolling mill of the steel supplier, which delivers a tailor rolled blank (a rolled blank with variable thickness) to the hot-forming facility.  One advantage compared to conventional tailored blanks is that 11 zones can be produced within a cross-member, each with optimal sheet thickness.  The transitions between the different sheet thicknesses are uniform here and do not exhibit any abrupt changes in strength.  The savings for just these parts: 4 kg.

Optimising geometries: Geometries of the load-bearing structure and surface parts have been optimised for many years.  Continually improved virtual methods in the development process can be used to utilise existing installation spaces even more effectively.  Take the example of the longitudinal frame member, where optimal utilisation of the mounting space between the engine and the front of the chassis enabled a 25 per cent increase in profile cross-section, which in turn enabled the use of thinner stock.  

Nonetheless, the entire front structure of the Golf can absorb more energy in a frontal crash – thanks to geometry that is computationally optimised by FEM.  In the case of surface parts such as the bulkhead and the floor, computationally optimised, acoustically effective corrugation patterns were introduced that also make the sheet metal more rigid and in turn lead to a reduction in sound insulating measures.  Just these mentioned examples result in a weight reduction of 7 kg.

New production methods

Welding processes and innovative tools also make a decisive contribution towards attaining high quality in body manufacturing.  They are used to join and assemble all components – including the hot-formed steels and tailor rolled blanks, and includes the laser clamp welder, a tool which enables so-called ‘wobble welds’, which are able to produce the joint between parts on a short flange.  The ‘wobble’ describes the sinusoidal path of the laser weld seam.

Hot forming: Hot-formed parts have an extremely high tensile yield strength of 1,000 MPa (Megapascal), which is over six times the strength of conventional deep-drawn steels and up to four times the strength of conventional high-strength steels.  In the hot-forming process, a red-hot blank, heated to approximately 950 degrees Celsius, is inserted in the forming tool, formed in a work process and then quickly cooled in the tool.  

Acoustics perfected: The sixth-generation Golf was already considered among the quietest cars in the compact class, and Volkswagen set out to reinforce this position with the seventh-generation model.  Therefore, innovative simulation tools were employed in the development of the latest car to evaluate very precisely conceptual and component layouts with regard to their comfort and acoustics early on. This type of evaluation analyses parameters such as vibrations and sound pressure, which are perceived directly by the driver and passengers in the car.  As a result, it was possible to transfer the high level of acoustic comfort of the previous model to the new Golf, despite substantial weight savings.

Running gear:  One example of weight reduction in this area is in the screw fastening concept for the front suspension which was simplified while the joining points were optimised for the modular performance suspension that is used for all Golf cars up to 120 PS.  This makes it possible to attain the greatest effect for acoustic ride comfort compared to the usual stiffening measures that are taken.  The structure in the vicinity of the region where the front-body legs connect to the occupant cell and the entire area around the strut towers were designed to minimise acoustic noise transmission to the interior.  Specifically, engineers achieved a 5 dB reduction in ride noise compared to the previous model here.

Noise reduction

As well as minimising the transmission of road noise through the running gear, the development group also focused on minimising engine noise.  In particular, the transmission of engine noise was reduced to a low level in the conceptual design of the front subframe, as well as the zones around the strut towers, windscreen and firewall.

Engine mounts: A considerable amount of optimal refinement comfort depends on a car’s engine mounting method.  The mounting system for the seventh-generation Golf was completely redesigned, while retaining the pivot bearing concept.  Despite reductions in component weights, performance of the engine mounting system was improved.  Along with reducing the amount of structure-borne noise (from the engine), improvements were made in vibration damping.  The engine mount system thus results in smaller movements of the engine assembly, and it is this which is key to optimising refinement.

Quieter engines: The acoustic performance of the current Golf’s engines was an issue tackled in the early development phase of the car.  With the TDI engine, for example, by considering requirements early in its development, specific engine-related acoustic measures were implemented in the package to reduce the airborne noise emissions directly at the source.  This also included measures for optimal acoustic integration of the oxidation catalytic converter, the charge air tube, oil sump and dampers on the crankcase on the firewall side.  In addition, encapsulating the engine compartment in a sound-absorbent material ensures conditions remain quiet both inside and around the Golf.

Wind, environmental and background noise:  Thanks to the Golf’s impressive aerodynamic properties wind noise is reduced; meanwhile, environmental noises are absorbed for the most part by the elaborately sealed body.  However, comprehensive noise insulation of the engine and running gear can mean that background sounds – e.g. from the blower, actuator motors, toothed belts or the turbocharger – might be perceived, while they were masked by engine noise in the previous model.  This problem was solved through intensive work which reduced or eliminated background noise at source, and which largely avoided the need for additional, secondary acoustic measures in these areas.

Acoustic windscreen:  The acoustically effective damping film used in the windscreen between the two glass laminations of the Golf Mk VI was carried over to the new generation.  This film is especially effective at reducing noise or sound waves in the frequency range from 2.5 to 3.5 kHz.  In addition, the use of absorbers in the front doors and innovative design of the door seals has achieved a further reduction in the amount of environmental noise that finds its way into the interior.  The complete package of all acoustic measures has made the latest Golf one of the quietest cars in its class.

Interior design

As already mentioned, at 4,255 mm the Golf is 56 mm longer than the previous model, while the wheelbase was increased by 59 mm to 2,637 mm.  Since the front wheels are also located 43 mm further forward, the interplay of the new dimensions not only creates sportier proportions and an improved crash structure, but also optimises interior space.  At the same time, although the body has been lowered in height by 28 mm (1,452 mm) headroom in the interior is still very good.  At 1,799 mm the new Golf is 13 mm wider, and the track widths have been increased by 8 mm in front and 6 mm at the rear.

The slight increases in length and width, as well as increased wheelbase and optimised track widths, have a perceptible effect on space in the passenger cabin, which is now 14 mm longer (1,750 mm).  Passengers in the rear seating area, in particular, enjoy 15 mm more knee room.  Shoulder room has grown by 31 mm to 1,420 mm and elbow room is increased by 22 mm to 1,469 mm.  In the rear seating area, shoulder room was also improved by an additional 30 mm and elbow width by 20 mm.  All Golfs have a 60:40 split backrest. 

Overall, boot capacity has grown by 30 litres to 380 litres; while the variable-height cargo floor can also be lowered by 100 mm.  The loading height of the boot is now just 665 mm (-17 mm).  In parallel, the maximum bootspace width has grown by 228 mm to 1,272 mm.  Volkswagen has also increased the width of the bootspace opening by 47 mm to 1,023 mm.

Styling and controls

Significantly more room and even better ergonomics define the driver’s area in the Golf
Mk VII.  Taller drivers in particular will welcome the seat position that has been moved back by 20 mm; the steering wheel’s adjustment range has also been modified.  Pedal distances have been optimised as well thanks to the Modular Transverse Matrix, with the space between the brake and accelerator pedals, for example, increased by 16 mm.  Another ergonomic improvement: compared to the previous model, Volkswagen has raised the position of the gearbox controls by 20 mm; the gear shift grip now rests better in the driver’s hand.

Tomasz Bachorski, Head of Interior Design at Volkswagen, commented: ‘Every interior element was redeveloped and redesigned.  One noticeable feature here is the wide centre console that is oriented towards the driver, which is more typical of the premium category than the compact class.  Never before have the traditionally high levels of objectivity and functionality in the Golf been implemented with such elegance and sophistication.’

In the middle of the centre console, beneath the switch for the hazard warning lights, is the infotainment touch-screen with its menu keys and dials.  All information and entertainment systems were completely redeveloped and restyled and for the first time, Volkswagen introduced a generation of touch-screens with a proximity sensor and a function that reacts to wiping movements by the fingers (wipe and zoom movements as used on smartphones); the graphic design of the interface also corresponds to the new age of intuitive operation.

Located beneath the infotainment module are the well laid-out controls for climate control, followed by the lower section of the centre console that runs in a line up to the large centre armrest.  The consistent design conveys a sense of sophistication of a premium class model.  To the left of the driver are the buttons for the new electronic parking brake and its auto hold function.  Integrated in front of it is a storage compartment which houses the multimedia interfaces (aux-in, USB and iPod interfaces).  The compartment is also big enough to hold a smartphone.  There is a large storage compartment hidden under the centre armrest that can be adjusted by up to 100 mm in length and five stages in height.  

Bachorski comments: ‘Visually distinctive in the interior – along with the centre console –
is the dashboard body, the upper section of the dashboard that is upholstered with a material that is visually elegant and pleasing to the touch.  It is subdivided by a seam that runs across the entire interior width towards the windscreen.  Each of the outer areas of the dashboard body fuses homogeneously with the window sill on each side.’  Like the lower area of the dashboard, the lower door trim can also be ordered in a contrasting colour.

The inlays in the door panels have illuminated trim as part of the ambient lighting fitted as standard in the GTI.  The switches for the electric windows are ergonomically easy to access in the armrests; located in front of the door handle on the driver’s side is the control for electric mirror adjustment.  

The door trim panels themselves display the motif of two intersecting curved lines, which logically divide the door trim’s functional areas: armrest, door handle, storage bin and loudspeaker.  Elements of the ambient lighting provide for optimal illumination and an elegant atmosphere at night.

Seat comfort

For the Golf Mk VII, all five seating positions were redesigned, front and rear.  The seats exhibit well-contoured body lines, optimal support for dynamic driving, and a high level of comfort on long trips.  These characteristics were achieved by designing the foam contours to fit body shapes properly and by the optimised springing and damping properties of the cold foam cushioning sections.  The GTI is equipped with standard two-way lumbar support on the driver and front passenger seats.  The optional 12-way electric driver’s seat offers even greater individual adjustment.

Climate control

Standard on GTI and GTD models is a fully automatic 2Zone electronic climate control.  This regulates the Golf’s interior temperature via 2Zone temperature control (separate for driver and front passenger), and its intensity can be selected as ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ or ‘Intense’). 

The fully automatic control unit operates with various sensors for the sun, air quality and humidity.  The sun sensor detects the intensity and direction of solar radiation, and the system is controlled accordingly.  When the air quality sensor indicates that the concentration of nitrogen oxides or carbon monoxide outside has exceeded a defined limit, then the recirculation flap of the Climatronic system closes.  The addition of a humidity sensor on the Golf means it is also possible to control the heating function with recirculation mode, resulting in significantly quicker heating of the interior without fogging of the windows.

The packaging of the air conditioning system was also improved by such measures as a new filter layout above the blower in the air intake channel which makes it 140 mm narrower in this area.  The overall system is 2.7 kg lighter than that in the previous generation Golf.  What’s more this enabled a uniform layout of electrical system components between left-hand and right-hand drive vehicles, and created more space in the footwell area.  A high-performance heat exchanger, as well as reduction of heat losses in the refrigerant cycle, demand-based use of electrical auxiliary heating and an innovative thermal management system, also had a beneficial effect on heating performance.  Compared to the previous model, the interior of the Golf heats to a pleasantly warm temperature 30 per cent faster.

In addition, the refrigerant cycle was completely redesigned for maximum efficiency gain, weight reduction and manufacturing optimisation.  The refrigerant cycle consists of a highly efficient compressor and condenser as well as an internal heat exchanger.  Design of the refrigerant lines was also perfected resulting in weight savings.  Another benefit of the efficient refrigerant cycle is that it cools the interior significantly faster.

The humidity sensor is also used to run the air conditioning compressor at as low a power level as is needed, thereby significantly reducing energy consumption on hot days.  Here, the Climatronic automatically deactivates the compressor as soon as it is not needed to reach the desired temperature, or if there is no risk of window fogging and a preset limit for humidity is not exceeded in the interior.  For the first time, air conditioning components that are relevant to fuel economy are then only activated when needed and are controlled to optimise energy consumption in all operating modes.  The interplay of all components of the new air conditioning system leads to considerable fuel savings compared to the previous model.

FEATURES

Like all six Golf GTI generations before it, the seventh generation is distinguished from other Golf models by numerous additional equipment features and classic GTI insignia. The new Golf GTI is also one of the best equipped cars in its class with standard features like the innovative progressive steering, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Driver Alert System, xenon headlights, a radio-CD system with touchscreen and automatic climate control.

Exterior features

On its exterior, GTI-specific standard features are the red painted brake callipers, sport suspension (15 mm lower ride height), the progressive steering system being used in the GTI for the first time, bi-xenon headlights with cornering lights, licence plate lighting in LED technology, dark red LED rear lights, the GTI-typical honeycomb structure of the air inlet screens, a roof spoiler (in body colour) with side-mounted aerodynamic elements (high gloss black), GTI bumpers, ParkPilot (acoustic and visual warning signals), tyre pressure monitoring indicator, GTI logos on the front wings (sides of body in area of A-pillars) and chrome 80-mm diameter tailpipes, one on the left and one on the right. In the chassis electronics area, on-board features also include the extensively reengineered XDSPlus electronic differential lock. Extended performance features. On its exterior, the Golf GTI Performance (169 kW/230 PS) is distinguished by the GTI logo on the front brake callipers and larger internally-ventilated brake discs (front: 340 mm, rear: 310 mm) for the GTI with 162 kW/220 PS. Technical features of the Golf GTI Performance also include a newly developed front differential lock.

Colours and wheels

The production colours red (‘Tornado Red’) and ‘Black’ as well as ‘Pure White’ have been typical for the Golf GTI since its beginning days. As a special feature, the new Golf GTI can also be ordered in seven metallic or pearl effect paints: ‘Carbon Steel Grey Metallic’, ‘Reflex Silver Metallic’, ‘Tungsten Silver Metallic’, ‘Limestone Grey Metallic’, ‘Night Blue Metallic’, ‘Deep Black Pearl Effect’ and ‘Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect’.

Volkswagen has further developed its standard ‘Denver’ GTI wheels; their styling characteristics flowed into the design of the new machine-polished 17-inch ‘Brooklyn’ alloy wheels that replace them. The new wheels have a lighter visual look and are in fact lighter in weight. The wheels are fitted with size 225/45 tyres. In addition, the new 18-inch ‘Austin’ alloy wheels and 19-inch alloy wheels in ‘Santiago’ design are available as options.

Interior features

The car with the golf ball. Along with its many standard features such as air conditioning, Driver Alert system and the Composition Touch radio system, numerous GTI features refine the interior. They include the customised leather sport steering wheel and a special gear shift grip. The latter is once again reminiscent of a golf ball, which also makes it a tribute to the first GTI just like the new leather-trimmed steering wheel design. The sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel with its three metal spokes and trim in high-gloss black has a lightweight look, and it is remarkably handy and easy to grip. On its two cross spokes it has multifunction keys as standard, and at its centre - in contrast to all other Golf steering wheels - it has a round impact absorber whose form is similar to that of the component in the first GTI.

GTI instruments and ambience lighting. Also making a strong statement is the GTI instrument cluster with a colour display and independent graphics of its instruments. It is no coincidence that it resembles high-end chronographs. The GTI specific look of the interior is rounded out by red ambience lighting, special trim strips and panels (trim strips in the front doors with ambience lighting), brushed stainless steel pedals and foot rest (on left), door sill entry plates in front with a stainless steel application and ambience lighting that is also integrated here.

Classic seat now also in Alcantara.

Also important are the typical top sport seats and seat covers. The first GTI had them already: seat covers in the legendary tartan pattern. As in the transition to every new GTI generation, the fabric of the Golf GTI VI known as ‘Jacky’ was redesigned and is now named ‘Clark.’ Naturally, the tartan pattern was kept. A new optional feature: the fabric sport seats in ‘Clark’ design can now be ordered for the first time with side panels and head restraints in Alcantara.

Moreover, the seats and door trim panels can also be ordered in ‘Vienna’ upholstery. The front seats also offer height adjustment and a manually adjustable lumbar support. Electric adjustment of the driver’s seat is available as an option. Red decorative seams in the area of the seats and the gear shift trim provide a sporty contrast, and the black roofliner that is always part of the GTI emphasises the sporty layout of the interior.

SAFETY

As well as making the latest generation the most technically advanced Golf, designers and developers were also set the task of making this the safest Golf yet – quite a challenge given the accompanying weight reduction targets.

Earlier sections of this description (Design: weight reduction, and Technology highlights) lay out in detail the measures that were taken to ensure weight reduction did not result in any loss of safety, as well as the full remit of passive and active safety features which are fitted.

Airbag system

Naturally the latest generation Golf has, like its predecessor, seven airbags, including a knee airbag on the driver’s side.  The special location of the knee airbag – beneath the knee impact area on the instrument panel – ensures that there is no contact between the airbag door and the lower leg.

In the event of a crash the airbag deploys in front of the driver’s knees in less than 20 milliseconds and absorbs – in conjunction with the seatbelt and front airbag – a significant share of the crash energy.  The driver is integrated into the vehicle’s deceleration early via the thighs and pelvis, and the steering wheel airbag cushions the driver’s chest and head at the optimal angle in the resulting, gently introduced upper body movement.

In general, the knee airbag protects the driver’s legs from a hard collision with the steering column and instrument panel.  In an offset impact, the feet are also better protected against lateral ankle twist.

Safety optimised head restraint system

Injuries caused by hyperextensions of the spine – or whiplash – are extremely common following car accidents.  Volkswagen has developed its safety optimised head restraint system to counteract whiplash injuries by co-ordinating the movements of the head and upper body as synchronously as possible via the seatbacks and head restraints.  The latest generation of the system is fitted as standard on all Golfs including the GTI and GTI Clubsport Edition 40.

To reduce the risk of injury, excellent protection is afforded by achieving defined deceleration velocity of the upper body via the seatback, co-ordinated deceleration of the head via the head restraint, and balanced motions of head and upper body.  Key to this is the special contour of the head restraints and seatbacks as well as the hardness of the foam material used here.  The contoured shape of the head restraints is being patented by Volkswagen.  On related studies, the system has demonstrated a level of protective potential that is substantially better than the biomechanical values attained by many active systems.

Seatbelt fastening detection for the rear

Another highlight in the Golf is the seatbelt fastening detection system for rear passengers.  This function is standard when optional side airbags and belt tensioners are ordered for the outer rear seat positions.  Thanks to this warning system, the driver can tell whether occupants are buckled up in the rear when starting the car and during driving.

After switching on the ignition, the driver is informed via the multifunctional display for 30 seconds whether occupants are buckled up in the rear.  If a seatbelt is fastened, a relevant symbol is shown (buckled person) for the specific seat location; an unfastened seatbelt is also displayed (empty seat).  While driving, if the rear seatbelts are unfastened at a vehicle speed greater than 25 km/h (approx. 15 mph), the seatbelt indicator flashes for 30 seconds (displayed symbol alternates between empty seat and buckled occupant); an acoustic signal is also heard.

Euro NCAP test results

The Golf was tested ahead of launch by the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) crash test agency, and received a top five-star rating.  It also won the award for innovations in the area of integral safety at the Euro NCAP Advanced Awards.  Along with Lane Assist and Front Assist, the PreCrash preventive occupant protection and the standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System were recognised as pioneering safety innovations.  This is further confirmation of the excellent competitive position of the Golf.

The new Golf was awarded top ratings for its occupant protection.  Evaluated here were frontal and side impact tests, a pole side impact test and what is known as the whiplash test, in which loads to the spine are measured in a rear end collision.  Not only adults, but children too can feel safe in the new Golf.  This was verified in tests, some of which utilised dummies sized to represent 18-month-old and three-year-old children.  The new Golf also impressed testers with its pedestrian protection capabilities.

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

The Golf GTI, GTI Clubsport Edition 40 and GTI Clubsport S models are all well-equipped. Highlights of each trim are shown below.  The GTI and Clubsport Edition 40 are available in either three or five-door bodystyles and with a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox.  For full details please refer to the latest price list.  The Clubsport S, which sold out on release, was exclusively a three-door car with manual transmission. 

Golf GTI

The GTI Mk VII features the following as standard:

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control)
  • XDSPlus electronic differential lock
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
  • Driver Alert system
  • PreCrash preventive occupant protection
  • ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) including Front Assist, radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system, City Emergency Braking system and cruise control
  • driver profile selection
  • driver’s and front passenger’s airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system, for front and rear passengers
  • front seat side impact airbags
  • driver’s knee airbag
  • driver’s and front passenger’s safety optimised head restraints
  • three rear three-point seatbelts and head restraints
  • warning buzzer and light for front seatbelts if unfastened
  • Isofix child seat preparation (for two rear child seats)
  • electronic engine immobiliser
  • alarm with interior protection
  • automatic door locking, speed related, can be switched off
  • remote central locking with two folding keys
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment
  • rear centre armrest with cupholders
  • easy entry sliding seats (for access to rear seats – three-door only)
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40
  • variable boot floor, height adjustable and removable
  • multifunction computer with visual gear change recommendation for improved fuel consumption
  • Bluetooth connection for compatible telephones
  • Discover Navigation infotainment system with 6.5-inch colour touch-screen, DAB radio, CD player, car information display, 2D or 3D satellite navigation display and Think Blue Trainer (with information and tips on how to achieve an especially economical style of driving, for example, advising the driver to shut windows if the air conditioning is on)
  • front and rear (on five-door models) electric windows
  • 2Zone electronic air conditioning with allergy filer
  • four load lashing points in luggage compartment
  • battery regeneration and Start/Stop system
  • steel space saver spare wheel
  • 7.5J x 18-inch ‘Austin’ alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • sports suspension (lowered by approx. 15 mm)
  • luggage compartment storage area; load-through provision
  • height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • leather-trimmed three spoke multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift (DSG models), gear knob and handbrake grip
  • 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • automatic coming and leaving home lighting function, plus dusk sensor and automatic driving lights
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • rear tinted windows from B-pillar back, 65 per cent tinted
  • front sport seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • driver’s and front passenger’s under seat drawers
  • ambient interior lighting
  • parking sensors, front and rear (no rear sensors on Clubsport Edition 40)
  • LED front fog lights
  • bi-xenon headlights with static cornering function and LED daytime running lights
  • LED rear light clusters with ‘Smoked’ covers
  • LED rear number plate illumination
  • ‘Jacara Red’ cloth upholstery
  • red ambient interior lighting
  • illuminated and cooled glovebox
  • uniquely styled front bumper with spoiler and rear bumper with black diffuser
  • dual exhaust pipes, chrome, one at either side
  • honeycomb radiator grille with red stripe into headlights
  • unique ‘GTI’ instrument cluster
  • contrast red stitching on steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and handbrake
  • ‘Cyclone’ decorative inserts in dash, centre console and door panels
  • black rooflining
  • stainless steel pedals
  • red brake calipers with ‘GTI’ logo on cars with Performance pack
  • limited-slip differential (GTI with Performance pack only)
  • XDSPlus electronic differential lock
  • heated windscreen washer jets (not on Clubsport Edition 40)         

Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40

In addition to the GTI, this model adds:

  • 7.5J x 18-inch ‘Quaranta’ alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres
  • ‘Gloss Black’ door mirrors
  • ‘GTI Clubsport’ styling pack with uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers, ‘Black’ honeycomb front air intake, front splitter and air curtains
  • unique ‘Clubsport’ decals on the side skirts
  • unique rear diffuser in ‘Black’ with chrome exhaust tailpipes, left and right
  • uniquely shaped extended roof spoiler
  • ‘Overboost’ function – additional 25 PS for 10 seconds during full throttle
  • Alcantara door panels with red trim
  • ‘Clubsport’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • door sill protectors, stainless steel with red GTI lettering
  • ‘Piano Black’ centre console
  • red stitching on Alcantara trimmed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with red 12 o’clock mark, ‘GTI’ logo and gear knob gaiter
  • ‘Clubsport’ cloth seat centre section and Alcantara side bolsters
  • front sports seats with embroidered ‘GTI’ logo

Golf GTI Clubsport S

The limited edition Clubsport S adds:

  • 7.5J x 19-inch ‘Pretoria’ alloy wheels with 225/35 ZR Michelin tyres
  • 310 PS power output
  • Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC)
  • weight reduced to 1,285 kg
  • revised fuel pump
  • aluminium subframe on front axle, with aluminium brake covers
  • smaller battery
  • removal of insulating materials, variable luggage compartment floor, parcel shelf, floor mats, bonnet damping and rear seats
  • manual transmission only
  • race-derived heated bucket seats
  • revised exhaust system
  • tailpipe diameter increased from 55 mm to 65 mm
  • air-conditioning is a no-cost option

LINE UP WITH INSURANCE GROUPS

Thanks to its impressive security and safety features, the Golf secured the following insurance group ratings from the ABI (Association of British Insurers), all of which are lower than those achieved by the previous generation model:

GTI

2.0-litre TSI 220 PS                                                   29E

2.0-litre TSI 230 PS                                                   30E

GTI Clubsport Edition 40

2.0-litre TSI 265 PS                                                   33E

WARRANTIES

The Golf has a three-year (first- and second-year manufacturer-operated, third-year retailer-operated) / 60,000-mile mechanical warranty.  In addition, it comes with a 12-year body protection guarantee, three-year Paintwork Warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Roadside Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer.

HISTORY OF THE GTI

Golf GTI Mk I – 1977-1984

1975        Original Golf GTI design by, Giorgetto Giugiaro, unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show

1977        Golf GTI Mk I launched in the UK

                  With 1.6-litre, 110 PS (108 bhp) engine

                  Length: 3,705 mm

                  Width: 1,630 mm

                  Height: 1,395 mm

                  Top speed: 113 mph

                  0-62 mph: 9.0 seconds

                  mpg: 35.2 (urban)

1979        Right-hand drive GTI launched in the UK

1980        Right-hand drive GTI Cabriolet launched in the UK

1982        More powerful engine introduced: a 1.8-litre, 112 PS (110 bhp) unit

                  Top speed: 113 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.2 seconds

                  mpg: 26.6 (urban)

                  1.6-litre turbo, 70 PS (69 bhp) GTD diesel launched in the UK

                  Top speed: 96 mph

                  0-62 mph: 13.5 seconds

                  mpg: 42.5 (urban)

1983        Special edition GTI ‘Campaign’ launched in the UK

                  Special edition GTI ‘Pirelli’ launched in Germany

1984        Golf Cabriolet ‘All White’ launched in the UK with GTI’s 1.8-litre, 112 PS engine

?Total Golf GTI Mk I hatchback sales in the UK – 17,039

Golf GTI Mk II – 1984-1992

1984       Golf GTI Mk II Launched

                  With 1.8-litre 8V, 112 PS (110 bhp) engine

                  Length: 3,985 mm (+ 280 mm)

                  Width: 1,680 mm (+ 50 mm)

                  Height: 1,395 mm (+ 0)

                  Top speed: 119 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.3 seconds

                  mpg: 32.5 (urban)

1985        25,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  UK launch of facelifted model featuring double headlights and twin exhausts

                  Five door GTI launched in the UK

1986        More powerful engine; 1.8-litre 16V, 139 PS (137 bhp)

                  Top speed: 130 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds

                  mpg: 26.6 (urban)

1988       50,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

1989       75,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  Introduction of ‘big bumpers’

1990        1,000,000th Golf GTI produced        

                  Left-hand drive GTI G60 announced for special order in the UK.
                  Supercharged 1.8-litre 16V, 160 PS (158 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 130 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.6 seconds

                  mpg: 23.2 (urban)

1991        Launch of limited run of 70, left-hand drive GTI G60 Limited with 1.8-litre 16V 210 PS (207 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 143 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.4 seconds

                  mpg: 20.1 (urban)

?Total Golf GTI Mk II hatchback sales in the UK  80,307

Golf GTI Mk III – 1992-1998

1992        Golf GTI Mk III Launched

                  With 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

                  Length: 4,020 mm (+ 35 mm)

                  Width: 1,710 mm (+ 30 mm)

                  Height: 1,405 mm (+ 10 mm)

                  Top speed: 123 mph

                  0-62 mph: 10.1 seconds

                  mpg: 27.4 (urban)

                  100,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

 

  1. Launch of 2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 134 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.3 seconds

                  mpg: 25.9

                 Second generation GTI Cabriolet launched

1994        ABS brakes become standard on GTI

1995        Special edition GTI Colour Concept launched with 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

1996        21 years after first being unveiled, limited run GTI Anniversary launched.
600 vehicles fitted with 2.0-litre 8V 115 PS (113 bhp) engine and 150 fitted with
2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

1997        125,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

?Total Golf GTI Mk III hatchback sales in the UK – 39,766

Golf GTI Mk IV – 1998-2004

1998       Golf GTI Mk IV Launched

                  With 1.8-litre, 125 PS (123 bhp) and 1.8-litre turbo, 150 PS (148 bhp) engines

                  Length: 4,149 mm (+ 129 mm)

                  Width: 1,735 mm (+ 25 mm)

                  Height: 1,439 mm (+ 34 mm)

                  Top speed: 125 mph (1.8-litre) / 134 mph (1.8-litre turbo)

                  0-62 mph: 9.9 seconds (1.8-litre) / 8.5 seconds (1.8-litre turbo)

                  mpg: 34.0 (1.8-litre) / 35.3 (1.8-litre turbo) combined     

                  CO2199 g/km (1.8-litre) / 192 g/km (1.8-litre turbo)

1999       150,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  Launch of 2.0-litre, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 121 mph

                  0-62 mph: 10.5 seconds

                  mpg: 35.8 combined

                  CO2194 g/km

                  UK launch of facelifted GTI Cabriolet

2001        175,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  First ever diesel-powered Golf GTI, launched with 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

                  Top speed: 134 mph

                  0-62 mph: 8.6 seconds

                  mpg: 52.3 combined

                  CO2146 g/km

2002        25 years since the Golf GTI Mk I was launched is commemorated with the introduction of the GTI Anniversary.  Available with either a 1.8-litre turbo, 180 PS (178 bhp) petrol or a 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) diesel engine

                  Top speed: 138 mph (petrol) / 134 mph (diesel)

                  0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds (petrol) / 8.6 seconds (diesel)

                  mpg: 33.2 (petrol) / 52.3 (diesel) combined

                  CO2204 g/km (petrol) / 146 g/km (diesel)

?Total Golf GTI Mk IV hatchback sales in the UK  61,879

Golf GTI Mk V – 2005-2008

2003        Golf GTI Design Study unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show                                                     

2004        Golf GTI Mk V unveiled

                  GTI named ‘Top Gear Car of the Year’

2005        Golf GTI Mk V Launched

With 2.0-litre, 200 PS T-FSI engine.  For the first time ever, GTI was available as an automatic – the revolutionary DSG twin plate gearbox

                  Length: 4,216 mm (+ 67 mm)

                  Width: 1,759 mm (+ 24 mm)

                  Height: 1,466 mm (+ 27 mm)

                  Top speed: 146 mph (145 – DSG)

                  0-62 mph: 7.2 seconds (6.9 – DSG)

                  mpg: 35.3 combined

                  CO2189 g/km

                  200,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

                  GTI named ‘What Car? Hot Hatch of the Year’

2007        Launch of GTI Edition 30 to celebrate the model’s 30th anniversary fitted with a
2.0-litre, 230 PS engine

                  Top speed: 150 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

                  mpg: 34.4 combined

                  CO2194 g/km

                  Total sold in the UK: 2,264

The most powerful Golf ever produced by Volkswagen, GTI W12-650 design study, unveiled with 6.0-litre bi-turbo 650 PS engine

                  Length: 4,204 mm

                  Width: 1,919 mm

                  Height: 1,396 mm

                  Top speed: 201 mph (estimate)

                  0-62 mph: 3.7 seconds

                  GTI ‘R-Line’ claims 8th place overall and class victory at Nürburgring 24-hour                   endurance race

2008        2.0-litre T-FSI 230 PS GTI Pirelli launched to commemorate 25th anniversary of the
original GTI Mk I variant

                  Top Speed: 152 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

                  mpg: 34.4 combined

                  CO2194 g/km

                  Total sold in the UK: 181

?Total Golf GTI Mk V hatchback sales in the UK  18,223

Golf GTI Mk VI – 2009-2012

 

2008        Golf GTI Concept unveiled

                  Top speed: 148 mph

                  0-62 mph: 7.2 seconds                                                                                                                       

                  mpg: 37.6 combined

                  CO2178 g/km

2009        Golf GTI Mk VI displayed at Geneva Motor Show (March)

                  Car released for ordering at UK Retailers (23 March GTI / April GTD)

                  22 May – GTI on sale in UK

                  22 June – GTD on sale in UK

                  Mk VI is most powerful standard GTI launched with 2.0-litre TSI, 210 PS

                  engine.  For the first time ever, GTI available with Adaptive Chassis Control                   (ACC), electronic limited slip differential (XDS) and seven airbags

                                   GTI:

                  Length: 4,213 mm 

                  Width: 1,786 mm 

                  Height: 1,501 mm 

                  Top speed: 149 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.9 seconds  

                  mpg: 38.7 combined

                  CO2170 g/km

                  GTD:

                  Length: 4,213 mm 

                  Width: 1,786 mm 

                  Height: 1,501 mm 

                  Top speed: 138 mph

                  0-62 mph:  8.1 seconds  

                  mpg: 55.4 combined

                  CO2134 g/km

2011         Golf GTI Edition 35 displayed at Wörthersee GTI enthusiast meeting in June

                  Car goes on sale in UK on 2 September

GTI Edition 35:

                  Length: 4,213 mm 

                  Width: 1,786 mm 

                  Height: 1,501 mm 

                  Top speed: 153 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.6 seconds  

                  mpg: 34.9 combined

                  CO2189 g/km

? Total Golf GTI Mk VI hatchback sales in the UK– 6158

?1977-2012: Total Golf GTI hatchback sales in the UK (Mk I – VI) – 224,125

 

Golf GTI Mk VII – 2013-

 

2013        Golf Mk VII unveiled in Berlin on 4 September 2012, with GTI version shown to the public the following March.  The Golf GTI Mk VII has 100 per cent more power than the original GTI.  The engine of the first Golf GTI produced exactly 81 kW/110 PS.  The seventh generation Golf GTI sends at least 162 kW/220 PS to the front wheels.

Model goes on sale in the UK on 4 April.  For the first time the GTI features an optional (£980) Performance pack that gives an extra 10 PS of power, uprated brakes and a limited-slip differential.

GTI:

Length: 4,268 mm 

                  Width: 1,799 mm 

                  Height: 1,442 mm 

Power: 220 PS (230 with Performance

                  Top speed: 155 mph

                  0-62 mph: 6.5 seconds  

                  mpg: 47.1 combined (44.1 with DSG gearbox)

                  CO2148 g/km

2015        Golf GTI Mk VII Clubsport Edition 40 announced. It celebrates the GTI’s 40th anniversary. Its 265 PS engine helps the Clubsport to reach 62 mph in 5.9 seconds.  Production run is time-limited, with around 1000 examples expected to reach the UK.

GTI Clubsport Edition 40:

Length: 4,268 mm 

                  Width: 1,799 mm 

                  Height: 1,442 mm 

Power: 265 PS (overboost function takes it to 290 PS)

                  Top speed: 155 mph

                  0-62 mph: 5.9 seconds  

                  mpg: 40.4 combined (40.9 with DSG gearbox)

                  CO2160 g/km

2016        Golf GTI Mk VII Clubsport S announced. Extreme version of the Clubsport Edition 40, the Clubsport S was limited to 400 examples worldwide, of which 150 came to the UK. The model sold out on release. Took the Nürburgring lap record for front-wheel drive production cars, and benefitted from significantly reduced weight.

GTI Clubsport S:

Length: 4,268 mm 

                  Width: 1,799 mm 

                  Height: 1,442 mm 

Power: 310 PS

                  Top speed: 164 mph

                  0-62 mph: 5.8 seconds  

                  mpg: 38.1 combined (40.9 with DSG gearbox)

                  CO2172 g/km

? Total Golf GTI Mk VII hatchback sales in the UK to end of June 2016 – exactly 9800

?1977-2012: Total Golf GTI hatchback sales in UK (Mk I  VII) to end June ’16 – 233,925

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