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The base Golf version price does not change
All-new VW Golf gets larger dimensions, new engines
More advanced technology and equipment... but lighter

Volkswagen Golf, generation 7: front-side view.

The body has been lowered by 28 mm and widened by 13 mm.

14 Sep. 2012, Elie Aoun: One of the major stars of this year's Paris International Motor Show (Mondial de l'Automobile, public days from 29 September to 14 October), will certainly be the all-new, 7th generation of the Volkswagen Golf, the brand's representative in the compact car segment (also known as the C-segment and lower medium category).

Based on the Modular Transverse Matrix platform of the German group (with several other models in the group, starting with the new Audi A3 and SEAT Leon), the new Golf is expected in the European markets first in November, in three model lines, the Trendline (base), Comfortline and Highline (top model), with two new generations of engines (from 63 kW, 85 PS, 84 bhp to 110 kW, 150 PS, 148 bhp), all equipped with a standard stop/start system and battery regeneration.

Volkswagen Golf, generation 7: profile view.

The wheelbase grew by 59 mm, to 2,637 mm.

Although it comes significantly lighter than before, the new Golf gets larger dimensions, new engines, driver profile selection system and more advanced technologies in safety (such as the standard multi-collision brakes, proactive PreCrash system, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Front Assist and city emergency brake function), comfort and infotainment terms (a touchscreen as standard in all models, with a proximity sensor in certain models).


At 4,255 mm (167.5 inches), the new Golf is longer than its predecessor by 56 mm (2.2 in.), which is practically the addition brought to the wheelbase which grew by 59 mm (2.3 in.) to 2,637 mm (103.8 in.).

Volkswagen Golf, generation 7: rear-side view.

Boot capacity is 380 litres (with 60:40 split backrest up).

As the body has been lowered by 28 mm (1.1 inch), to 1,452 mm (57.1 in.) and widened by 13 mm (0.51 in.), to 1,799 mm (70.8 in.), the new Golf has also a wider, more sporty stance on the road, with an increase of 8 mm (0.3 in.) to the front track width and 6 mm (0.23 in.) at the rear. Aerodynamically, the Golf BlueMotion version has a cd value of 0.27.

In volume terms, the cargo capacity has grown by 30 litres (1 cu-ft) to 380 litres (13.4 cu-ft). The variable cargo floor can also be lowered by 100 mm (3.9 in.). The height of the boot (trunk) sill is now at 665 mm 26.1 in. (17 mm, 0.67 in. less than in the previous generation). In the meantime, the maximum boot width has grown by 228 mm (8.9 in.) to 1,272 mm (80 in.), while the width of the boot space opening has also been increased by 47 mm (1.85 in.) to 1,023 mm (40.27 in.).

The 60:40 split backrest is standard on all versions, while the Golf Trendline and the mid-range Comfortline can be ordered with a front passenger backrest that folds fully forward. On the Comfortline and above, the Golf also has an opening in the middle of the rear seat backrest for loading long items.


Volkswagen Golf, generation 7: dashboard, console and doors view.

Standard stop/start system and battery regeneration.

VW explains that if the Golf were to be divided into primary areas (depending on model, specification and type of engine), weight reduction would be up to 6.0 kg (13.2 lb) in the electrical area, up to 40.0 kg (88.1 lb) for the engines, up to 26.0 kg (57.3 lb) for the running gear and  up to 37.0 kg (81.5 lb) for the superstructure (car body and interior), bringing the total potential saving to 109 kilograms (240.3 lb).

But due to the different configuration options, the maximum achieved in any one vehicle is 100 kg (220.4 lb).

The superstructure savings for example came from the body (23.0 kg, 50.7 lb), front and rear seats (7.0 kg, 15.4 lb, depending on version), air conditioning (2.7 kg, 5.9 lb), dashboard (0.4 kg, 0.88 lb), module cross-member (1.4 kg, 3.1 lb beneath the dashboard) and other items (2.5 kg, 5.5).


Being based on the Modular Transverse Matrix, Volkswagen developed two new engine generations for the Golf, both fitted with a standard Stop/Start system (reducing fuel consumption by up to four per cent) and brake energy recovery mode (cutting CO2 by around four per cent).

With all measures combined, VW claims that it was possible to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 23 per cent (depending on versions and driving style / conditions of course).

 Driver profile

Volkswagen Golf, generation 7: interior view from top.

Standard equipment includes seven airbags.

One of the new Golf options is the driver profile selection system to help achieve an efficient style of driving with four driving modes (five when in combination with the DCC adaptive chassis control): Eco, Sport, Normal, Individual and, in combination with DCC, Comfort.

In the Eco driving profile engine management, air conditioning and other ancillary systems are controlled for an optimal fuel consumption. On vehicles with DSG, the Eco mode provides also a ‘coasting’ function. If the driver takes the foot off the accelerator, the DSG disengages and the engine idles.


The petrol engines are all turbocharged with direct-injection (TSI), four cylinders and sixteen valves. At launch, the new Golf petrol models deliver 63 kW (85 PS, 84bhp) and 103 kW (140PS, 138bhp).

The German brand says that the base model (1.2 litre) should give an average fuel consumption of 4.9 l/100km (equivalent to 48 US mpg, 57.6 UK mpg, 20.4 km/litre and 113 g/km of CO2), representing 0.6 litres less than the previous corresponding model.

The 1.4 TSI, 140 PS engine comes fitted with cylinder cut-off (ACT active cylinder management). When the load on the engine is low or moderate (between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm at a torque level of up to 85Nm), two cylinders get shut down, reducing fuel consumption in the EU driving cycle by 0.4 l/100km.

Average fuel consumption is announced at 4.8 l/100km (equivalent to 49 US mpg, 58.8 UK mpg, 20.8 km/litre and 112 g/km of CO2).


The diesel injection engines are also four-cylinder, four-valve versions and generally turbocharged, with a maximal output (at launch) of  77 kW (105PS, 103 bhp) and 110 kW (150PS, 148bhp).

The TDI base model promises an average fuel consumption of 3.8 l/100km (equivalent to 61.9 US mpg, 74.3 UK mpg, 26.3 km/litre and 99 g/km of CO2).

The 150 PS TDI Golf gets an average fuel consumption of 4.1 l/100km (equivalent to 57.4 US mpg, 68.8 UK mpg, 24.4 km/litre and 106 g/km of CO2).

Better figures should come from the Golf BlueMotion version, consuming on average 3.2 litres/ 100 kilometres (equivalent to 73.5 US mpg, 88.2 UK mpg, 31.25 km/litre and 85 g/km of CO2).


The 7th gen. Golf brings with it new assistance systems which include the standard multi-collision brake, a proactive occupant protection system, XDS electronic differential lock (as found in the previous-generation Golf GTI), ACC adaptive cruise control plus Front Assist, City Emergency Braking function, fatigue detection, lane Assist and lane-keeping assistant, traffic sign recognition and the latest generation of the automatic parking assistant ParkAssist including OPS (360 degree display) as well as the automated light functions Light Assist and Dynamic Light Assist.

Other new technologies include the progressive steering, an electronic parking brake, the newly developed ergonomic sport ergoActive seat, a new climate comfort windscreen and a new generation of information and entertainment systems.


The Multi-Collision Braking system automatically brakes the vehicle when it is involved in an accident to reduce its residual kinetic energy. Triggered by the airbag sensors, the multi-collision braking system is limited by the ESC (electronic stability control) unit to a maximum deceleration rate of 0.6 g. This value is the same as the deceleration level provided by Front Assist.

The driver can still control the car even when automatic braking is triggered, or override the multi-collision braking system at any time. Basically, the system applies the brakes until a vehicle speed of 10 km/h is reached. This residual vehicle speed can be used to steer to a safe location after the braking process.

 Proactive protection

If the Proactive Occupant Protection (PreCrash) system detects a potential accident situation, the seatbelts of the driver and front passenger are automatically pre-tensioned. Should the situation be highly critical – such as severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention – the side windows and sunroof are closed  (except for a small gap) to let the head and side airbags provide their optimal effectiveness with windows and sunroof almost fully closed.

 Adaptive Cruise Control

The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses a radar sensor integrated into the front of the car. It maintains a preselected speed and a defined distance and automatically brakes or accelerates in flowing traffic. The driver can select one of the driving programmes from the optional driver profile selector.

In the new Golf, ACC operates between 30 and 160km/h (18.6 to 99 mph) with a manual gearbox and from 0 to 160km/h with DSG (dual clutch gearbox). With the DSG gearbox, the ACC intervenes to such extent that depending on the situation, the car gets slowed to a standstill and in Stop-and-Go mode, it also automatically pulls away.

 Front Assist

The Front Assist exploits data received from the ACC's radar sensor integrated into the front of the car. But even with ACC switched off, Front Assist helps the driver in critical situations by preconditioning the brake system and alerting the driver with visual and audible warnings. If the driver fails to brake hard enough, the system automatically generates sufficient braking force to avoid a collision. If he / she does not react at all, Front Assist automatically slows the car to minimise the impact. The system also provides a warning if the car is getting too close to the vehicle in front.

 City Emergency Braking

The new City Emergency Braking function is part of Front Assist and scans via the same radar sensor the area in front of the car.

Over 29 million Golf in 38 years 

Thirty eight years ago, the German "people's car" went beyond its heavily rich historical background, only to built an even richer, although certainly lighter as well, new history.

This new history started with the first generation VW Golf, a radically attractive new proposal for those who couldn't or wouldn't identify with the classical Volkswagen Beetle.

From there, the VW history accelerated its diversification process in models, segments and brands. The "people's car" appetite didn't stop there, as not only it addressed every conceivable segment (or niche) in the passenger car market, but also, every socio-economical class, via brands – and prices of course – running from Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche and Bentley, to Audi, the Volkswagen brand itself, SEAT, Skoda (plus a fifth of Suzuki).

No matter how diversified the German Group became, the Golf was and it still is one of its main pillars, along with the D-segment (midsize, upper medium) Passat (since 1973) and the B-segment Polo (model names can be different in other countries and continents), due to the volume importance of these segments.

All of this underlines the importance of the all-new, 7th generation VW Golf launched earlier this month in Berlin. It comes on the heels of sales totalling 29.13 million of the six previous Golf generations, between 1974 and 2012.

For the record, the production of the one-millionth Golf was celebrated only two years after the 1st model's launch, in October 1976, the same year when the first Golf GTI was launched. 

Golf I (1974-1983): 6.72 million units, including all derivatives and the Jetta (at that time based on the same body).

Golf II  (1983- 1991): 6.41 million units.
Golf III (1991- 1997): 4.96 million units
Golf IV (1997- 2003): 4.92 million units.
Golf V  (2003- 2008): 3.27 million units.
Golf VI (2008- 2012): 2.85 million units.

If this list indicates a continuously decreasing number of production volumes between the previous Golf generations, it most certainly indicates the growing number of choices offered in this segment, not only by other European and Asian brands, but even by the equivalent C-segment models within the VW group itself  (with the same common platform), from the Audi (A3), SEAT (Toledo and Leon) and Skoda (Octavia) brands, not to mention the various body styles and niches growing from the same platform (compact crossovers, minivans, coupés, cabriolets...).

From this angle, who can limit the Golf platform sales to the actual VW Golf model alone?

It works at speeds below 30 km/h (18.6 mph). If the car is in danger of collision with a vehicle driving or parked up ahead and the driver fails to react, the brake system gets preconditioned in the same way as with Front Assist. If necessary, the City Emergency Braking function then initiates full application of the brakes to reduce the severity of the impact. If the driver fails to press the brake pedal sufficiently, the system will boost with maximum braking power.

 Fatigue Detection

The Fatigue Detection System detects waning driver concentration and warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds. A visual message also appears on the instrument cluster recommending to take a break. If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated once. At the beginning of each trip, the system analyses a range of factors, including the driver’s characteristic steering behaviour.

The fatigue detection system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle. If monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the steering behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then visual and acoustic warnings are produced.

In any case, whenever the system is activated it recommends a driving break to the driver after 4 hours of continuous driving.

 Lane Assist

The Lane Assist is a camera-based lane-keeping assistant which operates with adaptive lane tracking and steering intervention. If desired, it can also maintain continuous tracking support and correct the driver’s steering: as soon as it becomes evident that the driver is leaving the driving lane or is driving over the lane markings without setting the direction indicator, the system gently steers the other way.

 Progressive Steering

Compared to the constant gear ratio of a conventional steering system, the optional Progressive Steering System operates with a progressive gear ratio, reducing steering work in manoeuvring and parking, while on country roads, the driver gets better performance thanks to the more direct gearing.

VW explains that technically, progressive steering differs from the basic steering system by the rack and pinion’s variable tooth spacing and a more powerful electric motor. Unlike with constant steering ratios, which represent a compromise between dynamic performance and comfort, here the steering rack’s toothing is modified by the steering stroke. As a result, the transition between indirect steering behaviour in the mid-range (straight-line driving) and direct steering behaviour at larger steering wheel angles is designed to be progressive, which enables more agile steering behaviour in dynamic driving situations. Parking the car thus becomes more comfortable, as the steering wheel needs to be turned less.

 Electronic Parking Brake

Instead of a handbrake lever, there is a main control switch for the Electronic Parking Brake, plus an Auto Hold on the centre console. Eliminating the conventional hand-brake frees up more space on the centre console, and the brake is automatically released when driving off, making hill starts easier, as the Auto Hold function prevents unintentional rolling from a standstill position.

 Dynamic Light Assist

The Dynamic Light Assist option analyses the traffic ahead as well as the oncoming traffic. It automatically comes on at speeds of over 65 km/h (40 mph) and stays on. With the help of a camera on the windscreen, the system masks the main beam modules of the bi-xenon headlights with dynamic cornering lights, only where they could potentially disturb other road users. This function uses a pivoting masking aperture between the reflector with the xenon filament and the lens. Along with lateral swivelling of the entire module and independent control of the left and right headlights, this additional aperture geometry can mask the light source to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic or those driving ahead.

 Light Assist

Light Assist is a different optional version of the automatic main beam assistant which also analyses traffic ahead as well as oncoming traffic – also via a camera in the windscreen – and automatically controls activation and deactivation of the main beam (at 65 km/h and above).

 Road Sign Recognition

The Road Sign Recognition works in combination with a satellite navigation system. If the system recognises any speed limit or ‘No overtaking’ signs (via a camera integrated in the windscreen near to the rear-view mirror), up to three of these signs will get shown on the combined instrument panel in front of the driver and on the navigation system’s display. This will also include all additional information and the signs will appear in a logical order: ones that always apply (e.g. a ‘130’ km/h, 81 mph speed limit) and get shown in first place, while signs that only apply at certain times (e.g. ‘80 km/h, 50 mph when wet’) appear in second place. If the rain sensor registers that it is starting to rain, the traffic sign that now comes into force, i.e. the ‘when wet’ sign, moves up into first place.

 Parking Assistance System

The latest version of the Parking Assistance system facilitates parking parallel to the carriageway as well as reverse parking at right angles to the road.

New VW Golf (MK7) versions 

The new Golf is launched this November in Germany and other European countries, and in the following months in other parts of the world.

It will be available in three model lines, the Trendline (base), Comfortline and Highline (top model).

In Germany, the new Golf 1.2 TSI Trendline (63 kW, 85 PS, 84bhp) costs €16,975, the same price as the previous entry-level Golf 1.4 MPI (59 kW, 80 PS, 79 bhp).


The standard equipment list of the basic versions includes seven airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), touchscreen module with 5-inch TFT display, a fuel tank inlet with a guard to prevent putting in the wrong fuel (for the diesel versions), ECO-HMI (consumption-related graphics and information on the multifunction dashboard display), multi-collision braking system, the electronic parking brake with Auto-Hold function, XDS transverse differential lock, the Plus tyre pressure indicator, brake energy recovery mode, Stop/Start system, a variable floor in the boot, air conditioning, lockable glove compartment, asymmetrically split, fold-down rear seatback, electrically adjustable wing mirrors, outside temperature indicator, electric windows, electromechanical power-steering, steering column with height and depth adjustment, central locking with remote control and disk brakes on all wheels (15-inch).


The mid-range Golf Comfortline adds to its standard equipment the ParkPilot system front and back, drawers under the front seats, steering wheel and gear lever knob in leather, the new Composition Touch radio system including SD card interface and the fatigue detection system, 16-inch alloy wheels, Comfort seats, rear bench seat with central armrest and opening for loading long items, storage nets on the front seat backs and a closable storage compartment in the roof and an additional 12 V socket in the boot.


The Highline version gets standard ambient lighting and chrome edging around the Volkswagen logo in the radiator grille, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights including cornering lights with chrome trim, dark red rear lights, sports seats in the front (with a central strip in Alcantara and fabric inner wings), chrome trim for the electric window switches, LED reading lights in the front and back, multifunction steering wheel, heated windscreen washer jets and front seats, plus xenon headlights including headlight washers.

In its 2.0 version, Park Assist is equipped with a braking and parking space exit function. The system can be activated at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph) by pressing a button on the centre console.

Using the indicators, the driver selects the side on which the car is to be parked. If, using the ultrasound sensors, Park Assist detects a large enough parking space (a manoeuvring distance of 40 cm / 15.7 in. front and back is sufficient), the assisted parking can begin: having put the vehicle into reverse, all the driver has to do is operate the accelerator and brake. The car handles the steering. Beeps and visual information on the multifunction display assist the driver. If a collision is looming, the system can also apply the vehicle’s brakes.


The new Golf receives a new generation of radio and radio/navigation systems, all equipped with a standard touchscreen. They are available in six extension levels and three different display sizes: 5-inch, 5.8-inch and 8-inch.

From the 5.8-inch display and above, proximity sensors allow the driver or front passenger to move a finger near the touchscreen to switch the system automatically from display to input mode.

The basic standard unit is a 5-inch black-and-white display (400 x 240 pixel resolution) which displays the trip computer information (average fuel economy, etc.), clock time and date, service menu (oil level, etc.), vehicle settings (e.g. winter tyre warning), adjustment of instrument lighting, language setting, climate control menu, Eco-HMI displays (information on power consumers and tips on an especially economical style of driving) and – depending on vehicle features – steering wheel heating, the visual display for the ParkPilot and driving profile selection.

The Composition Touch radio (5-inch, level 2) comes as standard on the Comfortline and above in countries such as Germany, and is otherwise available as an option. Three buttons to the left and right of the touchscreen activate the ‘Radio’, ‘Media’, ‘Car’, ‘Setup’, ‘Sound’ and ‘Mute’ menus/functions. It also offers a CD card slot, aux-in interface and two push dials (e.g. for on/off, volume, mute). In this case, the standard module contains the added features of an FM/AM radio, loudspeakers (front), an interface for SD cards and an aux-in port.

Similar to the Composition Touch in its layout, the Composition Colour radio (5-inch, level 3) is equipped with a colour display, FM/AM radio as well as front and rear loudspeakers and a CD drive (MP3 compatible). The CD drive is in the glovebox along with the SD card slot.

The Composition Media radio (5.8-inch, level 4) has a capacitive colour display with a proximity sensor that is integrated across the area beneath the display. The latter also responds to wiping and zooming gestures (in smart phone style). There are now also four buttons to the left and right of the touchscreen. They also enable access – depending on vehicle features – to the ‘Phone’ and ‘Voice’ (voice control) menu levels. In addition to the features of the Composition Colour radio, it provides optional telephone preparation (Bluetooth) and a USB interface (iPod/iPhone compatible). The USB and aux-in interfaces are integrated in a separate compartment on the centre console in front of the gear shifter, where storage space allows for a smart phone as well.

The Composition Media radio can have a navigation module (Discover Media) added to it, with European map data and the associated second SD card slot; the navigation computer is located in the glovebox together with the CD player and SD card slot. Updates of the European navigation maps (or other maps, to be checked in the respective markets) are included in the price for all units with a navigation module for a period of three years.

The top radio-navigation system with a large 8-inch capacitive touchscreen is the Discover Pro, which adds other features on top of those of the Discover Media, such as a DVD drive instead of CD drive (audio and video), extended premium voice control (base version is available as option for Composition Media and Discover Media), a 64-GB Flash memory and an optional UMTS telephone module. The Discover Pro also operates as a WLAN hotspot (Internet access) for a WLAN-capable mobile device (smart phone or tablet).


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