The Golf has been part of the best-selling car in the world for a long time. It was one of the most popular hatchback ever produced. The VW golf MK8 has a lot of features and improved techs.
Looking at it from the outside, you might mistake the eighth-gen car for a mere restyling of the previous generation. Even though not a single panel is carried over, the side view looks deceptively similar to the previous Golf, and the tail end is decidedly evolutionary as well. Only the front end looks sufficiently new, although the design’s friendly smile has proved to be polarizing.
Those headlights, of course, deserve a closer look: You can specify a state-of-the-art matrix LED system that is more sophisticated than U.S. regulators currently allow. This is top-level technology, taken straight from the premium/luxury segment, and they serve as an indicator of what’s hidden behind that innocent mask.
It was revealed by Autocar that the 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp, paired with a seven-speed DSG automatic. The only gearbox option for this engine. Volkswagen claims it’s an all-new engine developed ‘from scratch’ and, while it may not have the new-fangled mild-hybrid system of some of the other engines found in the new Golf, it’ll primarily interest high-mileage company car drivers (CO2 and MPG figures are yet to be revealed, however), as well as those who just want a more straightforward Golf.
The Golf demonstrates that despite the difficulties that VW is going through, it still knows how to design cars that are an absolute joy to drive. Based on the MQB modular-transversal architecture, the suspension keeps the car firmly planted on the road even on uneven and difficult surfaces. If equipped with the optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), the variable dampers can be adjusted to provide a soft, comfortable experience or a firmly aggressive ride, and anything in between. The electric power steering is supremely balanced and slightly on the lighter side, refraining from a pseudo-sporty lack of assistance that we’ve experienced lately in BMWs, according to Autoblog
From inside, the diesel starts up pretty quietly and even at tick over it’s hardly noisy. There’s 20Nm more torque than the old 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel could create but it’s difficult to feel the extra shove, mostly due to the majority of the torque still kicking in at 1,750rpm. It redlines at 4,500rpm just like the old one, too, but while it’s difficult to feel the difference between new and old, this is still a mightily impressive engine, largely on account of how smooth it is.
Probably the most striking thing in this setup is the lack of physical buttons and knobs. Virtually every feature from the headlights to the volume control – is touch-sensitive and, clearly to allay some potential criticism, there’s “Hello Volkswagen” voice control. New features also include Alexa, Car2X communication, wireless Apple CarPlay and a head-up display.
While the dashboard may look smart, it’s not without its faults. The new infotainment system looks super and is high customisable, but gone are the old Golf’s simple and intuitive layout and menus, and in comes a system that’s fiddly and will take time to learn. Moreover, while the Golf has always been the benchmark for quality, there are some cutbacks with the Mk8. The swathe of plastic across the centre of the dash feels rather too cheap, the soft-touch plastic on top of the front doors isn’t repeated on the rears, and a manual strut is used to prop up the bonnet rather than the old car’s gas struts.
The driving experience was almost, but not quite, as good with the 150-horsepower 1.5-liter e-TSI that utilizes a starter-generator hybrid system, rated at 184 lb-ft. With a 0-62 mph sprint of 8.5 seconds, it is slightly quicker on paper, but in reality, it feels a bit more artificial in its response and less forceful in delivery. The aural experience is a matter of taste: The 1.5 TSI sounds silky and sophisticated, the 2.0 TDI emits a subdued purr.
Down the road, VW will offer a plethora of other engines, beginning with a 90-horsepower 1.0-liter 3-cylinder TSI. Upmarket options will include a 200-horsepower GTD, two plug-in hybrids with the 245-horsepower GTE as the higher trim model, a new GTI that will make close to 250 horsepower, and a Golf R that produces well over 300 horsepower. Good news for enthusiasts: VW is committed to the manual. In fact, the lower versions get an entirely redesigned low-resistance box, while the GTI and the Golf R keep their well-proven units.