It is with a sigh of relief that we say the Golf is back and now more advanced than ever! Rumours circulated that the new Golf might never make production in favour of the electric ID range, but thankfully there is still a place on not just Irish roads, but roads around the world for the new Golf to roam. It’s hard to believe this Golf will mark the 50th anniversary of the popular hatchback with the first series-produced Golf coming out of the Wolfsburg Volkswagen plant in March 1974. Before this, the Beetle and thus the combination of a rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive had shaped the Volkswagen brand for decades but the Golf brought in a new way forward for the brand with its front-mounted engine and front-wheel drive paving the way for the Scirocco and Polo. Such was the success of this configuration that the millionth Golf rolled off the assembly line in October 1976.
We think its safe to say that the secret behind the Golf’s success is also down to the fact that the designers transferred the first generation’s DNA into each model thereafter. This gave the classic Golf design a cult like following throughout the years. Comfort, quality and innovative assist systems gained importance with each generation and continue to set standards today. It has won countless awards in comparative tests at home and abroad and always sold well here in Ireland. Golf fans have had a great choice in recent years with the all-electric e-Golf or some of the more potent models in the form of GTI, GTD, GTE, and the flagship Golf R. So what can we expect from this revised eight generation Golf?
The first thing we noticed from the preview images available is the stylish new front end. This sharp nose features an illuminated Volkswagen logo for the first time on the Golf, and newly designed LED headlights. Buyers of the top-of-the-range models can also expect IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights which incorporate a new high-performance main beam with a range of up to 500 m. Following the stylish but somewhat familiar side profile around to the rear and you are greeted by new IQ.LIGHT 3D LED tail light clusters which look super modern! Opening the drivers door and you are welcomed with a newly developed, intuitive infotainment system with a free-standing touchscreen. Some touchscreens can be difficult to navigate but VW has placed new illuminated touch sliders for temperature and volume control at its base.
Placing your hands on the steering wheel you will notice new enhanced multi-function buttons with one to activate the IDA voice assistant. This system can be used not only to control functions such as the air conditioning, telephone or navigation system, but also to access online information from many areas including local weather forecasts to general knowledge questions to help you enhance your quiz game!
The new Golf now integrates the artificial-intelligence-based chatbot ChatGPT into the IDA voice assistant which can seamlessly access the ever-growing database of artificial intelligence. It was only a matter of time really before AI started to really penetrate the automotive sector! Now you and your passengers can interact with the car and even have researched content read aloud whilst on the move.
As of now, we know the new plug-in hybrid drives in the Golf will offer increased power and an electric range of about 100 km. They will also be equipped with a DC quick-charging function for motorway top ups! Those that don’t fancy plugging in might find the highly efficient 48 V mild hybrid option particularly appealing, especially if you have no access to a charger at home. A total of nine other different options including the mild hybrid (eTSI), plug-in hybrid (eHybrid and GTE), turbocharged petrol (TSI) and turbocharged diesel (TDI) will all be available from launch. We have also heard the new Golf GTI has become even more powerful over its predecessor and no doubt further Golf derivatives will be introduced throughout 2024 including the Golf R.
The Volkswagen Golf has always been a very safe car and no doubt this latest generation will pioneer more new technology! Many moons ago the Golf was the debut vehicle for Car2X technology, which provides advance warning of hazards. This along with a plethora of airbags has seen the Golf secure a 5-star safety rating on numerous occasions. Now buyers get additional assistants such as the Area View system which, merges four cameras giving a 360-degree all-round view that is transferred to the infotainment system touchscreen. This makes it easy to see kerbs and parking space markings. Manoeuvring the new Golf is made easier by the enhanced Park Assist Plus function. When driving past a parking space, it can detect whether the space (parallel or bay) is large enough and starts the parking procedure accordingly. It takes over the steering as well as acceleration and braking. All the driver has to do is monitor the parking process. Some Golfs will even come with Park Assist Pro enabling drivers to guide the vehicle in and out of parking spaces with their smartphone! The vehicle can be driven out of the parking space remotely if the parking space is very narrow alleviating those nasty door pings!
Pricing and model specifications will be announced in early February at which point, Irish customers will be able to order the new Golf. We have been told to expect the first Irish Golfs to be available in showrooms from July onwards in time for the 242 registration period.
So is the new Golf radically different over the outgoing model? Well no because we are still operating within the eight generation of the Golf shape. This is more of an evolutionary stage, with the brand building on efficiency, comfort and quality. To date, more than 37 million Golfs have been sold across the eight generations making it a solid pillar for the Volkswagen brand to say the least! When the new Golf does arrive to Ireland we look forward to spending a week with it and bringing you a first drive review right here. Watch this space!