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Volkswagen's perfect shot with Golf GTI!

August 09, 2008 13:22 IST
This is the new "old" VW Golf. It might resemble the Scirocco from the front, but the rest of it is still the current Mark V Golf. Confused?

Well, so were we when Volkswagen released pictures and details about the new Mark VI Golf. So we read through the fine print and got down to understanding how much the new Golf has "evolved". Yes, it has a new grille with two horizontal slats and larger headlamps, something we saw on the new Scirocco coupe.

Walter Da Silva, head of Volkswagen design, terms it "futuristic" but with inspiration from previous and current VW products. So the roof shares its design with the Scirocco, the C-pillar looks a lot like the one on the 4th gen Golf and the tail lamps resemble the ones on the Touareg SUV.

But the rest of it is still the Mark V, retaining the same wheelbase and front and rear track lengths.

Under the skin too, the changes are minimal. The chassis and underpinnings stay the same, with the four-link suspension at the rear and the McPherson strut suspension retained.

What drivers will get is one of three damping options (adjustable from within the cabin) that also alter throttle and steering response, cornering xenon headlamps, intelligent cruise control and an intelligent parking system.

There are big changes on the inside too. Gone are the below par interiors of the Mark V that were slammed by critics, and in comes more premium-feel switchgear, dashboard and trim material.

The surfaces and the instrumentation now appear classy and strangely, Volkswagen have dumped the blue lit dials for white ones. The space on the inside stays the same, but the seat adjustability has improved to allow taller people to enjoy better headroom.

The biggest changes, though, are on the engine front. The smallest engine now on the Golf is a 1400cc petrol with 80 bhp on tap. A more powerful 1600cc engine producing 105 bhp (the same as on the Indian Jetta) is also available.

Those who want a bit more power from their petrols have the choice of a turbocharged 1.4 with 122 bhp, the supercharger-turbocharger 1.4 TSI with 140 bhp and 170 bhp and the 1.8 turbo  with 160 bhp.

Of course, there will be a range of Volkswagen's brilliant diesels. And since the VW group is shifting to common rail diesels from Pumpe Duse, they will begin with four states of tune for now. There will be the 1600cc engine producing 90 bhp and 110 bhp and a larger, 2000cc capacity engine with 140 bhp and 170 bhp on offer.

Performance freaks don't need to worry. Come 2009 and the new Golf GTI, with 211 bhp on tap from the turbocharged 2000cc petrol engine, will make an appearance. There is even talk of a GTD or a diesel version of the Golf, with a twin-turbo 2000cc engine producing 204 bhp.

And then in 2010 there will be the new GTI engine powered Golf R to replace the Golf R32, with nearly 265 horses to play with. To keep the Greens happy will be the hybrid Golf under the codename "Leonardo". Expect a 1200cc, 102 bhp engine mated to an electric motor running over the rear wheels.

So why are we talking about the Golf? You see, the Jetta that's just gone on sale here is based on the Golf and some, or nearly all, of the changes on the Golf will trickle down to the Jetta as well.

Besides, Volkswagen India has shown some interest in getting the Golf to India as well, albeit as a premium hatch. The time to start saving for that GTI begins now!

BSM Desk in Mumbai