Volkswagen delays debut of cutting-edge Golf 8
Tech upgrades push hatchback’s debut from September to early 2020
Squeezing in a mountain of connectivity, touchscreen and cleaner powertrain technologies has forced Volkswagen to push the launch of the Golf Mark VIII back until early 2020.
Due to have been unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the Golf Mk VIII is now more likely to be shown late in 2019 and arrive in the first quarter of 2020.
Instead, the all-electric ID hatch will take the Frankfurt spotlight while Volkswagen takes an extra couple of months to polish its two different mild hybrid systems. Or, in reality, to give the biggest possible window for the breakthrough electric Volkswagen to shine, even as it kills off the E-Golf.
The latest spy pictures of the eighth-generation Golf show a car that feels flatter than its predecessor, and wider, with a broader track width and a slight rise in length.
It will remain about 1.47m high, which will be much lower than the ID hatch, and the new taillights make the rear end more vertical and there is now a distinct shoulder over the rear wheels.
The Volkswagen Golf Mk 8 will break with tradition by using both 12-volt and the more expensive 48-volt mild-hybrid systems to pull down CO2 emissions and boost low-speed acceleration.
It will use the cheaper 12-volt system of mild-hybrid power for the entry- and even mid-level versions, though the pricier models will get the Audi-developed 48-volt unit.
The powertrains will be headlined by a mildly updated version of the current Golf’s 1.5l TSI four-cylinder engine, with cylinder-on-demand technology, variable valve timing and lift and both direct and indirect fuel injection.
It will see service with a 1.0l three-cylinder turbo engine and an all-new 1.5l diesel, which could very well be the last new small diesel motor Volkswagen develops.
The addition of the starter-generator units, acting directly on the engine’s crankshaft for added power, for the mild-hybrid setup could even pull down turbo boost levels, especially on smaller engines.
The top of the diesel lineup will be 2.0l turbodiesel, which will see service in Audis before it ever turns up in the Golf.
There will be either six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions, too, while there will be an optional all-wheel drive system on the more powerful models.
All of this will be crammed in to a new version of the Golf MK 7’s hugely versatile MQB architecture, dubbed MQB EVO, with new metal mixes pulling the weight down by about 50kg.
The size of the Golf won’t change much, because it doesn’t need to even if some of its competitors are attacking it on rear-seat space.
The bigger story will be inside the Golf, where challenges are coming from BMW’s 1-Series and Benz’s A-Class from above and from the regular Peugeots, Renaults, Toyotas and Hyundais nipping at its heels.
It’s a testament to the Golf VII’s broad nature that people cross-shopped it with BMWs, Benzes and even Audis, but it placed pressure on Volkswagen to lift the interior tech while maintaining entry-level models cheap enough for Europe’s fleet buyers.
It will score technology including a larger screen and a proper head-up display rather than the fighter-pilot unit. Its driver-assistance features will have a cockpit pared down to the bare minimum of switches and controlled by voice commands and touchscreens.
So much of the Golf’s interior has been moved to touchscreen that even the headlight switch could be touchscreen, and the only conventional buttons will be on the steering wheel.
It will use the latest Volkswagen Group Traffic Jam Assistant, though advanced in the Golf for greater autonomy.
It will set new class standards in connectivity, with a permanent SIM fitted to keep it connected at all times.