BY the time you get to Rocky IV in the successful Bilbao franchise you realise that this is the same movie as Rocky II yet still without a Stallone pec out of place.
But what about Golf VII? Are we, like dear old Rocky, getting more of the same — that is something very similar to Golf I, II, and III et al — or are we in for something completely different?
The 2013 model New Volkswagen Golf is the seventh generation of this remarkably successful car.
Volkswagen says there are “fundamental changes” to this new Golf. The German carmaker even states that to achieve this latest generation model, its stylists consulted Volkswagen’s “DNA”.
I do not disbelieve all this for a second. Any carmaker in the world desires the kind of mega-success the Golf has enjoyed. Just as any Hollywood producer would drool at the thought of the millions of dollars generated by a film franchise such as Rocky.
And yet despite achieving this glittering success, I found that the most attractive thing about the New Golf is its appreciation of understatement.
This car absolutely bristles with new technology, yet from the outside its clean, stylish lines say that this is a car you will appreciate much more once you get in and drive it and live with it for a while. There are no flashy add-ons or useless design foibles. The attraction of the New Golf is all about the car you discover within its unfussy design. This is a seriously well-made car for serious and discerning buyers yet you can also get real driver satisfaction from its handling and performance.
In the extra-millimetres-mean-space world of car design, the stylists behind the New Golf employed something called the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) — a car building platform — to give us a bigger car for this seventh generation. This translates, for example, to a 59mm longer wheelbase and 13mm extra overall width. This may not seem much but inside you get more space for passengers and driver and boot space on the New Golf (increased by 30 litres to 380 litres). Yet the car is 100 kg lighter than the one it replaces.
The body of the New Golf is stronger and safer, says Volkswagen — safety systems include an innovative Automatic Post-Collision Braking System that “automatically brakes the vehicle after a collision to reduce kinetic energy” and minimise the chance of a second impact.A new range of engines have the Stop/Start function and battery regeneration systems.Engines available are petrol units, a 1.2-litre TSI returning 57.6mpg and 114g/km, plus two 1.4-litre TSI units. Diesel engines are a 1.6-litre unit with returns 74.3mpg and 99g/km and a 2.0-litre which returns 68.9mpg and 106g/km. The car on test was a Golf SE 1.6-litre TDI. This car employed the BlueMotion “green” technology which made it especially economical (achieving 74.3mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 99g/km).
A long drive from the depths of Gloucestershire into the heart of London was a good enough test of any car under the most common road and traffic conditions around today. Of course the Golf acquitted itself well: this is a tried and tested model that has spent some four decades in the process of refinement. The car felt equally at home on the motorway as in the perennial stop/start traffic jams of the Cromwell Road into Knightsbridge. The BlueMotion model is especially valuable in today’s fuel-conscious marketplace but there is a GTI model available this year along with a GTD high-performance diesel and a new Golf Estate.
So to answer my question at the beginning: yes, the New Golf is something completely different from the six generations of the car that have gone before. No Golf fan will be disappointed.
with this latest incarnation.
New Volkswagen Golf fact file
Golf global sales top 29 million
1.6 million Golfs sold in UK
On-the-road prices range from £16,285 to £24,880
Electronic aids in car include: Automatic Distance Control, Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, Driver Alert System, camera-operated Lane Assist system and High Beam Assist system
Standard touchscreen infotainment systems include DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs (including USB), Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information
Available for the first time: driver profile selection facility that allows driver to choose from four modes Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual
lOn-the-road prices range from £16,285 to £24,880
lElectronic aids include: Automatic Distance Control, Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, Driver Alert System, camera-operated Lane Assist system and High Beam Assist system
lStandard touchscreen infotainment systems include DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs (including USB), Bluetooth telephone preparation and access to vehicle trip information
lFour modes: Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual