Previously if you wanted an all-wheel-drive Volkswagen hatchback you had to spring for the top o' the line Golf R32. However, following the axing of the R32 for the sixth-generation Golf, VW has decided the time is ripe for the AWD flame to be spread to the others in the Golf range.
The first non-performance recipient of the German automaker's clever all-paw technology is the far less manic 2.0-litre Golf TDI, which is now on sale in Europe.
Geared more towards safety-conscious drivers than those with a penchant for winding mountain roads, the Golf TDI 4Motion offers far more grip than the regular front-wheel-drive Golf and is expected to sell well in wet and snowy climates. Power and torque is unchanged from the FWD model's 103kW and 320Nm but thanks to the extra weight of the 4Motion system the 0-100kph sprint takes slightly longer at 9.4 seconds.
But despite the extra heft and mechanical drag of the all-wheel-drive tech, the Golf 2.0 TDI 4Motion still manages to return an admirable 5.5l/100km on the European combined cycle, a figure which is probably facilitated by clever gearing within the mandatory six-speed manual transmission. The biggest downside? The 2.0 litre turbodiesel Golf is currently the only model within the range that can be optioned with the 4Motion AWD drivetrain.
An Australian release for the 2009 Golf 2.0 TDI 4motion has yet to be confirmed, but European readers are now able to get their hands on one for â‚¬26,500 ($54,034 AUD).