Volkswagen has unveiled the facelifted Golf, revealing its subtle styling changes, up-graded interior appointments and newly developed turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine ahead of a planned introduction in three- and five-door hatchback and wagon bodystyles.
Set to see European market introduction during the first quarter of 2017, the upgraded Golf isn't planned for Australian sales until the second half of next year.
Predictably subtle, the mid-life changes brought to Volkswagen's best seller are designed to improve the overall competitiveness of the seventh-generation Golf against a raft of rivals until the planned arrival of more heavily altered eighth-generation model in 2019.
Visually, the new Golf departs little from today's four-year-old model, with only minor changes to its exterior.
Up front, there is a lightly re-profiled bumper with altered grille and air duct styling, revised headlamps with altered graphics, LED daytime running lights and a new full LED main beam function in place of the earlier Xenon operated units, and lightly re-styled front wings. The rear receives full LED tail lamps and a newly designed bumper featuring integral tail pipes on the popular R-line styling package.
Further changes to the appearance of Europe's best selling car include a new range of wheel designs and exterior colours.
The main focus of the changes made to the seventh-generation Golf is reserved for the interior. New to the facelifted model are revised trims for the doors, dashboard and centre console.
In line with other recent new Volkswagen models, it also receives a new optional Active Info Display. The 12.3-inch high definition monitor can be ordered in place of the standard analogue instrument pack with a resolution of 1440 x 540 pixels.
The Active Info Display supports five different information profiles: classic, consumption and range, efficiency, performance and driver assistance and navigation. Depending on the model, the digital instrument graphics are customised, with the GTi receiving a predominantly red theme and the GTE using a mainly blue hue.
More significant are the updates brought to the various infotainment systems offered on the new Golf. The facelifted 2017 model receives five optional touch based systems, all of which now support larger screens and altered operating system that, on the top-of-the-line Discover Pro unit, supports gesture control.
The earlier 5.0-inch monitors of the Composition Touch and Composition Colour systems are replaced by 6.5 inch units running at 800 x 480 pixels. The 6.5 inch screens of the Composition Media and Discover Media have made way for larger 8.0 inch monitors with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The top of the line Discover Pro's previous 8.0 inch display is superseded by a 9.2-inch screen featuring touch, voice command and gesture control operation.
Together with the new optional infotainment systems, the facelifted Golf also receives the latest generation of Volkswagen's on-line services, including an updated App Connect feature that allows it to integrate with the latest versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and MirrorLink.
Volkswagen's best selling model also adopts a number of new or updated driver assistant systems. Included is Traffic Jam Assist, which automatically applies the brakes to ease driving in stop/go traffic at speeds up to 60km/h; Emergency Assist, which sounds a warning and subsequently initiates an emergency stop when it detects the driver is incapacitated; Lane Assist plus ACC for active lane keeping with countersteer ability; an updated City Emergency Braking system that brings pedestrian detection to the existing Front Assist function that employees autonomous braking for collision avoidance; and Park Assist 3.0 that provides semi-autonomous parking in both parallel and perpendicular spaces.
Volkswagen has confirmed the introduction of an advanced new turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine, although it is yet to officially reveal the full line-up of engines planned for the new Golf in either Europe or Australia.
TMR understands Volkswagen's familiar EA211 turbocharged 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol powerplants will continue in successors to today's 1.2 TSI and 1.4 TSI models.
The new 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which will power a pair of new 1.5 TSI EVO models, is a development of the existing EA211 engine. It draws on a number engineering solutions already brought to sister company Audi's new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, including a new combustion process based around the Miller cycle principle, a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry and Active Cylinder Management that idles the two middle cylinders on light throttle loads for added fuel savings around town.
In its most powerful guise as fitted to the Golf 1.5 TSI Evo, the new 1.5-litre delivers 110kW and 250Nm of torque at 1500rpm, giving it the same output as the 1.4-litre engine it replaces. No performance claims have been revealed as yet, though Volkswagen quotes combined cycle fuel consumption and an average CO2 rating of 4.9L/100km and 110g/km respectively, bettering it predecessor by 0.3L/100km and 9g/km.
An even more economical version of the new 1.5-litre four-cylinder powers a new Golf 1.5 TSI Evo BlueMotion model. Tuned to deliver 96kW and 200Nm at 1400rpm, it receives a coasting function that shuts down the engine on extended periods of trailing throttle, providing claimed combined cycle consumption of 4.6L/100km and average CO2 emissions of 104g/km on the European test cycle.
By comparison, the lower powered version of the earlier 1.4-litre engine delivered 92kW and a similar 200Nm for respective fuel consumption and emission figures of 5.2L/100km and 120g/km.
Among future developments being pursued by Volkswagen for its latest petrol engine is a particulate filter, which is claimed to further reduce its emissions.
Further up the line-up, the Golf GTi's existing turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has been retuned, giving it an added 7kW in both models. In the standard GTi the EA888 designated unit now delivers 169kW, while the GTi Performance now packs 180kW.
The facelifted Golf GTE retains the same driveline as today's model, with a 110kW turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 75kW electric motor. Together the two power units provide a combined system output of 150kW and 350Nm of torque.
At next week's Los Angeles motor show, Volkswagen will unveil the new-for-2017 eGolf. Already previewed at the recent Paris motor show, it adopts a 38.5kWh lithium ion battery in place of today's 24.2kWh unit in a move claimed to boost its range beyond 300km
Volkswagen is remaining tightlipped on the changes brought to the range topping Golf R, although Wolfsburg officials suggest its turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine will receive an added 14kW.
While Volkswagen has confirmed to TMR its engineers are developing a new turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel engine to replace the existing 1.6-litre unit, no mention of it is made in the official information pertaining to the facelifted model. Also expected to be brought over is the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel in successor models to today's 2.0 TDI and GTD.
Further driveline developments include the introduction of a newly developed seven-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox. To be offered as an option to a standard six-speed manual, it is replaces the existing optional six-speed unit in more powerful Golf models in a move Volkswagen says contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions.
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