The wraps are finally pulled off what is one of the most important vehicles for the Volkswagen brand this side of the millennium, and we’ve been able to feast our eyes on the all-new approach to the all-new Volkswagen Golf.
Over 35 million Volkswagen Golfs have been built and sold since the first model was launched in 1974, with examples reaching every corner of the earth. Over 26 million of these Golfs were assembled in Europes largest vehicle production plant, the Volkswagen facility in Wolfsburg. This is where 8,400 employees work tirelessly and exclusively on the Golf models, and their efforts are now being attributed to the new Mark 8.
The Golf 8 has over 2,700 individual parts and components, 962 wiring systems, 1.34 kilometres of cable. Every model of the Golf 8 will travel a whole 69 kilometres on the production line before it rolls out the facility as a completed model. This is the most complex model of the Golf to date, but miraculously, Volkswagen has cut the average production time by a whole hour.
So, what’s new?
The buzzwords for the new Golf 8 are Digitalised, Connected and Intelligent. The interior of this new model has been revolutionised and it puts itself way ahead of anything else on the market at this price point. As-good-as all the functionality is now digitally optimised, with a large screen as a customisable instrument cluster and another large screen in the centre controlling a huge amount of functionality. There are barely any physical buttons across the dashboard or centre console whatsoever, and even the automatic gear shifter has been abandoned in favour of a toggled switch.
From the outside, the Golf 8 is still quite clearly a Golf. There was a huge amount of discussion as to just how revolutionary this latest model would be, but Volkswagen has stuck to what they know and created a smart, sophisticated model which, although it may harness some extremely forward-thinking technology, quite clearly fits in with the contemporary crowd. The new Golf 8 hasn’t been over-designed for the sake of it.
The Golf 8 will go on sale with no less than five hybrid engines to choose from, 2 of which will be plug-in models and the other 3 will use a mild hybrid system which powers itself through regenerative braking and when the vehicle is coasting. A 250 horsepower Golf GTE model will be available too which immediately takes our interest, and we’re told that we’ll only have to wait 12 months before the introduction of the GTI model.
The new Golf 8 will also come with autonomous functionality which will be optimised for motorway driving. At the driver’s command, the car can be put into an autonomous mode where it will steer, accelerate and brake itself at speeds up to 130 mph - although we’d never endorse or encourage such reckless behaviour, and the thought of being out of control in your vehicle at those speeds seems absolutely terrifying.
The new Golf 8 will go on sale in the New Year with the first models being delivered to the UK before Springtime. No word on pricing just yet but we’re sure that a full spec-list and pricing structure will be announced soon enough.
So, what do you reckon? Have they played it too safe with the new Golf or is it just what was needed to keep it at the top of the hatchback hierarchy? Let us know in the comment section below...