We’ve put a few hundred miles on our long-term test Golf since its delivery in September and it is already showing why it is the current holder of the AM New Car of the Year Award and has gained widespread plaudits.
Our test car has the 150PS 2.0-litre TDI engine under its bonnet. It is a well tried-and-tested VW Group unit, used in models such as the Jetta and Scirocco, and is significantly more efficient than older units, thanks to VW’s Bluemotion technology, which includes start/stop and brake energy regeneration.
It is fitted with common rail fuel injection for a more efficient and cleaner combustion, and its exhaust turbocharger features variable turbine geometry (VRG). This reduces turbo lag by altering the cross-section of the exhaust flow inlet on the powertrain side. If the gas pressure falls at slower engine revs, the control system adjusts the guide vanes to narrow the cross-section. This speeds up the exhaust flow and increases the pressure. As the exhaust gas pressure rises with the engine revs, the control system makes the inlet cross-section larger by altering the position of the guide vanes.
All this helps to ensure that peak torque of 236lb-ft is available at 1,750rpm, providing plenty of overtaking ability and allowing this Golf to accelerate from standstill to 62mph in 8.6 seconds, only two seconds slower than a Golf GTi.
Its efficiency is a further selling point. Despite this model not being directed at those customers for whom economy is the greatest need – there’s a slow but frugal 1.6TDI Bluemotion model for those – it has a great blend of performance and strong economy. On the official EU combined test cycle, it achieved 68.9mpg and 106g/km CO2.
A key reason for this economy is the car’s low weight. The seventh-generation Golf, at 1.35 tonnes, is 100kg lighter than its predecessor, making it more agile and fun to drive. While an average economy of 68.9mpg is unlikely to be achievable in real-life driving, we look forward to seeing how it gets on.
Our first long-distance run brought 60+mpg on the trip computer, so it’s looking promising.
It may not be a revolution in car design, but then VW hasn’t tried to reinvent the wheel with the new Golf. Instead they’ve taken the qualities of the outgoing model and added to them, with improvements in every area.
VW has really moved the game on with the new Mk7 Golf, thanks to a hugely impressive interior and incredible refinement. It’s such a complete car that rivals trail in its wake.