Dynamic driving on offer behind wheel of seventh-generation Golf
THE new Golf -- the seventh generation of Volkswagen's iconic car -- has finally been officially unveiled in sun-splashed Sardinia.
The fanfare had been intensifying since the car, which made its first appearance in 1974, emerged at the Paris Motor Show, and reached a climax last week as specification and pricing for the market here was revealed by Independent Motors.
The car goes on sale here in December with, initially, three models and a starting price of €19,995 for the three-door 1.2-litre TSI 85bhp Trendline.
The diesel line-up starts at just €22,695 for the 105bhp 1.6-litre TDI with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.
From launch, the well-specced car, now some 100g lighter than its predecessor, will be available here in three trim levels: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline (the GTD, GTI and BlueMotion models will follow in 2013). Three petrol and two diesel engines will be available.
The petrol engine range starts with a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit producing 85bhp, rising via a 1.2-litre TSI 105bhp up to the all-new 1.4-litre TSI 140bhp engine with Active Cylinder Technology.
This fuel-saving development, says Volkswagen, helps create an efficient engine capable of 4.7l/100km (combined cycle) and cuts emissions to 109g/km by deactivating the central two cylinders under light loads.
This makes it 23pc more efficient than the equivalent engine in the previous version, the Mk6 Golf.
All new models come with stop/start as standard, along with battery regeneration. A 90bhp diesel will follow in spring 2013.
Gearboxes are a mixture of five and six-speed manuals and glorious six and seven-speed DSG units.
DSG, combined with precise and dynamic chassis feedback and responsive steering, made skirting around the stunningly scenic Sardinian coastline a delight.
In Sardinia we drove three variants, including a two-litre diesel and 1.4 TSI 140bhp, turbocharged petrol with ACT.
The revised chassis contributes to enhanced handling, producing a more dynamic driving experience. Clearly the new Golf is now, more than ever, a real driver's car.
In addition, in the cabin it's more spacious, with 33cm extra shoulder room. It's more ergonomic with sturdy fitments, while, from the front, it's more sculpted.
Handling is assured thanks to standard XDS -- an electronic differential which eliminates understeer at high cornering speed and gives optimum traction in all conditions.
Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual driving modes, at the touch of a dial, facilitate varying handling experiences, while it's also the car that takes the 'touch' out of 'touchscreen'. Now you just wave your hand in front of the screen to enable you to change functions.
With the new Golf, Volkswagen is clearly on the right road. It's still its best brand ambassador.