In its seventh-generation, the Volkswagen Golf is making its North American debut at the New York auto show. Although the seventh generation is bigger and more spacious than past models, the bodyshell's weight has been reduced by 51 pounds and even engine weight has been reduced by eight pounds, according to VW. Use of ultra-high strength steels for the bodyshell not only provides weight reduction but also an enhanced crash structure. The seventh generation Golf will be available in both GTI (two engine variations) and TDI variations.
Coming in at 2.2 inches longer and 0.5 inches wider than the current model, the new Golf is also 1.1 inches lower, which provides better aerodynamics. Interior space has also increased with 0.6 inches more rear-seat legroom and 1.2 inches of shoulder room also in the rear. The front seating position has moved back 0.8 inches to allow for greater steering wheel adjustment. Space between the brake and gas pedal has also increased by 0.6 inches along with the shifter position resulting in a more comfortable drive. Even the trunk size has been increased by an additional eight percent which provides for more storage space. But if eight percent isn't enough, the floor of the trunk can be removed as well.
Volkswagen is also introducing a new feature called the infotainment screen. This will be a smartphone inspired unit allowing the driver to swipe through various functions with a finger. Even the standard radio comes with a 5.8 inch touchscreen. iPod connectivity is also available, integrating into the center console storage compartment.
The GTI Golf will be powered by an EA888 Gen 3 turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine. The 1.8 liter engine produces 170 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque with competitive fuel economy. This engine has several improvements made from the last generation including: a thinwall crankcase casting, exhaust headers integrated into the cylinder head and more. The engine will be mated to both an automatic and manual transmission.
The second GTI engine available is the EA888 2.0 liter turbocharged TSI. Although VW has not released final horse power and torque figures, they are estimated to make around 210 hp and 258 foot-pounds of torque. This GTI engine is offered with a six-speed manual or DGS transmission.
The TDI Clean Diesel will be driven by an EA288 turbocharged, common-rail, direct-injection four-cylinder engine that will produce 150 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. Improvements have also been made to the TDI's engine, improving fuel economy and reducing emissions, including: using a complex exhaust gas recirculation system (with cooled low-pressure AGR), integration of the intercooler with the intake manifold, low-friction bearings for the camshaft and balancer shafts, piston rings that have less pre-tension and more. A six-speed manual comes standard while a DSG dual-clutch automatic is also available.
Two significant chassis improvements have also been made on the new models. One being the XDS electronic differential lock, which electronically monitors input form wheel sensors in the event of wheel slippage and adds extra torque to improve handling. The second significant improvement is progressive steering, which has a different tooth pitch in the center of the steering rack than on the outside. The higher and lower steering ratios work together to not only respond faster in a turn but also reducing full steering lock effort.
Safety is always an important feature to VW, so in this new model there will be a system called Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. In the event of an accident, the system automatically brakes to reduce kinetic energy upon impact. But the driver can also override the system by simply accelerating, or by applying braking power at over 0.6g.