By Staff Reporter
The new Golf 8 was introduced to the world last night after a number of leaks leading up to the event. The new design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. There is a fair amounts of the Golf 7 in the exterior look but evolution is the recipe that has kept the Golf a major success for the VW brand for so long. That said, the under the skin changes and the interior are revolutionary, and there is a lot to look forward to from that perspective. There is no doubt that the new Golf will be a major hit.
What can you expect?
New engines and performance
All petrol engines will adopt mild-hybrid technology as VW aims to cut fuel consumption and emissions. These models will be known as eTSIs and offered in three power outputs: 1.0-liter 3-cylinder unit with 81 kW and a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder with either 96 kW or 110 kW. The eTSIs will employ a 48-V belt starter generator, a 48-V lithium-ion battery pack, a brake energy recuperation function, and be exclusively offered with a seven-speed DSG transmission. South Africa seems to miss-out on this technology as our line-up will comprise of a 1.4 TSI DSG, 2.0 GTI DSG and 2.0 R DSG.
South Africa also misses out on the two plug-in hybrid drive variants. A new efficiency version generates 150 kW / 204 PS while the very sporty GTE delivers 180 kW / 245 PS. Both Golf versions with plug-in hybrid drives will launch with a new 13 kWh lithium-ion battery on board that enables larger electrically powered ranges of approximately 60 kilometres, and temporarily turns the Golf into a zero-emissions vehicle.
The Golf interior goes digital and this will be a standard feature in its instrument cluster going forward. Measuring 10.25 inches, the new digital instrument cluster will be complemented by a touchscreen infotainment system with an 8.25-inch screen for lower models and a 10-inch screen for higher models. The Golf will also offer the AI-based virtual assistant developed by Amazon, Alexa. This means drivers will be able to employ more natural voice commands for requests on navigation, weather and music.
New look gear knob and digital panel
To save space in automatic models, the Golf adopts a Porsche 911-like gear knob and use a shift-by-wire system for gear changes. This will free up a lot of space in the front section of the cabin. VW also drops the conventional switches for headlights and spotlights, and implements a digital panel instead. The new panel also houses heating buttons for the windscreen and back window.
Technology and connectivity
The new Golf literally takes keyless entry into your phone. Owners with compatible Samsung phones will be able to gain entry into their car by putting their phone near the door handle to lock or unlock the car. Drivers do not need to have signal and can share the password with those they wish to give access to the car with by sending the password so they can in turn use their phones to access the car.
Interestingly, the Golf will allow buyers to install certain features retrospectively. Buyers can order adaptive cruise control, Wi-Fi hotspot, online-based voice control, Light Assist (main beam), and even navigation, after having taken delivery of their cars.
The new Golf will offer a number of active and passive safety features. The Golf adopts new optional IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights. The light system which has been associated with higher models comes to the Golf offering 22 individual LEDs per headlight matrix module, allowing the car to light up automatically in up to ten different ways depending on the model. Additionally, directional indicators are introduced. These were already available in the GTI and Golf R.
The Golf will introduce Car2X which communicates with other cars to warn drivers about potential hazards. The system is able to download the information quickly and works up to nearly 800 metres. The Golf also shares these warnings with other Car2X models.
Making the Golf even safer will be a semi-autonomous Travel Assistant feature which works up to 209 km/h. The system relies on adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems to allow the vehicle to drive itself. The driver is still required to place his hand on the steering wheel. Should the driver fail to do this, visual and audio warnings kick-in along with mild braking. If no response is detected after this, the car is able to safely stop itself.
When is it coming to South Africa?
You can expect the Golf 8 to make it to our shores in 2020. The new Golf GTI will debut first with the other models following later.
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