Next-gen VW Golf 'faster than ever'

By Alastair Sloane

VW's new MQB platform uses hot-formed steels to slash weight but improve rigidity. Photo supplied.
VW's new MQB platform uses hot-formed steels to slash weight but improve rigidity. Photo supplied.

You can't see it in this spy shot of the heavily camouflaged 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTi, but the seventh-generation hot hatchback is expected to come with a special "eye" in the centre of the front bumper to automatically warn drivers of approaching speed limits.

It's a camera lens that also helps the car avoid low-speed collisions, part of a package of VW Group safety gadgets including an advanced lane departure warning set-up and fatigue assist, which warns the driver if he or she is about to fall asleep at the wheel.

The Golf GTi pictured here was spied by photographic agency AutoMedia testing in Scandanavia. It's not expected to be radically different in appearance from the current car, apart from a longer wheelbase.

As ever, the changes are evolutionary. The new Golf range is built on the VW Group's new MQB platform which uses hot-formed steels to slash weight but improve rigidity.

The GTi itself will be lighter, more powerful, more efficient and better equipped. An aluminium roof will help drop weight by roughly 100kg to around 1300kg.

The prototype here might wear a heavy disguise but AutoMedia says the larger brakes, twin exhausts, wider stance and honeycomb grille showed that this is no ordinary Golf.

Both three-door and five-door bodystyles will be available, with classic telephone dial-style alloys, red pinstriping, a bodykit and GTi badging as well sports seats with tartan trim.

Design boss Walter de'Silva has set out to give the Golf range styling a sportier feel. The front features a raked windscreen, two-bar grille and LED lights, while a square tailgate and wide wheelarches mark out the rear. Other design cues are expected to include dramatic slashes in the sides.

Power for the GTi will come from a new 2-litre direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, codenamed EA888.

The engine will power a number of high performance models and has been developed by Audi. Under the bonnet of the GTi it will deliver around 180kW (about the same as the current Golf GTi 35 Edition) but will be uprated to produce 225kW in the range-topping all-wheel-drive Golf R.

The GTi engine will be much more efficient, with more low-rev shove than its predecessor to help rapid overtaking.

It will also have reduced internal friction and lower overall weight for a claimed economy of around 6 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of around 150gr/km.

A wide range of TSI supercharged and turbocharged editions will be available across the new Golf, including an efficient 1.2-litre 50kW engine capable of returning 4.7 litres/100km.

On top of this, VW also plans a plug-in hybrid, as well as an all-electric version, called the e-BlueMotion. The hybrid will deliver a claimed 2.8 litres/100km, or 100mpg.

Diesel engines will include 1.6 and 2-litre TDI offerings. As standard, entry-level cars will drive the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, while flagship machines are tipped to offer VW's seven-speed DSG semi- automatic gearbox.

Models destined for New Zealand are expected to be DSG only. All will get stop-start as standard along with an iPad-style central touchscreen.

The Golf MkVII is expected to debut at October's Paris motor show. As the cornerstone of the VW range, the platform will spawn a host of new models, including a sedan - for the first time - a station wagon and a replacement for the Touran MPV, as well as a hot new Scirocco coupe.

They are all due in 2013, with a new Tiguan and a replacement for the Golf Cabriolet scheduled for the following year.

- NZ Herald

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