40 Years Of The VW Golf: Best-Seller, Trend-Setter And Icon

40 Years Of The VW Golf: Best-Seller, Trend-Setter And Icon

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
31 Mar 2014

In launching the first Golf GTI (in 1976), Volkswagen heralded the introduction of greater dynamism in this class, while the Golf D (naturally aspirated diesel engine, 1976) and the later Golf GTD (turbo diesel, 1982) marked the breakthrough for diesel cars in the compact segment. With the Golf Cabriolet, introduced in 1979, Volkswagen launched an open car on the market that was at times the best-selling open car in the world.

. As of August 1983, passengers no longer sat quite so close to each other, since spatial utilization had been improved once more. In fact, it was the Golf that introduced the regulated catalytic converter (1984), anti-lock braking system (ABS,1986) and power-steering to the Golf class and that could be ordered with an all-wheel drive system for the first time (syncro,1986).

Golf II

. With the launch of the third generation of the Golf in August 1991, Volkswagen heralded a new era of safety. The Golf III was the first of the series to have front airbags, starting in 1992, while major advances in the area of car body construction also resulted in significantly improved crash safety. In addition, numerous other technological milestones of the model range are linked to the third Golf. Many new features made their debuts in this new Golf: the first six cylinder engine (VR6), cruise control, oxidation catalytic converter for diesel engines (1991) and the first direct injection diesel engines (TDI in 1993). Likewise, ABS became a standard feature on all Golf models in 1996. In 1993, Volkswagen had also introduced a new convertible based on the Golf III, a new all-wheel drive model (syncro II) and the first Golf Variant (an estate).

Golf III

. Under the direction of Hartmut Warkuß, then Head of Design at Volkswagen (Group), the Golf IV crystallized the clear, precise design that lived up to the history of the Volkswagen brand more than ever before while setting its course to the future. Also in 1998, Volkswagen unveiled the first all-wheel Golf with a Haldex clutch – the Golf 4MOTION. One year later, ESC became a standard feature, initially in Germany. The first direct-injection engine (FSI) and the debut of the standard head airbag (window airbags) followed in 2002. Also in 2002, Volkswagen launched the R32, with a top speed of 250 km/h. It was this top model of the range that in 2003 was the first to debut with the revolutionary dual-clutch gearbox (DSG).

Golf IV

. This was the Golf that boasted levels of comfort and dynamic performance that left many a competitor in its class way behind in 2003. The same went for the car’s security. One factor that underlines the stability of the laser-welded bodywork was the 35% increase in torsion rigidity demonstrated when the Golf V made its debut in 2003. On request, the Golf was now also available for the first time with side airbags – together with the six standard airbags (front, side front and window) there were thus eight protective air buffers on board. In terms of comfort as well as dynamic performance, the Golf V scored in numerous areas, including: its new four-link rear suspension, seven-speed DSG, bi-xenon headlights, panoramic sliding sunroof, plus the world’s first twin charger (in the 2006 TSI), combining turbo- and supercharger. In 2006, the Golf Plus had its debut; in 2007, the CrossGolf, a new Estate and the extremely fuel-efficient Golf BlueMotion (4.5 l/100 km).

Golf V

. In just four years, a further 2.85 million Golf cars had been produced by the end of July 2012, based on the sixth generation of the car launched in 2008. And once again safety made great advances too: the car body was so rugged that it passed the EuroNCAP crash test with flying colours, gaining the maximum five stars. Meanwhile, more TSI engines and a transition among the turbo diesel engines (TDI) from unit injection to the common rail system resulted in greater dynamic performance and lower fuel consumption. A top performer in the latter discipline was the second Golf BlueMotion with a combined fuel consumption of just 3.8 l/100 km, equivalent to 99 g/km CO2. New assistance systems - such as Light Assist automatic main beam management, Park Assist, etc - made the sixth generation the most advanced Golf to date.

Golf VI

. On 4 September 2012, Volkswagen celebrated the world premiere of the seventh Golf. The weight of the new Golf was reduced by up to 100 kg, thereby reversing the often cited upward weight spiral. Fuel economy was improved by a maximum of 23 percent, depending on engine selection. The new Golf TDI BlueMotion consumes only 3.2 l/100 km (equivalent to 85 g of CO2/km) under standard NEDC conditions. In addition, Volkswagen has equipped the Golf with an entire armada of new assistance systems on the market – some as options and others as standard. In 2014, Volkswagen electrifies the compact class with the Golf: the all-electric e-Golf with a range of around 190 km is already available to buy. In addition, the new Golf GTE3 will be launched in autumn. Its plug-in hybrid drive system achieves a standard fuel consumption of 1.5 l/100 km; in all-electric mode, the Golf GTE can be driven for 50 km.

Golf VII

The Golf is the most successful model ever built by Volkswagen. In the summer of 2013 the 30 millionth Golf was built – a seventh-generation model. The seventh-generation Golf is produced in Wolfsburg (Germany), Zwickau (Germany), Foshan (China) and Puebla (Mexico).

Credits: Oneshift News Team

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