The latest iteration of the iconic Volkswagen Golf is now in Singapore, with a digitalised interior and 48V mild hybrid technology.
Everybody knows the Volkswagen Golf. It’s the second-longest running Volkswagen nameplate — behind the Beetle, of course — with a 47-year production run.
In that period, it sold well too, thanks to clever packaging, peppy engines, and a comprehensive range of models. Need to buy your kid his/her first car? There’s the base Golf. Need a fun city runabout? There’s the midrange turbocharged Golf. Want a hot hatch? There’s the Golf GTI. Want a mala 大辣 hot hatch with all-wheel drive? There’s the Golf R!
In this latest eighth-generation model, the Golf’s tried-and-tested recipe been enhanced, refined, and modernised both inside and out.
What’s new outside?
The Golf’s exterior — though not always the most exciting — has always been pleasant and easily identifiable as a Golf. That hasn’t changed, with the signature chunky, forward-leaning C-pillar still present.
Styling of the Golf 8 has evolved with the times, yet remains largely similar. Designers have taken the seventh-gen Golf and sharpened it up, adding more lines and angles for an aggressive look. Up front, there’s a new 2D badge with Volkswagen’s new logo, flanked by a slim narrow grille. Slimmer LED headlights (even on the base model!) taper in toward the centre and add to its aggressiveness.
Down the side, there’s now a sharper, more pronounced shoulder section. The character line now starts from the front fender and cuts through the C-pillar, joining the fender and taillight seamlessly. There are also three new directional wheel styles, in 17-inch and 18-inch flavours.
New LED taillights are the largest styling change to the rear, with an L-shaped design similar to that on the T-Roc crossover. This marks the first time that the Golf lineup is equipped with LED lighting technology across the board, both in front and at the rear.
If you want it even sportier, there’s always the R-Line package. This gets you sportier bumpers, gloss black trim, and sport seats amongst others.
What’s new inside?
Digitalisation is the keyword for the Golf 8’s interior. Everything that can be digitalised and made into a touch assisted display has been changed, to “elevate the experience to a new level of interaction between human and machine.”
In front of the driver is a new 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that replaces the old analog unit. An 8.25-inch (Golf Life & Golf Life Plus) or 10-inch (Golf R-Line) infotainment system sits at the same level, in a seamless architecture.
The centre stack now comprises fully of touch buttons and sliders, offering a clean, completely different method of interior control. There are just four main quick access buttons – drive assist, climate control, infotainment menu, and driving mode. These, together with the row of touch sliders beneath the infotainment screen, are all you need to navigate the menus.
Even the vision controls are touch buttons too, clustered to the right of the steering wheel. This consolidates the lights and front/rear windscreen heating controls to a single panel, in place of the traditional lighting knob.
Like its platform mate the fourth-gen A3, you won’t find a traditional gearlever in the cabin. The Golf gets the same small shift-by-wire gear selector, thankfully surrounded by matte black plastic trim in this application.
What’s new underneath?
The Golf is underpinned by the new Volkswagen Group MQB Evo platform, shared with the Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia.
A new 48-volt mild hybrid engine helps to save at the pumps, promising up to 10 percent lower fuel consumption. This ‘eTSI’ engine pairs a 1.5-litre engine with a 48V starter-generator, good for 148 bhp and 250 Nm of torque.
The 48V hybrid system has three key benefits – a torque-fill function at low speeds, a smoother start-stop system, and the ability to coast with the combustion engine off.
In the city, the torque-fill function eliminates any sluggishness when moving off from the lights, with the hybrid system providing a quick electric boost.
You won’t mind the start-stop system in the Golf 8, as the alternator and starter motor and now replaced by the 48V starter-generator. This means the engine start-stop system works smooth like butter – unlike like how it annoyed our writer Azfar in the previous-generation Golf.
A large chunk of the fuel savings is thanks to the drivetrain’s ability to coast electric-only on the highway. This switches off the combustion engine as much as possible while moving. However, if load juuuust exceeds the electric drivetrain’s capacity, cylinder deactivation technology switches off half the cylinders to save fuel.
How much is it?
For the bread-n-butter Volkswagen Golf 1.5 eTSI, three equipment packages are available at launch – the Golf Life, Life Plus, and R-Line. The range starts at S$125,900 (with COE) for the Golf Life, S$132,900 for the Golf Life Plus, and S$142,900 for the Golf R-Line.
For the hotter Volkswagen Golf GTI, only one trim level is available, priced at S$205,900 with COE. All models will be available for sale at the Volkswagen showroom starting tomorrow, 20th May 2021.