Cars

New Volkswagen Golf design shown in official sketches

Head of VW’s compact series, Karlheinz Hell, revealed: “The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions. It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety.”

The current Golf benefits from VW’s semi-autonomous Traffic Jam Assist system, which controls the steering, acceleration and braking of the car under 37mph, so it’s certain that the Mk8 model will take a leap in advancement over this. Elsewhere, the Audi A8 is the first car in the wider VW Group to achieve level three autonomy where permitted.

Golf to set VW design agenda

While the new Golf will be an evolutionary take on the outgoing car, it will feature new design elements that design chief Klaus Bischoff described being “more fluid, more sporty with a very unique face”.

It’s part of a new VW strategy to differentiate its standard model range from the new ID family of electric cars, said Bischoff: “[ID is] a new world of proportions and totally new bodystyles which are more emotional. As we go through the ceiling design- wise on ID cars, we need to echo that with ICE cars, so these will have more sporty proportions [and] a more progressive, clean design.”

Bischoff said future cars will remain faithful to VW’s traditional design cues: “We are looking to our origins so no ‘me too’ products. They will all remain as very individual VWs.

“If you look at front- of-car designs, nearly everybody is copying Audi. VW will go down its own road to stay true to the brand, and not look over the fence to others.” 

Volkswagen reaps MQB’s rewards

Volkswagen’s MQB architecture underpins its best-selling model, the Golf, of which 968,284 were sold in 2017.

The modular toolkit is used for most of the firm’s most successful models. In total, five MQB models currently account for 3.8 million global sales.

The firm’s second-bestseller last year was the Jetta/Sagitar (the latter is a Chinese-market compact saloon), with 883,346 units sold. The seventh-generation Jetta, which went on sale this year, is now based on MQB, as are the firm’s two next best-sellers: the Tiguan SUV (769,870 sold), in both short- and long-wheelbase forms, and the Polo

The Lavida, a Jetta-sized MQB saloon sold only in China, is the firm’s sixth best-selling model, with 507,000 made in 2017. That leaves the Passat/Magotan family, which is sold in Europe, the US and China. Current European versions of this model are built on MQB, with the US and Chinese versions switching to the architecture in 2019, adding another 660,000 or so MQB cars to the sales total.

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