In three years time the VW Golf will be celebrating its 50th birthday and during that time more than 35 million examples have been built. Quite a record.
And talking about records the first Golf on the road was there roughly at the same time as Dark Side of the Moon was released, that album by Pink Floyd. But the Golf has a bit of catching up as 45 million records for the Floyd have been sold to date!
The latest Golf is the 8th generation. They tend to be up graded around every five years getting better and better.
The original Golf Mk1 was a front-engined, front wheel drive number which was a replacement for the air cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive VW Beetle which had started life during the 1939-45 war.
Historically, the Golf is Volkswagen’s best-selling model and is one of the world’s top three selling vehicles along with the Toyota Corolla saloon and the Ford F-Series pick-up truck.
The Golf has won a number of awards throughout its history winning the World Car of the Year three times and the European Car of the year twice.
Naturally the latest Golf is the most intelligent and connected yet offering the widest choice of drivetrains with new mild-hybrid and plug in hybrids joining the usual petrol and diesel engines.
My latest piece of equipment was the Golf Style 1.5-litre eTSI 150 PS which basically comes out at £28,000 with a variety of options giving you a final bill of £33,000.
It is a transverse-mounted 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 48 V mild-hybrid system; in-line four cylinder with direct injection and four valves per cylinder. The eTSI system uses a 48 V lithium-ion battery and 48 V belt starter generator in lieu of an alternator and starter. The generator also acts as a small electric motor that boosts torque when pulling away. And there is the excellent seven speed DSG box to boot.
The Golf is available with a wider choice of electrified powertrains than ever before. These include three new 48 V mild-hybrids – named eTSI – and a powerful new GTE plug-in hybrid. Across the standard Golf range there are six petrol engine options: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder
generating 110 PS, and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 130 PS or 150 PS.
A pair of 2.0-litre diesels offering 115 PS or 150 PS are also available. A 2.0-litre, 245 PS petrol engine powers the Golf GTI, with a 300 PS version in the GTI Clubsport and a 320 PS variant propelling the Golf R; a 2.0-litre, 200 PS diesel powers the Golf GTD, and for the GTE, a 245 PS plug-in hybrid with 1.4-litre petrol engine
The new mild-hybrid 48 V eTSI drive system is available with three outputs: 110 PS, 130 PS and 150 PS, all fitted with DSG as standard.
Four trim levels are available for the new car: Life, Style, R-Line. These are broadly comparable to SE, SEL and R-Line in other Volkswagen models, and are also joined by a special edition Active trim, based on Life.
Top speed for the Style is 139mph with 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds and the emissions are 130 g/km. Miles per gallon is between 40 and 50 depending how much electric you are using.
On its standard suspension, the Golf rides potholes and ridges with no problem. There are three main settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport.
The Golf like all models have a light steering which is pretty good for urban driving.
The Golf has plenty of adjustments in seat height and a movable centre armrest with bags of cushioning for added support. Lumbar adjustment is standard and the sports seats found on Style trim are excellent.
The large windscreen and side windows give you good visibility and powerful LED headlights are standard. There are LED Plus headlights fitted to Style which can direct light around corners. Every Golf comes with a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system which has including wireless phone charging, built-in sat-nav, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay with Android smartphone integration.
There is bags of headroom in both the front and the back seats and the Golf provides you with plenty of trays, storage bins and a decent sized glovebox which is actually air conditioned.
You can fold down the rear seats 60/40 which lie down virtually flat and the boot is a decent size as well which will give you at least six bags of shopping. A golf bag is better left on the back seat!
Every Golf comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, a driver fatigue monitor, traffic sign recognition and Car2X, which shares information on traffic conditions and hazards within a radius of 800 metres so you get an early warning of any dangers that lie ahead.
Like most VWs, the Golf comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, three years paint and 12 years body protection plus one year Volkswagen Roadside Assistance (UK & Europe). But on top of that all Golf models tend to hold their value better than their German compatriots in Mercedes, Audi and BMW.