Facelift brings new tech and revised exterior, but no drivetrain upgrades

Introduced for the 2015 model year, the Golf GTE is the very first plug-in hybrid version of the popular compact hatchback. It’s also the model that debuted Volkswagen’s new family of GTE vehicles, which now includes the Passat, Passat Variant, and Tiguan. Essentially identical to its gasoline and diesel sibling inside and out, save for a few hybrid-specific features, the Golf GTE uses a drivetrain that marries a small-displacement TSI engine and an electric motor. With a theoretical combined range of more than 900 km (at least 500 miles), the Golf GTE became a major success in Europe, becoming the second-best selling plug-in hybrid in its first full year on the market.

Come 2016, and Volkswagen launched a mid-cycle facelift for the seventh-generation Golf, which has been in production since 2012. Although the GTE is still relatively new, it was included in the upgrade and gained a handful of new features on the outside and loads of new technology on the inside. Unlike the regular Golf and GTi though, the hybrid carries over with the same drivetrain. However, this isn’t unexpected, as the powertrain is potent enough as it is and its estimated mileage is as competitive as they get.

The upgraded Golf GTE is all about good news really, but Volkswagen has yet to say whether it will make it to the U.S. or not. Chances are it won’t cross the pond in the current generation, meaning customers will have to settle for the all-electric e-Golf for the time being. Until that changes, let’s have a closer look at what the revised Golf GTE brings to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTE.

Exterior

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Exterior
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It’s common knowledge that Volkswagen facelifts are usually mild, and the update applied to the Golf Mk7 is no exception from this rule. The GTE model gets all the new features we’ve already seen on the regular hatchback, including the bottom radiator strip that extends through the LED daytime running lights and new LED headlamps. The front bumper was also redesigned, now sporting a wider grille, reshaped foglamps, and a black strip just below the license plate. A less noticeable but important change is the repositioning of the radar sensor for Adaptive Cruise Control and Front Assist system from the lower cooling air intake behind the emblem in the radiator grille.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Exterior
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The GTE model gets all the new features we've already seen on the regular hatchback.

Up front, there’s just one feature that sets it apart from the standard Golf. While the latter comes with a chrome grille strip, the GTE has it finished in blue.

Around back, the hybrid hatchback sporty new LED taillights, but it’s not yet clear whether the animated flowing indicators and the switch-over between the taillight and the brake lights functions available for the more expensive trim levels are offered on the GTE too. Other than that, everything remains unchanged compared to the outgoing model.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE
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COMPETING DESIGNS

The Golf GTE doesn’t have many rivals in its class, and its main competitor is actually based on the same underpinnings. I’m talking about the Audi A3 e-tron (left), which is also fresh for 2017 following a mid-cycle facelift. Although the A3 also sports a rather conventional design that’s not supposed to draw attention, the sharper "Singleframe" grille contours and the more angular headlamps give the Audi a sportier stance compared to the Golf. The prominent character line above the side skirts also helps the A3 stand out in this niche.

2016 - 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Toyota Prius
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If you're looking to stand out, the Prius is your best choice here .

Then there’s the Toyota Prius (right). Sure, it’s not a traditional hatchback and it’s a some 11 inches longer than a Golf, but it’s the oldest hybrid nameplate on the market and one of the main reasons why the Golf GTE isn’t more popular around the world. The Prius used to be a dull and ugly car, but the 2015 redesigned pumped new life in the Japanese hybrid. But while the new styling is more pleasant to the eye, it’s still somewhat unconventional and has very little in common with other Toyota products. If you’re looking to stand out, the Prius is your best choice here.

Interior

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Much like the exterior, the interior carries over with minor changes as far as styling goes. Visual modifications include only new trim panels for the doors, dashboard, and center console, new seat covers, and customizable ambient lighting. However, there are plenty of new features in the technology department.

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The hybrid model received new touchscreens based on the Active Info Display system.

Much like the conventional Golf, the hybrid model received new touchscreens based on the Active Info Display system. The main novelty here is the addition of gesture control, which makes the Golf the first production Volkswagen with this function. However, this feature is offered only with "Discover Pro", the range-topping and more expensive infotainment system.

The infotainment itself benefits from an update that includes a new-generation MIB display with larger screens. The size of the touchscreen depends on the configuration selected. "Composition Color" has a 6.5-inch screen, "Composition Media" and "Discover Media" come with 8.0-inch displays, while "Discover Pro" has a 9.2-inch touchcreen. While gesture control is optional, touch- and voice-command are standard.

The instrument cluster is also new, now fully digital and displayed on a 12.3-inch screen that includes navigation in 2D or 3D. The instrument cluster has five different information profiles, including “Classic”, “Consumption & Range”, “Efficiency”, “Performance & Driver Assistance” or “Navigation.” Each profile displays information and graphics differently in certain areas, but their names make them easy to identify and get used to.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Interior
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The instrument cluster is also new, now fully digital and displayed on a 12.3-inch screen.

The Golf GTE also comes with a new Media Control app, which is an infotainment interface for tablets and smartphones. The app can be used to control many of the functions of the infotainment system from a tablet or phone by connecting these devices to the “Discover Media” or “Discover Pro” infotainment system using the WiFi hotspot.

Volkswagen also added the Security & Service package, a bundle that gives the driver immediate access to assistance in a wide range of situations. Services include Automatic Accident Notification, Breakdown Call, and Service Scheduling. Breakdown Call allows the driver to use the infotainment system to contact the Volkswagen Emergency Call Center for assistance or medical attention, while the system already sends the vehicle data and its location to the emergency services when the driver calls for roadside assistance.

COMPETING TECHNOLOGY

Much like the Golf, the A3 didn’t change much design-wise after the facelift, but it did get new features and tech. First, the hatchback gained Audi’s virtual cockpit, which comes with a new, digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch screen. The MMI system has also been upgraded, featuring a new menu structure that is similar to that of smartphones. The seven-inch display is standard equipment, but optional upgrades add Google Earth and Google Street, and real-time traffic information. There’s also 4G LTE connection and a MMI Connect app that allows online media streaming.

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2016 Toyota Prius
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The Prius’ interior is arguably the most interesting design-wise, largely thanks to its thin and wide, center-mounted instrument cluster and massive, wrap-around dashboard. However, you can’t get as many fine materials as in the more expensive Golfs and A3s and gesture control might not be on Toyota’s list for a few more years. On the other hand, the Prius’ fetches around €10,000 less than a Golf GTE in base trim in Europe.

Drivetrain

Unlike the rest of the Golf lineup, the GTE remained unchanged under the hood. Motivation comes from the same 1.4-liter TSI engine rated at 150 PS (148 horsepower), while an electric motor steps in with an additional 102 PS (101 horses). Total ouput is rated at 204 PS (201 horsepower), while total torque is a remarkable 350 Nm (258 pound-feet). The torque output is similar to that of the gasoline-powered, performance-oriented GTi, which pretty much explains the GT in GTE.

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Unlike the rest of the Golf lineup, the GTE remained unchanged under the hood.

All that oomph is routed to the wheels through a six-speed DSG transmission with a triple-clutch system specially developed by Volkswagen for its hybrid vehicles. The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger.

Performance-wise, the GTE is a solid performer for a hybrid. The hatchback needs 7.6 seconds to hit 62 mph, while top speed is limited at 135 mph. Granted. these figures are nowhere near to that of the GTi, but bear in mind that the GTE is around 260 pounds heavier due to the battery and hybrid system.

When used in electric mode only, top speed drops to 81 mph, while mileage is estimated at 31 miles. On the other hand, its combined range is an incredible 933 km (580 miles). Sure, this number is theoretical and it can’t be achieved in the real world, but the hatchback will travel for at least 400 miles on a single charge if the accelerator pedal doesn’t get too much abuse.

The battery is an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion unit that takes just three to 3.5 hours to charge from a conventional plug, or 2.5 hours on a charging station. Volkswagen says that the Golf GTE doesn’t emit more than 40 grams of carbon-dioxide per km.

COMPETING PERFORMANCE

While choosing between the Golf GTE and the A3 e-tron styling-wise will require some thinking, the two are identical under the shell. The A3 gets its juice from the same 1.4-liter gasoline and electric motor combo that produces the exact same amount of power. Even the battery is identical, but there are a few differences worth mentioning. First, the A3 comes with its very own transmission in the form of a six-speed S Tronic dual-clutch. The gearbox can be equipped with paddle shifter via the Sport package. Charging times vary, with Audi claiming an eight-hour charge on a 110-volt socket, while a 240-volt source will fill the battery up in two hours and 15 minutes. Unlike the Golf GTE, the A3 e-tron also comes with solar charging. All-electric range, total system mileage and 0-to-62 times are similar, so this battle is mostly about looks.

Moving over to the Toyota Prius, the car that already benefits from decades of know-how, its drive system includes a new 1.8-liter four-cylinder, a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor, and an 8.8 kWh battery. The gas engine is rated at 95 horsepower and 105 pound-feet, the electric motor generates 71 horses and 120 pound-feet, while total output is 121 horsepower. Significantly less powerful, the Prius is also slower, needing 11.1 seconds to hit 62 mph. That’s 3.5 seconds slower than the Golf GTE. Top speed is also inferior at 115 mph. All-electric range isn’t better at only 22 miles, but the total system range is comparable to the Golf GTE at 565 miles on the highway and more than 600 miles in city traffic.

Volkswagen Golf GTE Audi A3 E-tron Toyota Prius
Drive system 1.4-liter TSI + Electric 1.4-liter gasoline + Electric 1.8-liter four-cylinder, a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor, and an 8.8 kWh battery
Total output 201 HP 201 HP 121 HP
Total torque 258 LB-FT 258 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 7.6 seconds 7.6 seconds 11.1 seconds
Top Speed 135 mph 135 mph 115 mph
Electric Range 31 miles 31 miles 22 miles
Total Range 580 miles 580 miles 600 miles

Safety

The GTE benefits from all the new safety system introduced with the Golf facelift. New technology includes Traffic Jam Assist, new Pedestrian Monitoring for Front Assist with City Emergency Braking. The new safety package also includes Emergency Assist and a refined passenger protection system. Carryover safety features include front airbags, driver’s knee airbag, side head and chest airbags, airbag cut-off switch, seat belt reminder, and ESC.

What Other Are Saying

CAR AND DRIVER

Car and Driver’s Jen Meiners says that the Golf GTE is a solid performer in its segment, being superior to the older and more experience Toyota Prius: "The GTE is perhaps as rewarding a plug-in hybrid as we’ve experienced. Compared with, say, a Toyota Prius plug-in, the GTE simply plays in another league."

WHAT CAR?

On the other hand, the folks over at What Car? believe that while the GTE "makes sense if you do lots of short trips, the hybrid is not as "economical as the diesels, nor as quick or fun as the GTI." The outlet argue that the hatchback is well equipped and spacious, but pricey and at a disadvantage due to its small trunk.

Prices

Pricing for the updated Golf GTE has yet to be revealed, but it shouldn’t be a lot more expensive than the outgoing model. With the 2016 model retailing from €36,900, the updated hybrid should fetch a little more than €38,000 before options.

HOW EXPENSIVE IS THE COMPETITION?

Being based on the same platform and using an identical drivetrain, it’s natural to expect for the A3 e-tron to be only slightly more expensive than the Golf GTE, despite the extra premium goodies. Luckily, this is indeed the case, as the facelifted Audi retails from €37,900 in Germany. That’s a €1,000 premium, which will be cancelled when the updated Golf GTE arrives in showrooms with a slightly more expensive sticker.

When talking about the Toyota Prius, pricing drops dramatically. Developed for cost-conscious drivers, fitted with far less upscale features, and using a less powerful drivetrain, the Prius starts from €25,150. However, it’s worth mentioning that this is the regular hybrid and not the plug-in version. The latter starts from €36,600, which makes it only €300 more affordable than the Golf GTE.

Volkswagen Golf GTE €38,000 (est.)
Audi A3 E-tron €37,900
Toyota Prius Hybrid €25,150
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid €36,600

Note: German prices listed here

Competition

Audi A3 e-tron

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The A3 e-tron is actually older than the Golf GTE, having been unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and sold for the 2014 model year. As mentioned earlier, its drivetrain is identical to that of the Golf, while performance and mileage figures are either identical or very similar. Design-wise, the A3 e-tron is a regular A3 with "e-tron" badges and a charging socket hidden behind the four rings logo, while the interior stands out by means of hybrid-specific displays and menus. Unlike the Golf GTE, which isn’t available Stateside, the A3 e-tron can be purchased in the United States.

Find out more about the Audi A3 e-tron here.

Toyota Prius

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Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Prius sports a completely new exterior that even though it is still linked to the previous model, it’s more futuristic and youthful. Still unique in a rather weird way, but hey, it no longer looks like only people in their 40s and 50s would buy. Using a revised version of the previous 1.8-liter four-cylinder and a new electric motor, the new Previous boasts improvements in the performance department, but it’s not the kind of car that would given the GTE a run for its money in a straight line. On the flipside, its total system mileage is as good, while the significantly more affordable sticker of the base, non-plug-in model makes it a great choice for drivers on a tight budget.

Learn more about the Toyota Prius here.

Conclusion

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The facelifted Golf GTE might soldier on with the "old" drivetrain, but this isn’t an issue. Although the hybrid system debuted more than three years ago in the Audi A3 e-tron, it’s still peppy enough to maintain the Golf as the sportiest hybrid in its class, and it’s powerful enough to trump the brand-new Toyota Prius. It’s all-electric and total ranges are solid to say the least, while the well-equipped interior puts in on the more premium side of the market. The mildly revised exterior and the new technology will definitely keep the hybrid hatchback fresh for a couple more years.

  • Leave it
    • * Expensive compared to the base Toyota Prius
    • * Not available in the U.S.

Press Release

Volkswagen is updating the most successful model in the Group’s history—the Golf. The main focus of the 2017 model year is—alongside new engines, sharper design and new driver assistance systems—a completely new generation of infotainment systems. The top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system can be operated by gesture control, a world first for the compact car segment. With its 9.2-inch screen it forms a conceptual and visual entity with the Active Info Display, which is also new to the Golf. In parallel to this, the range of online services and apps has also been enlarged. The update to the Golf, of which over 33 million have been sold to date, also reflects a new standard for assistance systems in the compact class: technologies such as City Emergency Braking with a new Pedestrian Monitoring function, the new Traffic Jam Assist (partially automated driving at speeds of up to 60 km/h) and Emergency Assist, which is also new in this segment, significantly improve safety.

These changes are accompanied by the enhanced EA211 TSI engine family. The new Golf initially sees the debut of the new 1.5-liter TSI Evo turbocharged gasoline engine, a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder with Active Cylinder Management (ACT). This will be followed by a BlueMotion version producing 96 kW/130 PS. Volkswagen has also boosted the performance of the Golf GTI, with 169 kW/230 PS for the base model and and 180 kW/245 PS for the GTI Performance model. A new seven-speed DSG (dual clutch gearbox) will gradually replace the six-speed DSG as a high-efficiency gearbox for the Golf.

The more refined design of all new versions of the Golf makes a more powerful impression than ever before. The modifications include new bumpers at the front and rear, new halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights, new full LED headlights instead of Xenon headlights, new front fenders, new full LED taillights—which come as standard for every version of the Golf—as well as new wheels and colors. The interior is upgraded with refined new decorative trims and fabrics.

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Design

New details freshen the Golf’s iconic design. The lower chrome strip on the radiator grille extends through the LED Daytime Running Lights to the left and right as a chrome element (painted red on the GTI and blue on the GTE). The LED headlights, which either come as standard or as an optional extra, depending on the equipment version, replace the Bi-Xenon headlights in the new Golf. The cooling vents in the lower part of the bumper, which have also been redesigned, accentuate the width even more. The interplay of the new details make the Golf even more striking.

Another optical highlight for models with Adaptive Cruise Control ACC and/or Front Assist is that the radar sensor for these systems on the TDI, TSI, LNG, GTD and GTI versions will no longer be located (visibly) in the lower cooling air intake in the bumper, but will instead now be hidden behind the VW logo in the upper radiator grille.

The back of the car has also been made more charismatic: from now on, all versions of the Golf and Golf Variant will come with full LED taillights. In contrast to many standard LED taillights, none of the functions will use conventional light bulbs. Also, the top-of-the-range version of the full LED taillights (available for the two- and four-door Golf) will have animated flowing indicators. This version can be recognised by a translucent white LED stripe that turns orange when indicating. Last, but not least, the top-of-the-range version is set apart by a visually striking switch-over between the LED taillight and the LED brake lights when the brakes are applied.

For the interior of the Golf, Volkswagen’s‎ “Colour & Trim” design division has come up with new decorative trim panels in the doors, the dash panel and the center console, as well as new seat covers.

The sporty GT versions are set apart by color applications to match the character of the specific Golf version, instead of the chrome strip in the radiator grille and headlights—red for the Golf GTI and blue for the GTE. The back of the Golf GTI is distinguished not only by the new bumpers and the full LED taillights, but also by the enlarged cross-section of the chrome-plated exhaust pipes.

The latest version of the Golf Variant is also making its debut. A new rear bumper makes the Golf Variant appear even more elongated and elegant and marries neatly with the full LED taillights. Just like the Passat Variant, the Golf Variant is also available with sophisticated trapezoidal chrome trim panels, which are directly integrated into the diffuser, as an option.

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Infotainment

The update to the Golf is most readily visible inside, because the new car offers a new and increasingly digital display and control concept. It is based on the new Active Info Display and the first infotainment system with gesture control to be offered in a production Volkswagen. Along with this, Volkswagen has updated its whole range of infotainment systems. Its most important characteristic is the sophisticated new design, larger touchscreens and, in the case of the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system, gesture control, which is implemented here for the first time in the Golf’s compact car class.

The Golf’s Active Info Display is a fully digital instrument cluster with numerous interactive functions. All of the instruments are displayed virtually on the 12.3-inch color display. The navigation information can be displayed in 2D or 3D. Its resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels enables extremely precise and sophisticated interactive display of all the details. There are five different information profiles, in which the kind of information and graphics displayed in certain areas changes. The driver can select from one of the following profiles: “Classic”, “Consumption & Range”, “Efficiency”, “Performance & Driver Assistance” or “Navigation”.

The “Navigation” profile is a good example of the interactive features of the Active Info Display: here, the speedometer and tach are moved to the sides to make more room for the map in the middle. Information on driving, navigation and assistance functions can also be integrated into the graphic areas of the speedometer and tach, as required. Data such as telephone contact images or CD covers can also be displayed on the Active Info Display. Depending on the model, the graphics can be customized: in the Golf GTI, for example, the graphics use GTI red as a contrasting color, while the Golf GTE uses GTE blue to help the instruments blend in with the look of the plug-in hybrid. The Active Info Display is available as an optional extra for all versions of the Golf, as an alternative to analog instruments.

Volkswagen has replaced all of the existing infotainment systems in the Golf with a new generation of the MIB system. The most important feature is that all of the systems now offer a new design and larger touchscreens, although the names of the infotainment systems remain unchanged. The 5-inch “Composition Touch” and “Composition Colour” systems (with a display resolution of 400 x 240 pixels) have been replaced by the new 6.5-inch “Composition Colour” system, with a touchscreen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and the black-and-white “Composition Touch” has been discontinued.

The next level up, “Composition Media” and “Discover Media” (incl. navigation) have so far had 6.5-inch screens. They have also been replaced by systems with the same names, but with 8.0-inch screens, while the resolution of 800 x 480 pixels also remains unchanged. The 8.0-inch screen of the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system (incl. navigation) will from now on be replaced by a 9.2-inch touchscreen, with the resolution increased from 800 x 480 to 1280 x 640 pixels. The new “Discover Pro” will be the first Volkswagen infotainment system to offer both touch- and voice-command operation with gesture control in addition to proximity sensors—a world premiere in the compact car segment. Volkswagen plans to introduce the new systems in several other product lines in the course of 2017.

Not only does the “Discover Pro” version of the MIB have a 9.2-inch display with a resolution that has increased from 117 to 155 dpi, it has also been completely redesigned. In contrast to the previous 8.0-inch system used in the Golf, the entire front is spanned by a stylish glass surface, a finish that also applies to the new “Discover Media” system. Conventional buttons and controls are a thing of the past with “Discover Pro”: all haptic operation is performed via the touchscreen and five capacitive panels on the left side of the new infotainment system. This vertical bar on the left comprises the functions: “Menu”, “Home”, “On/Off”, “Volume up” and “Volume down”—in other words the main commands, because the driver needs to have direct access to functions such as the volume control. The same applies to the capacitive panel “Home”, with which the driver can get back to the main menu—and thus the home screen—from any of the sub-menus in an instant.

In contrast to the previous version of the “Discover Pro”, the driver can now also configure the home screen. The navigation function is displayed in a large panel on the left of the screen, while there are two smaller panels arranged vertically on the right. The driver can assign important functions to these two display panels, which are also interactive—for instance, the radio or the media library in the top panel and his phone contacts in the bottom panel. Like on a smartphone, as soon as the driver touches the “Home” button—no matter which menu they may currently be in—the system will return to the personalised home screen, as outlined above.

Gesture control can be used in various different menus. All it takes is a swipe gesture to move the horizontally arranged menu items left or right, allowing the driver to scroll through the main menu, change radio stations, flip through the playlist or browse through the Picture Viewer and albums in the media library (CoverFlow). A ’light flare’ indicates which options can be operated by gesture control and operation is supported by visual interactive feedback. Successful swipes are also confirmed by a sound effect, which can optionally be deactivated.

The range of equipment offered with the “Discover Pro” system also includes an amplifier with a 4 x 20 watt output, a DVD drive, two USB ports (Apple compatible), two SD card slots, AUX-IN socket, a 10 GB SSD drive, the full range of music playback capabilities, a movie player, jukebox, podcast player, proximity sensor and voice control as well as navigation. Optional are a “Rear View” reversing camera, DAB+, and up to two extra USB sockets as well as two mobile phone interfaces.

In the updated Golf the driver or front seat passenger can simply put their smartphone in a redesigned optional storage compartment with an interface for mobile telephones (“Comfort” mobile phone pre-installation). The highlight here is that the phone can be charged and coupled to the vehicle’s external antenna inductively (in accordance with the Qi standard). Other optional extras include the Car-Net options “App Connect”, “Security & Service” (new in the Golf) and “Guide & Inform”, while “Media Control” is available as an optional extra for the infotainment functions.

With the “Media Control” app, Volkswagen offers an infotainment interface for tablets (and smartphones). The app can be used to control many of the functions of the infotainment system conveniently from a tablet or phone. Passengers simply connect their tablet to the “Discover Media” or “Discover Pro” infotainment system using the WiFi hotspot. The systems that can be controlled include the radio, all audio and video sources (e.g. USB, CD, DVD, hard drive) as well as the navigation system. The information shown on the menu includes artist, album name and cover.

Standard features in the navigation menu are supplemented by an address-search function that uses the Internet and which can also be used to enter selected search results as destinations. Over and above this, rear seat passengers can also send calendar events and address book entries on the tablet or smartphone to the infotainment system as destinations for the navigation system now, turning “Media Control“ into a mobile extension of the infotainment system and an affordable modern-day rear seat entertainment system.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Interior
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Volkswagen Car-Net

This is the first time that Volkswagen has offered the “Security & Service” package in the Golf. This gives the driver mobile access to assistance in a wide range of situations. The highlights include services such as “Automatic Accident Notification”, “Breakdown Call” and “Service Scheduling” (for making maintenance appointments with your dealership). Breakdown Call allows the driver to use the infotainment system to contact the Volkswagen Emergency Call Centre, which can then arrange for prompt assistance or medical attention, while the system already sends the vehicle data and its location to the emergency services when the driver calls for roadside assistance. Over and above this, “Security & Service” offers functions like online monitoring of “Doors & Lights” as well as information on “Parking Position” (by smartphone or web portal). Anyone who has a learner driver in the family will appreciate “Area Alert” (which automatically notifies you if the Golf is driven in or leaves certain areas) and “Speed Alert” (which is activated as soon as a certain speed is exceeded). Another useful feature is the “Online Anti-Theft Alarm”, which will send you a notification via the Volkswagen Car-Net app on your smartphone or by email if an attempt is made to break into the car.

“Guide & Inform” allows the use of a wide range of online services. It includes an app for the “Discover Media” system and an extended range of apps for the “Discover Pro” system. The services available for “Discover Media” include apps such as “Online POI Search”, “Destination Import”, “Fuel Info” (location and price), “News”, “Parking Info” (location and availability), “Weather”, “Charging Stations” (e.g. Golf GTE) and “Online Traffic Information”. The “Online Traffic Information” service (current traffic situation information) makes it easier to predict how long each journey in the Golf will take, as it feeds data such as traffic density and traffic jams, clearance of traffic jams and other congestion into the navigation system’s dynamic route guidance virtually in real time, so that it can be taken into account. The messages themselves can be viewed in detail via the “Traffic” menu item, while graphics and colored marks on the map displayed on the screen permanently provide up-to-date information on the traffic situation The “Online Traffic Information” service can thus help you to avoid jams in real time. The larger range of apps for “Discover Media” system also includes Google Street View™, Google Earth™, “POI Voice Search” and “Online Map Update”.

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Driver assistance systems

If there has ever been a model series that has democratized automotive advances, it is the first seven generations of the Golf. Systems such as ABS, ESC and later the whole broad spectrum of assistance systems came to be taken for granted by millions of people the world over thanks to the affordable Golf. It was, for example, one of the first cars in the compact class with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, Lane Assist, Blind Spot Sensor, Rear Traffic Alert, Park Assist, Driver Alert System, reversing camera (Rear View), traffic sign recognition, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and trailer stabilisation. The updated Golf continues this tradition. With the 2017 model year Volkswagen is expanding the range of assistance systems, adding Traffic Jam Assist, the new Pedestrian Monitoring for Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Trailer Assist, which is the first time ever that a trailer manoeuvring system has been available in the compact class, and Emergency Assist. The proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash) has also been refined.

Volkswagen has developed Traffic Jam Assist on the basis of Lane Assist (lane departure warning system) and ACC (automatic distance control) for all Golf models with a DSG gearbox. The system makes traffic jams or stop-and-go driving in the Golf much more comfortable. It also makes driving in jams safer, as the assistant helps the driver to avoid the rear-end collisions so typical of traffic jams. By combining various assistance systems the Golf is, for the first time, capable of partially automated driving.

Lane Assist provides the basis for this system with adaptive lane guidance even at speeds of below 60 km/h. Not only does the system countersteer to make corrections if the car is about to leave the lane, but, with adaptive lane guidance enabled, it also keeps the Golf in the middle of the driving lane or in the driver’s preferred position. ACC is also integrated in Traffic Jam Assist as a second assistance system, because, with ACC, braking and accelerating is automatic even at stop-and-go speeds. ACC and Lane Assist thus merge into Traffic Jam Assist, which means that the system enables assisted lateral and longitudinal guidance. The car steers, accelerates and brakes automatically, within the system’s boundaries, but only under the condition that the driver’s hands are on the steering wheel and participating in steering, so that the driver can intervene at any time.

Another system in which Lane Assist and ACC merge to create a new assistance system is Emergency Assist: as soon as the sensors detect that the driver is not making any steering, braking or acceleration movements any more, the system initiates various escalating actions to alert the driver, and if the driver remains inactive, it initiates an emergency stop. The hazard warning lights are activated automatically and the Golf executes a gentle steering manoeuvre to make surrounding traffic aware of the hazardous situation. ACC prevents the vehicle from colliding with the traffic ahead. Finally, the system brakes the Golf gradually to a standstill to avoid a serious accident, if possible.

Front Assist is a system which warns the driver and brakes automatically in the event of an imminent collision. One component of the Front Assist system is the City Emergency Braking function. The latest version of the Front Assist function is not only capable of detecting other vehicles, but also pedestrians who are crossing the street. As soon as a pedestrian is at risk, the system warns the driver and eventually slows the Golf down autonomously.

Another debut for the compact class is Trailer Assist. This is designed to free the driver of the complicated rethinking needed when reversing with a car and trailer, whereby you have to turn the steering wheel to the left so that the trailer turns to the right – and vice versa. Generally, the goal was also to make reversing over straight and longer distances easier and more exact. Trailer Assist is now capable of doing this almost automatically. To reverse a Golf with a trailer into a parking bay or an entrance from the street, all the driver needs to do is stop at a suitable spot and engage reverse gear. The system is activated by pushing a button. Then the current driving angle and possible driving angles are displayed on the instrument cluster. This is achieved with image-processing algorithms that use data from the rear-view camera, which monitors and analyses the angle between the car and the trailer. With the help of the mirror adjustment switch, which serves as a sort of joystick, the driver can freely adjust the desired driving direction of the car-trailer combination. The Golf executes the steering commands entered by the driver, who only needs to operate the accelerator pedal and the brake. The driving direction of the Golf is automatically controlled by the electromechanical power steering system.

Park Assist makes it possible to park in any parking space that is parallel or perpendicular to the carriageway semi-automatically, and the system can also exit from parallel parking spaces. In the case of perpendicular parking spaces, not only is parking in reverse supported for the first time in a Golf, but it is also possible to park in a forward direction semi-automatically. The first generation of Park Assist assisted the driver by performing automated steering for parallel parking. The second generation of Park Assist added automatic steering for reverse parking into spaces perpendicular to the carriageway, and parallel parking spaces could also be smaller. In addition, automatic exiting from parallel parking spaces was also possible. The third generation of Park Assist, which is now available for the Golf, also makes it possible, as outlined above, to park forwards semi-automatically in parking bays. Due to its high functional versatility, Park Assist 3.0 can optimally assist the driver, especially in difficult traffic situations, because it speeds up the parking process.

The Golf is one of the first cars in its class to feature a proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash). The Golf update includes further refinement of the proactive passenger protection system. It also interacts intelligently with the Front Assist system to react to strong autonomous braking interventions and acute collision hazards in order to provide the best possible support to passengers in critical situations. If the system detects a potential accident situation—for example, through the initiation of hard braking because a brake assistant is activated—the front seatbelts are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the air bag and seatbelt system. When a critical and unstable driving situation is detected—such as severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention—the side windows and sunroof are also closed, except for a small gap. The reason for this is that when the windows and roof are nearly closed, the head and side airbags offer optimal energy absorption and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness.

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTE High Resolution Exterior
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Personalization

The number of convenience and assistance systems increases with each new generation of vehicles. As outlined above, this is also true of the new Golf. Many of these systems are individually adjusted, often by different drivers of the car. This means that drivers constantly have to restore their personal settings. Volkswagen has designed a new generation of personalization that simplifies this process significantly. This involves combining the individual settings for a driver into a user account, which is saved by the vehicle. Drivers can open the user management menu to activate their individual user account, and thus implement their individual settings. Drivers simply identify themselves using their car key, which takes place when the Golf is unlocked. This activates initial settings such as adjusting the seat position on the driver’s side, which can now be saved using the memory function. An overview of personalization options in the Golf, depending on the specific equipment version:

Ambient lighting
ACC Adaptive Cruise Control
Front Assist
Infotainment system (including media library, navigation & telephone)
Automatic air conditioning settings
Instrument cluster/multifunction display
Lane Assist
Light and Sight (“leaving home” and “coming home” functions, rain sensor and automatic dimming rear-view mirror)
Park Assist
Locking/unlocking
Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert
Driver’s seat (seat with memory function)

Powertrains

Volkswagen has enhanced the EA211 TSI engine family and the new turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engines debut in the Golf. The roll-out begins with the 1.5 TSI Evo – a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with Active Cylinder Management (ACT) and efficient common-rail direct-injection technology. The new TSI is particularly refined; it develops its maximum torque of 250 Nm at just 1,500 rpm. NEDC fuel consumption: 4.9 l/100 km* (equating to 110 g/km CO2*). A BlueMotion version of the 1.5 TSI Evo* with 96 kW/130 PS is also in preparation. The NEDC fuel consumption of this version will be 4.6 l/100 km* (104 g/km CO2*). Among the special characteristics of these high-tech engines are a new combustion cycle (derived from the Miller cycle) and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry (VTG). The engine develops its maximum torque of 200 Nm at just 1,400 rpm.

The 1.5 TSI Evo with 130 PS also offers an extended coasting function when the engine is deactivated—completely shutting down the engine when the driver releases the accelerator. Such engine deactivation has only been seen in conjunction with hybrid vehicles up to now, as systems like the electromechanical power steering and the brake servo still need to be supplied with energy even when the Evo motor is switched off. The extended coasting function, which comes as standard, reduces fuel consumption in real-life operation by up to 0.4 l/100 km. Thanks to the coasting function and the other technical innovations, this 1.5 TSI Evo will offer a fuel consumption advantage of up to 1.0 l/100 km, depending on driving style.

Volkswagen has also improved performance of the Golf GTI models with this update. With 169 kW/230 PS (an increase of 7 kW/10 PS), the standard version is now as powerful as the previous Performance version, while the power output of the new Golf GTI Performance has risen to 180 kW/245 PS.

Volkswagen has also developed a new seven-speed DSG dual clutch automatic transmission. The new DSG will gradually replace all of the six-speed DSGs used in the Golf to date, helping to cut CO2.

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