The classic gets a facelift packed with tech

Volkswagen first introduced the Golf way back in 1974. In the forty-two years that followed, the German manufacturer ushered in no less than seven individual generations, establishing the Golf as one of the most versatile compacts on the market. The Golf has been offered in a wide variety of body style, including wagons, two-door convertibles, five-door hatchbacks, and three-door hatchbacks, but the best of the bunch has traditionally been the hot-to-trot Golf GTI. Although the R eventually replaced the GTI as the fastest, most powerful Golf variant in the lineup, the GTI is still a nice blend of practicality and speed, offered in a upscale, premium-feeling package, both inside and out. Now, VW is introducing a mid-life refresh for the GTI’s 2017 model year, and with it comes tweaked styling and a few more ponies. However, the biggest upgrade is undoubtedly in the technology department, where infotainment and driver assistance features get a major boost across the board.

While not quite as liquid hot as the Honda Civic Type R or Ford Focus RS, it should still be remembered that the Golf GTI more or less established the whole hot hatch formula we know and love today. And while a new R variant is expected to take the fight to the H badge and the Blue Oval, the GTI marches on as a more sensible, yet still highly entertaining alternative.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise Volkswagen spent so much time refining the car’s technology. Read on to get the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Exterior

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Exterior
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Like the rest of the Golf lineup, the new GTI gets a restyled exterior. Volkswagen added new bumpers and new front fenders, plus new intakes in the lower bumper for a little added visual width. The wheel designs were also refreshed, as were the exterior paint options. In front is a red stripe across the nose that connects the headlights and denotes the model as a GTI variant.

If you want something aggressive but not too boy racer-ish, the Golf GTI should fit the bill. The new updates give the hatch a wider, sporty look, without going overboard.

The taillights were also tweaked, with the lighting elements upgraded to modern tech. The taillights are now LEDs across the entire Golf range, while the headlights were redesigned with LED daytime running lights augmenting the stock halogen elements. The upgraded Xenon units were also replaced with optional LEDs. The GTI is finished with a uniquely larger lower rear section and chrome-plated exhaust pipes.

Additionally, models equipped with radar-based assistance systems (Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist, etc.) see the radar sensor moved behind the VW logo in the nose, hiding it away compared to its original position in the lower intake.

Competition

Compared to its rivals, the Golf GTI is still a bit understated. This has been the case for many VW products, with the car’s inherent sportiness hinted at, rather than shouted about. And to some people, that’s about right. If overt performance cues are more your thing, look higher in the segment, especially with the Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R. But if you want something aggressive but not too boy racer-ish, the Golf GTI should fit the bill. The new updates give the hatch a wider, sporty look, without going overboard.

2015 Ford Focus ST High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop Exterior
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The Mini JCW Hardtop is here with a redesigned body, roomier cabin and a ton more power. Check it out at TopSpeed.com.
2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Exterior
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Interior

Volkswagen is adamant that the new Golf is jam packed with upgraded technology. The new design includes larger touchscreens, new features, and something the automaker calls an “increasingly digital display and control concept.”

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Interior
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Probably one of the more interesting upgrades is the integration of gesture control, a first for a production VW model.

Probably one of the more interesting upgrades is the integration of gesture control, a first for a production VW model. Drivers and passengers can operate various infotainment systems using mid-air swipe, flip, and scroll hand motion, eliminating the use of hard buttons and knobs. A “light flare” indicates which functions are controllable with gestures, and a successful swipe motion is accompanied with a sound effect.

VW is also adding something it calls an Active Info Display, a feature it undoubtedly pulled from Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

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2017 - 2018 Audi Q7
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Like the Audi system, Volkswagen’s Active Info Display integrates a 12.3-inch color display into the gauge cluster. Resolution is set at 1,440 x 540 pixels, and offers five individual “information profiles,” each of which is capable of displaying specific information and graphics. These profiles include: Classic, Consumption & Range, Efficiency, Performance & Driver Assistance, and Navigation (Navigation includes both 2D and 3D navigation info). The Active Info Display can also show telephone contact images and album art, and offers customizable graphics. For the GTI, red is used as a contrasting color.

It should be noted that the Active Info Display is an available extra, replacing the analog instrumentation if opted into.

The rest of the infotainment systems are replaced with VW’s next-gen MIB system, which includes larger touchscreens, as previously mentioned. Included is a 6.5-inch “Composition Touch” and “Composition Colour” system, replacing the old 5.0-inch display. These systems originally carried resolutions of 400 x 240 pixels, but now get a 800 by 480 pixel touchscreen. The black and white “Composition Touch” is no longer available.

Moving up, the “Composition Media” and “Discover Media” systems (including navigation) now have 8.0-inch screens, replacing the old 6.5-inch units. Resolution remains the same resolution 800 x 480 pixels.

At the top of the range is the “Discover Pro” system, which includes gesture control, and an uprated 9.2-inch screen. Resolution is increased to 1,280 x 640 pixels, and the screen gets a new glass surface for a more premium look. VW says the “Discover Pro” system integrates all of its haptic controls with the touchscreen, plus it uses capacitive panels on the left-hand side.

Users can configure the Discover Pro system with their own controls and a customized home screen. The system also incorporates an amplifier with 4 x 20 watt output, a DVD drive, two USB ports, two SD card slots, an auxiliary input jack, 10-GB SSD, music playback, movie player, jukebox, podcast player, proximity sensor, voice control, and navigation.

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The Active Info Display is an available extra, replacing the analog instrumentation if opted into.

The various upgraded infotainment systems are expected to see use elsewhere in the VW stable next year.

Further features include pairing with an external antenna for better reception, as well as Qi inductive charging. You can also use the Wi-Fi hotspot to turn your mobile device or tablet into a media control panel, offering authentic rear seat entertainment control options.

There are also individualized settings identified using the key fob that can automatically adjust the seating position, ambient lighting, drivers assist systems, infotainment settings, climate control, display settings, and more.

Options include a rear view camera, DAB+, two extra USB ports, and two mobile phone interfaces.

The 2017 model year also brings new trims and fabrics, seen in the doors, dash panel, center console, and seat covers.

And since this is the GTI, red is the color choice du jour.

Competition

Like the exterior, the GTI’s interior gets the job done with simplicity and a sense of premium application. Compared to its rivals, the VW isn’t as wild, but the materials, fit and finish should all feel much better than the Ford Focus ST. And while it’s not quite as funky as the Mini, it’s still a nice place to rest your backside.

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2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop Interior
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2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Interior
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Drivetrain

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Lower trim levels of the Golf get a new 1.5-liter engine for motivation, but the 2017 GTI continues on with the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder as before. However, with the new model year, VW saw fit to bless the GTI with a bit more power than before, boosting the turbocharged four-banger to 227 horsepower, a 10-horsepower gain over the previous model. Equip the Performance package, and peak power rises to 242 horsepower.

Routing the output to the front axle is a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is set to replace the old six-speed dual-clutch unit currently in use, helping VW cut down on emissions. The GTI’s six-speed manual transmission is presumed to be a carryover.

All said and done, the new Golf should manage to hit 60 mph in the high-to-mid-five-second range, with top speed pegged at around 130 mph.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Ford Focus ST Mini Cooper JCW
Engine 2.0-liter four-cylinder 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine 2.0-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower 227 HP (242 HP with Performance Package) 252 HP 228 HP
Transmission seven-speed dual-clutch six-speed manual six-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 5.5 seconds 5.9 seconds 6.1 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 154 mph 153 mph

Safety And Convenience


Along with the new interior technology, the GTI gets all kinds of new semi-autonomous assistance systems, including City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring function, which can identify crossing pedestrians and will automatically apply the brakes if a potential collision is detected, and Traffic Jam Assist, which applies the brakes and throttle for automatic driving up to 60 km/h, or 37 mph.

For 2017, VW is offering the Security and Service package for the first time on the Golf, which includes “Automatic Accident Notification,” “Breakdown Call,” and “Service Scheduling.” You can also keep tabs on the status of your doors and lights, and pinpoint your parking position if you misplace your car.

There’s also Area Alert, which will notify you when the Golf is taken outside or into a specifically designated area, plus Speed Alert, which will send a notification when the car is driven over a certain speed. Finally, there’s Anti-Theft Alarm, which will notify you when someone tries to break into your car.

These systems join the rest of the Golf’s tech package, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, Lane Assist, Blind Spot Sensor, Rear Traffic Alert, Park Assist, Driver Alert System, reversing camera, traffic sign recognition, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, and trailer stabilization. More information on these systems can be found in the press release below.

If all those various systems can’t prevent a collision, the Golf GTI is still considered quite safe. The NHTSA has awarded the 2017 model with a five-star rating overall, with four stars for frontal crashes, five stars for side impacts, and four stars for rollovers. Meanwhile, the IIHS awarded the 2016 Golf GTI four-door with its Top Safety Pick+ award, rating it with a top “Good” score in every category.

Prices

The 2017 Golf GTI starts at $24,995, with upgraded infotainment, safety systems, and the Performance Package all adding to the bottom line.

Competition

Ford Focus ST

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Like the GTI, the Focus ST represents Ford’s penultimate stop in the hot hatch lineup, slotting in below the over-the-top, 350-horsepower AWD Focus RS. The ST looks good though, offering nice styling, nippy handling, and a decent amount of punch for the money. If you value horsepower over interior amenities, this is the one to look at.

Read the full review here.

Mini Cooper Hardtop S/JCW

2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop Exterior
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The Mini JCW Hardtop is here with a redesigned body, roomier cabin and a ton more power. Check it out at TopSpeed.com.

The Mini Hardtop is the closest to the original formula, with fun handling and a ton of style. In fact, this Mini will turn heads no matter where you go, unlike the blend-in-the-crowd VW. If you wanna stand out, look into picking up the Mini.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

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The Golf is VW’s most successful model ever produced, with over 33 million units sold since it first went on sale in the ‘70s. The GTI is arguably the most important model in the nameplate’s history, at least amongst gearheads, as it set the standard by which all future hot hatchbacks have been judged.

But now, with hatchback performance extending into sports car (and even supercar) territory, the GTI feels a little bit lost in the wake. But while it’s no longer the performance standard, it still gets that time-tested blend of practicality and fun it’s been known for. As for the technology, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

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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.

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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.

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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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