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by Jez Spinks

The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf has been revealed at a media event in Berlin, Germany, ahead of its public debut at the 2012 Paris motor show later this month.

Volkswagen’s latest small car is the first genuine all-new model since the Mark V of 2004 and brings sharper styling, a roomier, higher-quality cabin, new safety technology and a range of more efficient engines.

While there’s a more chiselled to look to the new VW Golf’s design, the overall shape is again evolutionary – including the retention of classic Golf cues such as the wide C-pillar.

The Volkswagen Golf grows once again, this time stretching another 56mm for an overall length of 4255mm, accompanied by a 13mm increase in width and a 28mm-lower roofline that contributes to a more slippery shape. The front wheels move 43mm further forward as part of a wheelbase increase of 59mm.

Bigger external dimensions bring additional space inside. The front seats move backwards 20mm for more legroom up front while Volkswagen says rear passenger legroom increases by 15mm. There’s also more shoulder space front and rear.

The boot expands by 30 litres to 380L, and a new optional fold-flat front passenger seat can create a load length of 2.14 metres.

Visually, there are significant changes to the interior. The centre stack is now angled towards the driver and features a touchscreen display as standard – ranging in size from 5.8 inches to an 8.0-inch satellite navigation version with smartphone-inspired ergonomics.

An electronic parking brake replaces the hand-release lever of the outgoing Golf.

A new range of technologies will also be available on the Mark 7 VW Golf that goes on sale in Europe in November before reaching Australia in early 2013.

PreCrash will tighten seat belts and close windows if the system detects an imminent crash, an adaptive cruise control system includes a so-called Front Assist feature that can control the speed of the Golf in relation to other vehicles from 150 to 0km/h, a low-speed crash avoidance system helps to prevent rear-enders, while there’s also lane departure and driver inattention warning systems, plus the latest version of Park Assist that provides semi-autonomous parallel parking.

Steering is via a new variable ratio rack, and a new Driver Profile system enables the driver to choose various throttle and transmission configurations that include Eco, Sport, Normal, Individual and – with DSG dual-clutch gearboxes – Comfort modes.

The new Volkswagen Golf sits on the VW Group’s new ‘MQB’ modular platform that will underpin a vast number of models including the Audi A3 and numerous other VWs as well as Seats and Skodas.

The Golf 7’s body is stronger and lighter, with a 23kg weight saving contributing to a reduction in the Volkswagen small car’s overall mass of up to 100kg.

That aids fuel consumption and emissions throughout the new VW Golf range.

A 1.6-litre turbo diesel uses just 3.8 litres per 100km, with a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo taking advantage of a cylinder deactivation system that at times turns it into a two-cylinder to use just 4.8L/100km.

Initial launch engines will also include a 1.2-litre turbo and a 2.0-litre turbo diesel.

Click on the Photos tab above to see a full gallery of the German brand’s crucial all-new small car.


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