The facelifted seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf has just been unveiled. Given that it doesn’t look that different to the car that’s currently in showrooms across the world, we’ll take a dive into the differences between the pre- and post-facelift models.
Visually, the Mark 7.5 facelift is a delight for trainspotters. There are new alloy wheels, revised bumper designs that make the Golf look a little more like the Passat, and new lighting units at the front and rear.
If you love LEDs, you’ll be pleased to know that the facelifted Golf will feature all-LED tail-lights as standard throughout the range. In Europe, top-end models will also sport indicator units that have an animated flashing pattern.
There’s also a new lighting signature for the headlamps with L-shaped LED driving lights. Better equipped variants will have all-LED headlamp units instead of the outgoing model’s xenon lights.
Entry-levels version of the Golf are now powered by a larger 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 110kW of power, and which features cylinder deactivation as standard. Dubbed 1.5 TSI Evo, this motor replaces today’s 1.4-litre, which is available in 92kW and 110kW trims.
According to a report last month, Volkswagen may have decided to upsize the base engine in preparation for real-world emissions tests, which will come into force over the next few years.
For Europe, Volkswagen will also offer a Miller-cycle Bluemotion version of the 1.5-litre engine that’s been detuned to deliver 96kW. The Bluemotion engine will also include a coasting function that shuts the engine down even when the car is moving.
Volkswagen also says that it will “gradually replace” its six-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission, used with various engines, with a more modern seven-speed unit, although it has yet to give details about timing, and which models will benefit first.
For those in the market for a hot hatch, the Golf GTI has upped its game somewhat. While the engine still displaces 2.0 litres, has four cylinders, and is aided by a turbocharger, the bog-standard Mark 7.5 GTI now adopts the 169kW state of tune that was once reserved for the slightly more GTI Performance model.
In turn, the revised GTI Performance variant now utilises a 180kW version of the 2.0-litre turbo motor.
The company has also promised that the yet-to-be-unveiled updated version of the e-Golf will have its range improved by 50 per cent to around 300 kilometres.
DSG-equipped variants of the updated Golf will be available with Traffic Jam Assist. Using the existing lane keep assistance and active cruise control features, Traffic Jam Assist can steer, brake, and accelerate the Golf at speeds up to 60km/h.
The Golf’s front radar has now been moved to a hidden position behind the Volkswagen badge, and the Front Assist system is now able to detect and warn about pedestrians.
Upgrades are also available for the Golf’s parking assistance systems, with the highlight being the new Trailer Assist system that allows drivers to park their car and their trailer via a small joystick located on the door trim.
Infotainment and user features
While Volkswagen has resisted, or refused to, make big changes to the Golf’s looks, it has given its tech list a significant overhaul.
Base models of the Golf, in Europe at least, will come with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, while high grade models will be fitted with the Discover Pro system that has a 9.2-inch high resolution display.
This top-end unit has a glass capacitive screen, similar to the one on your smartphone or tablet, and new gesture control functionality.
Previewed at CES this year, the system allows drivers and passengers to swipe without physically touching the screen. As before, the new system will detect an approaching hand and enlarge on-screen buttons at the expense of other items.
The Discover Pro system also ditches traditional buttons in favour of new capacitive versions, which are arrayed, at least on left-hand drive models, along the left-hand edge of the screen.
For those that remain to be convinced by in-car capacitive buttons, production Golf models don’t go as far as last year’s Golf R Touch concept, and retain physical buttons on the steering wheel and elsewhere.
High-end Golfs are also fitted with a 12.3-inch high resolution digital instrumentation screen, known in Volkswagen parlance as the Active Info Display. Like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, the Golf’s digital instrument setup is configurable, and can show infotainment info, car data, and navigation instructions.
There’s also an inductive, or cable-free, charging station available, as well as smartphone mirroring, via either the Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink standards.
European models can be specified with access to the Car-Net network, which features online guides, Google Earth and Street View views, and the ability to automatically inform a call centre in the event of an accident.