Base 92TSI engine axed, new 1.5 unit not coming, price increases likely

The updated Volkswagen Golf ‘7.5’ will launch in Australia on July 3, about five months after its European market premiere, and like the new Tiguan before it, will be pushed slightly upmarket.

We don't know all the specifics, but German brand’s Australian division says it will axe the current base 92TSI engine option, and instead kick off the range with the 110TSI turbo-petrol powertrain, alongside the familiar 110TDI diesel and high-performance GTI and R derivatives.

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Despite selling the new Golf as a semi-premium offering — ‘democratising technology’, the company calls it — the company won’t sell the new, flagship ultra low-emission 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine here, citing cost barriers and our more lax emissions requirements. Disappointing.

The Golf '7.5' updates are headlined by a new Discover Pro infotainment system with gesture control on at least some versions, likely as an option in Australia, a redesigned seven-speed wet-clutch DSG to cut fuel use, and redesigned bumpers/grilles/LED tail lights. Expect extra equipment across the board, alongside small price increases.

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Volkswagen Australia has not yet finalised the pricing and specifications for this mid-life Golf update, but we understand the range will open with a 110TSI base car with six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG options, priced around $24,000 plus on-road costs. The current base 92TSI kicks off at $22,840.

This follows a similar strategy by Ford with the Focus, which axed its base version and opened the pricing at $23,390 for the Trend turbo. It’s unclear if this new base 110TSI Golf will be called Trendline, or just ‘Golf’, but the new base model will potentially replace both versions.

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Volkswagen has confirmed standard equipment at this level — beyond the 110kW/250Nm 1.4 turbo engine, with fuel use of 5.2L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 8.2sec — will include 16-inch alloy wheels, a 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and autonomous braking (AEB).

The 110TI Comfortline specification will replace the existing ($28,340) 92TSI Comfortline, and will likely be a DSG-only offering. Extras should include bigger alloy wheels, nicer cabin trims, and different seats, though specifics aren’t clear yet. Expect a price increase of a few hundred bucks over the outgoing version.

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Pictured: A 2017 Golf Highline with the optional Discover Pro infotainment and Active Info Display instruments 

The range-toppers of the non-performance versions will be the 110TSI Highline and 110TDI Highline, the latter being the sole diesel offering with its familiar 110kW/340Nm unit (fuel use of 4.2L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 8.6sec).

Both versions will also be DSG-only, and will likely get extras such as LED headlights and integrated sat-nav, alongside similar price hikes to the Comfortline. The current Highline versions cost $33,340 for the 110TSI petrol and $35,840 for the 110TDI).

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Expect several extra-cost options packages to be offered on at least upper grades, including a technology kit with the upgraded 9.2-inch Discover Pro touchscreen with BMW 5 Series-like gesture control, and the full digital 12.3-inch Active Info Display (like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit).

Expect also an extended driver assistance pack with blind-spot monitoring, lane assist, traffic-jam assist and full adaptive cruise control.

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At the same time as the launch of the Golf 7.5 hatch range, the revised Golf wagon line-up will arrive. The practical variant has been a success story for the brand, comprising as many as 30 per cent of non-GTI and non-R sales at times.

As with the current Mk7 Golf wagon, expect the revised range to sport the 110TSI and 110TDI engines and DSG gearboxes across base, Comfortline and Highline specs, priced similarly to current versions — a shade under $30,000 at base level, to about $38,000 for the top-spec diesel.

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The 132TSI Golf Alltrack 4Motion will arrive at the same time as the rest of the wagon range, sporting jacked-up suspension, off-road modes and tough-look body cladding.

About a month after the launch of the regular Golf, Golf wagon and Golf Alltrack range — August 1 — the Golf GTI and Golf R hatches will arrive, with upgraded 169kW and 213kW engines respectively.

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The 180kW GTI Performance with the familiar front diff will likely come a little later as a special edition model, a la the Golf 40 Years.

Expect our review/s of the new-generation Golf 7.5 family in a few days time, with more specific information.