Already on sale in Europe, the seventh generation of VW's popular Golf contingent made it first U.S. appearance in North America. While the Golf, the Golf TDI and the new GTI won't go on sale here until next year as 2015 models, VW did offer some additional facts about the cars we'll be getting.
Built on VW's new modular MQB architecture, the Gen VII Golf is slightly longer, lower and wider than the Gen VI car and has a longer hood and a rearward-shifted passenger compartment - revised proportions VW says give the car greater presence and a more confident character. The redo also endows the smartly recast interior with more space for both front and rear passengers as well as a larger trunk. However, thanks to more extensive use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, this larger Golf is actually lighter than the model it replaces.
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One of the key changes on tap for these new 2015 Volkswagens will be found underhood, where new turbocharged/direct-injected gasoline and diesel 4-cylinder engines will provide superior performance and better economy. All of these sophisticated motivators are destined to appear in other future VW models. The base Golf will come with a 1.8-liter version of VW's new EA888 engine family that replaces the existing 2.5-liter 5-cylinder. While it will make the same 170 horsepower, it produces 184 lb-ft of torque -- a plus-7 gain in the twist department -- and brings it on even lower in the rev range to improve responsiveness whether matched with a manual or automatic transmission.
The 2015 Golf TDI will arrive fitted with VW's all-new ES288 turbodiesel engine, a lighter, even cleaner and more efficient upgrade that makes 150 horsepower - 10 more than the current 2.0-liter TDI engine while still delivering 236 lb-ft of torque. Like the current Golf TDI, the 2015 model will be available with a standard 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Topping the range until a next-gen Golf R model materializes for this market, the 2015 GTI gets its own 2.0-liter version of the new EA888. While VW has yet to finalize output, it's expected to make 210 horses -- up 10 from the current GTI -- and crank out 258 lb-ft of twist which will head to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed DSG dual-clutch autoshifter. With luck, the European Performance Pack upgrade that adds another 10 ponies to the corral also will make it to America at some point.
Other key Gen VII Golf data points include the fact that all versions will come with a stability-enhancing XDS electronic locking differential that was developed for the current GTI, progressive rate steering and an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System that automatically applies the brakes following a severe impact to help reduce residual kinetic energy. Production will take place at VW's new manufacturing facility near Puebla, Mexico.
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