A mid-cycle update to the 2018 Volkswagen Golf was announced in Europe showing visual and mechanical enhancements that will largely parallel those coming to America next year. However, some of the elements are being pulled forward onto the upcoming iteration of the longer-range VW eGolf slated to make its global debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show before hitting showrooms here as a 2017 model.

Exterior changes to the revamped Golf are subtle but smart, focusing primarily around redrawn fascias. Up front, the more sculpted soft cap houses a new grille, headlamps and integrated running lamps – which will be either standard or optional LED units, depending on trim grade. All versions also get new LED taillamps which feature animated “flowing” directional indicator elements on the upper-line models while the new GTI boasts larger exhaust outlets. 

New Active Info Display

The most notable improvements to the Golf appear inside of its tastefully retrimmed passenger compartment. All models boast revised instrumentation which includes a new “Active Info Display” with 12.3-inch high-definition screen. Similar to the Virtual Cockpit setup offered by Audi, it can be reconfigured at the touch of a button on the multifunction steering wheel. The Golf also boasts enhanced infotainment systems with and without navigation that offer better visual resolution and larger touchscreens. Highlighting the list is the “Discover Pro” package based on a system first presented on the Golf R Touch Concept. Here, it includes a 9.2-inch center display that complements voice activation with both gesture control and proximity response that allow the driver to perform several different functions with a hand wave.

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Beyond a host of features including a DVD drive, dual USB ports, twin SD card slots, Wi-Fi hotspot and a 10GB SSD drive on models fitted with the Discover Pro setup, the new Golf gains an optional smartphone stow spot that provides for Qi standard wireless charging. Also available is an enhanced suite of VW Car-Net app options that for the first time adds a Security & Service package that will do everything from delivering Breakdown Call notifications to the nearest VW service center to getting notified of a potential vehicle break-in via the Online Anti-Theft Alarm.

More safety and driver-assists

The Golf will arrive with new tech touches to complement things like Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Blind-spot Sensing and Lane Assist. These latest systems include Traffic Jam Assist, Pedestrian Monitoring for the Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Emergency Assist and Trailer Assist, which marks the first time this kind of trailer-maneuvering aid has been fitted to a compact vehicle.

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Although European versions of the newest Golf will be available with a selection of gasoline and turbodiesel engines including a new 1.5-liter turbocharged TSI Evo with Active Cylinder Management that makes 148 horsepower, the U.S. lineup of Golf, Golf GTI, Golf SportWagen, Golf Alltrack and the hot, AWD Golf R is expected to carry on with the some form of the existing 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter TSI force-fed 4-cylinder engines. The new Euro Golf family also will see the current 6-speed DSG automatic replaced by a new 7-speed unit in the interests of improving fuel economy, an upgrade that will be coming here as well. We expect to hear more details about these in the months ahead.

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