It’s been years of speculation, guessing games, disguised prototypes and drip feeds from Volkswagen’s higher-ups, but finally one of the industry’s most important new cars, the all-new Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, will be revealed in just a few weeks’ time. Aside from being one of Volkswagen’s biggest sellers, it’s also a massive profit generator – an increasingly crucial component of the Volkswagen machine post its dieselgate EV investment.
As these new sketches reveal, Volkswagen has completely redesigned the eighth-generation model, with a new body, interior, (some) engines and electronics. There will be a new emphasis on hybridisation, a reduction in weight, and a clearer mantra as Volkswagen’s mass-market internal combustion model designed to sit alongside a new wave of electric Volkswagen models. The current Golf has been available in plug-in GTE form for most of its life cycle, but Volkswagen will diversify plug-in models in this new generation while steering clear of an e-Golf replacement to give some breathing space to the new all-electric ID.3.
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Performance-oriented Golfs are also on the cards, with the next-gen GTI model already spied lapping the Nürburgring with its tell-tale honeycomb grille mesh, dual exhaust outlets and flicked roof spoiler peeking out from the camouflage. A new Golf R is also on the way, and although this model is unlikely to dramatically change on paper, there is a suggestion than an even hotter R model with an Audi RS3-rivalling 400bhp could also be on the cards.
Chassis and powertrains
Underneath the skin the new Golf will keep its underlying MQB platform, the modular chassis that has gone on to underpin not only a majority of the Volkswagen range, but nearly all transversely engined Volkswagen group products from across the portfolio. As a result, the Mk8 Golf is unlikely to deviate far from the current model’s combination of MacPherson strut front suspension, and either a torsion bar or multi-link rear suspension systems depending on the powertrain.
Expect a wider adoption of Volkswagen’s three-cylinder petrol engines at the entry-point of the range, connected to either six-speed manual or dual-clutch transmissions. Volkswagen’s 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol will also likely feature, as well as a few diesel options to keep company car buyers appeased. There will also be a wider application of plug-in hybrid powertrains beyond just a new GTE model, although details remain vague aside from the standard-bodied Golf prototype pictured with a wing-mounted charge point.
The next GTI will hold on to its 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, with a small jump in power expected from the current model’s 242bhp, but without creeping too close to the new Golf R. Mild-hybrid systems will also find their way across the range, including a possible application in the GTI and Golf R, although we suspect exotic electric compressors and torque-filling electric motors won’t be on the cards, at least initially.
The next Volkswagen Golf’s interior has since surfaced, showing an all-new layout and greater emphasis on digitisation. Differing from the evolutionary path of the exterior design, the interior will feature an all-new layout, dominated by big glossy displays mounted high on the dash top. The look has been designed to create a single interface panel that weaves in and out of a traditional cowelling, with slim horizontal ventilation outlets below. Switchgear looks to be reduced to an absolute minimum, with heating and ventilation controls condensed into a slim panel below the main touchscreen.
We’ve already seen a similar arrangement on SEAT’s near-production el-Born electric car concept, which indicates it’ll likely spread across many of the Volkswagen Group brands. Between the seats sits a new push-button-style gear selector, freeing up the console for extended storage.
Audi, SEAT and Skoda’s next generation of mid-sized hatchbacks (A3, Leon and Octavia respectively) will also benefit from the Golf’s development, with engine, gearboxes, connectivity and autonomous technology filtering through the group.
We’ll see the first production Mk8 Golfs when it’s launched at a standalone event in October, with deliveries expected early next year. The GTI and R models are expected to appear towards the end of 2019 or early 2020, when they’ll have to deal with the next Ford Focus ST, not to mention in-house options such as the Skoda Octavia vRS and next Cupra Leon.