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- Mid September. On the stage of the shrinking, impoverished Frankfurt Motor Show, the premiere of the new Volkswagen passenger car is thundering. The Germans do not skimp on pathos, calling their brainchild as important to history as the original Beetle and Golf. And the name of this messiah is ID.3. He is electric and comes into a world where the earth has not yet caked on the Beetle's grave, and Golf has already been diagnosed with death
Mid September. On the stage of the shrinking, impoverished Frankfurt Motor Show, the premiere of the new Volkswagen passenger car is thundering. The Germans do not skimp on pathos, calling their brainchild as important to history as the original Beetle and Golf. And the name of this messiah is ID.3. He is electric and comes into a world where the earth has not yet caked on the Beetle's grave, and Golf has already been diagnosed with death
They do not dare to pronounce the diagnosis aloud - after all, it is about a world celebrity. But all the symptoms are there and do not imply other interpretations. The eighth generation of the planet's main hatchback is shown to us two weeks after Frankfurt, without loud speeches and thousands of crowds. Quiet studio on the outskirts of Munich, everyday atmosphere - and a clear feeling that the Golf was made in their free time from working on an electric ID-armada. And that the creators are a little embarrassed about it.
Now you will have this feeling too. Imagine, at the presentation not a word was said about the chassis - and there is no one who could say it!
Purely formally, one can find logic in this: the eighth Golf is built on the same MQB platform as the seventh. The wheelbase has changed by only a millimeter (downward) and in general there is really nothing to discuss here. But when did this stop marketers?
“In the new generation, our bestseller has become even more dynamic, retained the branded perfected handling and reached a new level of comfort” … A standard mantra that can be applied to any model of any brand with minimal changes. But they don't even read it here - and I only learn about the appearance of adaptive shock absorbers with multi-stage adjustment, like the Passat, thanks to the multimedia system.
Neither we nor you need to know anything about "hardware", do you understand? But about multimedia - it is necessary. And the longer I listen to the presentation, the more clearly I understand that Volkswagen shouldn’t have invited automotive journalists to it. Because the focus is on a cool gadget in a rudimentary metal case on four wheels.
From now on, the Golf, even in the basic version, is equipped with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, and in almost all trim levels a 10-inch central display will be adjacent to it. The system is called the Innovision Cockpit and is conceived as a visually seamless space, but in practice it is a large piece of glossy plastic that should keep the screens together, but looks … like a large piece of glossy plastic. And in the Mercedes system MBUX, and in the new Tuareg, a similar idea is implemented much more elegantly.
However, the multimedia itself is good. It resembles a tablet lying on its side, and it works like a tablet. On the left is a convenient Home button, and to the right is several desktops, customizable widgets, great graphics, cool performance, and in general everything that you expect from a good modern smartphone. The Eighth Golf is always connected to the Internet, can update "over the air" and store all your settings in a virtual cloud.
What for? To easily and unobtrusively transform you from owner to user. Factory car sharing is already here.
You open the car from your phone (you don't need a key at all), log in - and in a couple of seconds the "nobody's" Golf becomes yours, personalized. Desktops, instrument designs are loaded, backlights with an infinite number of color combinations are loaded, the seat and mirrors are adjusted, Alex's voice assistant from Amazon remembers that you already know her - and that's it, you can go. Conveniently? Probably. But the inevitability of such a future is a little scary.
Is my retrograde grumbling jarring? Well, try to take advantage of other interior innovations of the eighth Golf on occasion. For example, an inconvenient touch-sensitive light control panel or a non-fixed transmission selector, which in shape and size resembles a school eraser with a solid "mileage". On the other hand, the first electric Porsche is equipped with much the same …
Of course, the volume and temperature controls are now also sensory, albeit with a relatively sensible implementation: it is convenient to rest your finger on the strips under the multimedia, and they react not only to single touches, but also to "swipe". Does this save you from having to crawl into the multimedia every time you need to turn on the seat heating or adjust the speed and direction of the airflow? Not at all. And you are right - such problems are found in every second new car, but I focus on them precisely because the sensory infection even reached the Golf. The car that has set the standard for ergonomics for the past 45 years.
No, technology isn't always a bad thing. For example, the large and beautiful head-up display is definitely pleasing to the eye. It's great that the top-end versions have matrix LED headlights - adaptive and smart, almost like the older ones. And, by the way, in the base the optics will now also be diode, albeit based on conventional reflectors.
It's nice that even the simplest versions will be equipped with automatic braking and lane tracking systems - although this is not so much out of great concern for our health, but for the sake of five EuroNCAP stars, which otherwise cannot be obtained. The autopilot has become smarter and more independent, and in addition, the Golf is equipped with the Car2X module, with which cars can communicate with each other and with the road infrastructure. Traffic light signals, the approach of special vehicles, certain problems on the road - all this forms the general broadcast, and the more broadcasters there are, the lower the risk of sudden incidents. Forewarned is forearmed. And it is foolish to deny that this is good and important.
But what about the car itself? But nothing. It is the same as before.
Where the dash ends, an indeterminate generation Volkswagen Golf begins. Fit, materials, tactile sensations, even smells are all indistinguishable from the previous car, and this is by no means a complaint. Golf remained a solid hatchback with not the most huge, but comfortable trunk and reasonably sufficient second row. Here, by the way, there is a separate climate control zone - nice.
Something else had to be told … Oh yes, motors! At the presentation, they talked a lot about motors and enthusiastically, but also in a modern way: detailed ecological calculations and not a word about dynamics. Gasoline units are from the EA211 Evo family, and if the 1.5-liter versions for 130 and 150 horsepower are familiar to us from the previous Golf, then the three-cylinder modifications with a volume of exactly a liter, developing 90 or 110 forces, are new. Each of these motors, except for the youngest one, can work as part of a "soft hybrid" system with a 48-volt on-board network. Result? Reducing harmful emissions by 10 percent, of course.
Diesels - from the familiar EA288 line, but seriously modified. The boost options are 115 and 150 horsepower, and they are removed from the same volume of two liters, although earlier 115 horsepower was also achieved on the 1.6-liter version. The combustion process has been optimized, AdBlue urea is now injected into two successive SCR catalysts at once, and all this allows the Germans to report on a reduction in harmful emissions by 17 percent. Two plug-in hybrids are announced at once - in addition to the already familiar "heated" version of the GTE with 245 horsepower, there is also a quieter 204-horsepower one. In both cases, the 1.4 TSI engine is blown off for the gasoline component, and the electric one is powered by a battery increased by one and a half times (up to 13 kilowatt-hours).
Have you read it? Forget it. It doesn't matter to us.
And not because the Golf will not reach the Russian market - it will arrive in about a year. But the engines will remain the same: the ancient aspirated 1.6 and the ubiquitous 1.4 TSI - that's our whole future choice. In addition, they do not promise full support for cloud services and other Internet things on the territory of Russia. And this means that for us the upcoming eighth Golf is the same seventh, only with new multimedia, touch-sensitive interior and a gloomy face. Not much.
You will say that Golf has never seriously changed at all, and that each generation change has been a gentle and neat evolution.You can even remember that the sixth generation was also built on an old platform, and no one died then - maybe, and now I was in vain to exaggerate?
May be. But the Volkswagen concern plans to sell a million electric vehicles a year already from 2020, and if reality coincides with these expectations, then who will need the next Golf in seven years? The maximum is one more deep restyling on the same platform. Yes, there is hope that all this ecologically-electric hysteria will suddenly magically end, but, frankly, there is little faith in this. The new hero is the Volkswagen ID.3, while the Golf has transformed from an industry-defining car into a relic of the past.
The only thing that pleases: charged versions of the GTI and R will definitely remain in the eighth generation. And at least at their presentations it will be possible to start an old-fashioned conversation about chassis, dynamics and handling.