Sue Cooke tests out the new VW Golf 8
Imagine driving along minding your own business and then your VW car tells you that you are about to have an accident. Your car then tells other cars behind and around that an accident is about to happen. The driver is warned and can react in good time. Futuristic? No, it is here now. The new Golf is the first car in Europe to feature Car2X technology. German automotive association ADAC declared this as a ‘technical milestone’. Within a radius of up to 800 metres, connected vehicles can exchange information and warn of danger or make contact with the traffic infrastructure within a matter of milliseconds.
The technology can also communicate with nearby traffic lights. Following the launch of the Car2X in the new eighth generation compact car, the technology will be available in future VW models.
The latest Golf is the most intelligent and connected yet. Tell the car that your hands are cold and the heated steering wheel will automatically activate. It takes a little getting used to the sliders and touch panels for all key functions. Many of the interior buttons and switchgear have been removed, giving a clean profile to the digital ‘innovision’ cockpit, which is fitted as standard. While getting used to the controls, I found good use of the optional natural voice recognition system.
I like the head up display which is optional on the Golf Life trim. The speed I am achieving, and the speed of the road are projected onto the windscreen which keeps my eyes on the road. All cars should have a head up display. Driving in the dark, there are subtle strips of blue light along the inner doors and this feature offers 32 colour options. 22 separate LED lights perform a dynamic indicator sweep function and dynamic curve lighting, which is great if you want to show off!
You can even set up your mobile phone so it acts as the vehicle key. Just remember to remove the details when you sell on your phone!
The Golf has been around for a while, just 45 years with more than 35 million examples built but number 8 is completely new and keeps the distinctive C pillar design to show its lineage. My road test car arrived in a gorgeous lime yellow metallic which costs an extra £625. I realise I must have sounded quite a braggart, when people said what a beautiful colour and I said yes it is isn’t it!
There is a wide choice of drivetrains, four petrol, two diesels, three mild hybrids and a powerful GTE plug in hybrid. The most popular is predicted to be the 1.5 litre petrol with 130PS, a manual gearbox and ‘Life’ trim. Other trims include Style and R-Line. I road tested the same but with 150PS.
What I always like about Volkswagen cars is the positive steering. Accelerate and corner and the tyres will stick to the road like glue.
The majority of sales of the new Golf are predicted to be to the fleet sector (65%) and maybe company car drivers who clock up high mileage will use the fantastic technology the most, but everyone will appreciate the new safety systems. The Golf GTi, GTE and GTD are expected to go on sale in the UK later this year. Information on the Golf R and Golf Estate will be revealed in the coming months.
Facts at a Glance
Model: VW Golf 8
Price: £23,635 RRP
Engine: 1.5 litre turbocharged petrol and 6 speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 139mph
CO2 emissions: 125g/km
Combined fuel consumption: 51.4mpg (WLTP)