While the design of the new Golf strongly builds on its predecessor, the adoption of the Modular Transverse Matrix platform required that most of the components and sub-systems, from the body to the powertrain, had to be re-designed and re-engineered.
Thanks to a holistic approach and constant optimizations and refinements, Volkswagen achieved a total weight reduction of 100 kg, which is particularly significant given the compact dimensions of the car.
The body-in-white alone is 23 kg lighter compared to its predecessor, despite the increased dimensions and more stringent crash and rigidity requirements.
This was made possible by the use of advanced materials – aluminium, high-strength steels and carbon fiber – and production processes.
Volkswagen also developed two new generations of engines that offer a power range from 63 kW / 85 PS to 110 kW / 150 PS.
The fuel consumption ranges from the 3.8 l/100km of the 105 PS TDI to the 4.8 l/100km of the 140 PS TSI and the 3.2 l/100km of the BlueMotion.
Below we report the official design story with comments and insights by VW Head of Design Klaus Bischoff and leading exterior designer Marc Lichte.
The design of the new Golf
In developing the new Golf the teams led by head designers Walter de Silva (Group) and Klaus Bischoff (Brand) based their work on the one hand on a great deal of creative freedom that allows many different approaches for a new design, while on the other also on the principles of the Volkswagen design DNA. A look at this DNA reveals the key to the new Golf’s design.
Development of the DNA. Over recent years, the Volkswagen designers have crystallized a selection of core elements from the brand’s history, which they term its ‘historic DNA’.
All current Volkswagen designs correspond to this DNA, with the cars therefore conveying a modern, progressive impression, which nevertheless – and this is the key – feels familiar.
This DNA includes elements such as the first Golf’s roofline, side windows and radiator grille crossbeam in its reduced form and the Golf Mk4’s typical C-pillars and wheel arches. This DNA creates a unique, unmistakable language of product features and design.
The language of product features leaves on the one hand a familiar feeling and yet on the other a new sensation in the eyes of the observer.
The features are visual characteristics such as functionality, robustness, honesty and reliability. These characteristics are generated by a language of form perfected over many years. It creates the typical Volkswagen product design that today enjoys success around the globe.
“This language of form,” explains Bischoff, “is logical, solid, product- focussed, pure and precise and reflects the brand’s design DNA as a perfect model of creativity. The base architecture of the new Golf is therefore unmistakable. It comes over as simple, strong, understandable, reliable and safe.
“Starting from the pure element of this clear base architecture, details such as the economical use and placement of sculptural lines are more like fine nuances.
“Another extremely important point is the fact that with the seventh generation the Golf’s proportions have completely changed, making the car look more premium-class than ever before!”
Marc Lichte, leading designer for the exterior, explains: “The proportions have changed, as we have taken advantage here of the Modular Transverse Matrix. The front wheels, for example, have moved 43 millimetres further forward. The front overhang is therefore shorter and at the same time the bonnet looks longer.”
Klaus Bischoff confirms this: “Visually, the passenger compartment has moved towards the rear, creating what is called a ‘car-backward’ impression.
“That’s what we call the proportions of premium-class vehicles, on which the bonnet is long and the passenger compartment a long way towards the back. On the new Golf we thus have proportions that you otherwise only get in higher-class segments of the market.”
Silhouette with powerful lines
Marc Lichte: “And we sought to underline these modified proportions with design elements. Below the door handles we have integrated the now clearly visible and very sharp character line. While this line is broken by the wheel arches, it is otherwise continuous and is stylistically reflected in the chrome bars of the radiator grille and headlights and at the back in the white lateral bars of the rear light clusters.
“Set deep down all the way around, this line lowers the apparent centre of gravity and makes the car appear more solid on the road.
“Another striking element is the new line along the side shoulder directly below the windows. This line begins at the front in the headlight, then glides under the wing mirror, which is positioned right on the line, all the way through to the rear side window, underling the premium proportions of the new Golf.”
The wheel arches are particularly prominent as well and along with the wider track, the longer wheelbase and tyre dimensions of up to 18 inches make the Golf appear more powerful.
“Two further features,” explains Klaus Bischoff, “are characteristic of the new Golf silhouette. Two typical Golf elements: the C-pillar and the roofline. On the previous Golf the character line still cut through the C-pillar. This is no longer the case on the new Golf.
“The C-pillar thus runs along one homogenous surface from the start of the roof all the way to the rear wheel arch. Above the wheel arch, however, it picks up more strongly the entire width of the car – and as a result, seen from behind or diagonally from the rear, the new Golf looks more solid and more powerful.
“Viewed straight on from the side the precision of the C-pillar design catches the eye, resembling the drawn string of a bow and thus giving the Golf a speedy appearance even when static, while at the same time paying homage to the Golf Mk2 and Mk4 – both design icons.”
On the right-hand side of the vehicle even the shape of the fuel cap is integrated into this arrow element.
Head Designer Klaus Bischoff continues: “The contour of the roofline has also been completely redesigned. Here, too – above the side windows – the Golf now displays a further line, which runs from the roof- edge spoiler right through to the A-pillars. It is one of those character features that give the Golf a particularly high-value look from the side as well – a line that at first fleeting glance perhaps remains unnoticed, yet is a further detail en route to visual precision.”
The front section
The Volkswagen design DNA manifests itself in a ‘face’ that has appealing features. In addition, in the same way as on the first Golf, it defines horizontally balanced elements that create a certain width. Together they produce a front section that is recognizable in every rear view window as that of a Volkswagen. Each Volkswagen class has its own character attributes in this respect. In the Golf class these include, for example, the slightly upward sweeping headlights and a defined maximum height for the radiator grille.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Golf displays completely restructured modulation of its surfaces. While on the Golf Mk6 the wings were higher than the bonnet – effectively framing it – this is now the other way round. On the sides the crease lines form the wings’ lowest points, before the latter transfer vertically into the wheel arches. The top border of the wings is formed by a line, as if cut by a knife, that begins at the A-pillars. All of the lines together form a V-shaped bonnet.
Beneath the bonnet then come the redesigned headlights and the comparatively narrow band of the radiator grille. At the bottom the radiator grille is bordered – to the left and right of the chrome Volkswagen badge – by a chrome bar, which where xenon headlights are fitted is continued in the headlight housing.
Particularly striking is the xenon headlight’s LED daytime running light. Meanwhile the bottom air inlet, in conjunction with the body- coloured area beneath the headlights, supports the strong horizontal arrangement of the front section design.
The air inlet is now framed by a body-coloured area that even with the car’s very self-assured look gives it the typical Volkswagen smile. Another core design element is the bend at the outer ends of the bumper, which produces – especially in aerial view – a change of shape.
The rear view
Typical Golf elements at the rear include the clear geometry of the rear lights, the rear window stretching all the way to the C-pillars and the large homogenous surface around the Volkswagen badge. Iconic: even without the badge or model name the seventh generation of this best-seller is instantly recognisable as a Golf. And yet every line is new.
That applies both to the rear light clusters (with striking L-shaped contours, narrower on the inside and ending at the C-pillar on the outside) and to the tailgate, which reaches much lower down, and the lowest boot sill height in its class (665 mm).
A horizontal light- refracting edge near the bottom of the tailgate, which continues on the bumper, and the boot sill running parallel below this underline the sportily full width of the new Golf.
These elements also correspond to the lines of the now much more pronounced and optically ‘extended’ bumper.
The bumper itself is fully painted right down to the bottom, with only the centrally integrated diffuser, which also incorporates the exhaust pipe, kept black.