An all-electric version, a hybrid, an all-wheel-drive variant; new technology to reduce aerodynamic noise; and sharper aesthetics that reflect those of the Scirocco Coupe will distinguish Volkswagen’s new Golf Mk. VI. Making its public debut at the Paris Motor Show in October, the car will arrive 34 years and 26 million vehicles after the Mk. I and is described by VW as being "the safest, most technically advanced, and most dynamic iteration yet." A new GTI will come next year.
No firm date has yet been given for the electric and hybrid versions now under development, but they are part of the model life plan. The plug-in electric variant will use lithium-ion battery technology and have a range that makes the concept practical for everyday use.
VW produced the research Jetta CitySTROMer in the late 1980s powered by an experimental, high-temperature sodium-sulfur battery. The all-electric Golf CitySTROMer used a more conventional 400-kg (880-lb), 96-V lead-acid battery pack and was available commercially in Germany from 1987 to 1990. Although the drive was pure electric, the vehicle retained a four-speed gearbox, clutch, and front-wheel drive.
The hybrid Golf Mk. VI will use technology extrapolated from VW’s Twin Drive system that is now being developed on 25 converted Mk. V Golfs. The electric motor will normally take it to at least 40 km/h (25 mph), but speeds up to 120 km/h (75 mph) may be feasible in some conditions. The car would also have an internal combustion engine (probably a diesel), which would operate as a range extender and give added performance according to load.
Apart from these projected special members of the range, mechanically the new Mk. VI is closely based on the Mk. V, with similar suspension—MacPherson strut front, four-link rear, and the same 2578-mm (101.5-in) wheelbase—but it can be specified with Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) that is standard on the Scirocco. This provides three mapping modes (comfort, normal, and sport) linked to suspension, steering, and accelerator characteristics. Automatic Distance Control (ADC), or adaptive cruise control, is also an option.
Engine choice is a wide selection of gasoline and new common-rail diesel units, including TSI (direct injection gasoline, turbocharged and supercharged, or just turbocharged, according to power output), which ranges from about 59 to 118 kW (79 to 158 hp). The 2.0-L 81-kW (109-hp) TDI unit returns 118 g/km of CO2 and a combined fuel consumption of 4.5 L/100 km. Transmission choice is six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch depending on variant.
Safety systems include seven airbags as standard including driver kneebag.
The accent on quality includes reduction in wind noise, achieved in part via new designs for door and window seals but also via what is described as a new "damping film" for the windshield.
This concerns the method of profiling the joint between the outer surface of the front windshield and surrounding bodywork. A VW spokesman explained that it was developed to eliminate gaps and provide smooth airflow over the joint areas, thus reducing aerodynamic noise. Contemporary designs with bonded screens may leave a gap typically of some 3 mm (0.12 in) in width and to a depth equal to the thickness of the screen. "This is likely to be a source of aerodynamic disturbance and has been eliminated with the design on the new Golf," said the spokesman.
Although clearly evolved from the Golf Mk. V, the Mk. VI is distinctly different. Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design at VW, led the team that created the new car’s aesthetics, which include a front end similar to that of the Scirocco Coupe, cut-back bumpers to help meet pedestrian safety legislation, and a defined shoulder line. There will be three- and five-door models.
The car’s interior has very similar dimensions to that of the Mk. V, but there is now added emphasis on quality materials and minor control haptics. Instrument backlighting is white instead of blue.
The Golf Mk. VI also brings more efficient manufacturing processes. The car is easier to build than the Mk. V, introducing time and, subsequently, cost savings.