VW Golf's 50th year means goodbye to petrol hatchback

BERLIN: Volkswagen is marking the 50th birthday of its iconic Golf hatchback with a facelift range which includes the last petrol-powered models to be offered.

Plenty of prototypes have been doing the rounds in Europe and new features seen on the 8 include an illuminated brand logo up front, which the German maker has never used before. Both front and rear bumpers and the headlights have also been revised.

The facelift, set to be released later this month, is the latest incarnation of the hatchback first introduced in 1974. The Golf replaced the storied Beetle and went on to become Europe's most successful car with 37 million examples sold to date.

The ninth generation is being fettled for launch in 2028 and will be purely electric. It is based on the SSP platform.

Experts expect the Golf 8 facelift to show a reworked cabin design following criticism from owners and journalists about the poor haptics and choice of materials.

The new car will also come with a fresh infotainment system including a larger touchscreen and new menu structure similar to that in the revised electric ID.3.

Volkswagen has also hinted at new assistance systems, which are likely to include a speed warning system and an attention assist set-up which uses sensors to detect if the driver is making small errors behind the wheel due to fatigue.

Both will be mandatory for new cars in the EU and Switzerland from 2024.

The engines in the Golf 8 range are already largely hybridised and most will be retained for the facelift albeit gently modernised and tweaked in terms of consumption and emissions.

The sporty GTI, GTD diesel, GTE and range-topping R derivative with up to 333 horsepower will also be available again, but probably only with DSG automatic dual-clutch transmission. The manual gearbox is set to be ditched as most customers prefer automatic.
Autos Volkswagen