Most successful European car of all time
Volkswagen is celebrating the 40th birthday of the most successful European car of the year the Volkswagen ‘Golf’. There are seven generations of the Golf and over thirty million vehicles of this fantastic best seller have been sold.
The very first Golf to roll off the production line was the Golf MK1, this model arrived back in March 1974, a new era had dawned as for decades the Beetle and rear mounted engines and rear wheel drive had dominated the scene and the new Golf brought a transversely mounted front engine and front wheel drive. It was a massive success as one million were produced by the year 1976. The same year the first Golf GTI was launched followed by the Golf D and then in 1982 the Golf GTD. The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet was introduced in 1979 and at times this became the best selling Cabrio in the world.
The Golf has been a pioneer of technological progress, whether turbocharged engine, direct-injection engine, electric or plug-in hybrid drive system; whether ABS, ESC, XDS or 4MOTION; whether Adaptive Cruise Control, City Emergency Braking, trailer stabilisation or Automatic Post-Collision Braking System; whether automatic air conditioning, Dynaudio sound system, touchscreen with proximity sensor or LED headlights; whether GTI, GTD or GTE it was always the Golf through which the most important technologies and trends of our time were democratised.
The Golf Mk II arrived in August 1983, from this time on the regulated catalytic converter was introduced (1984), anti-lock braking system (ABS, 1986) and power-steering to the lower medium class. In 1986, syncro was introduced, opening up the option of all-wheel drive in the Golf class. The Golf Mk III arrived August 1991 which brought a new era of safety. This Golf was the first of the series to have front airbags, starting in 1992, while major advances in the area of car body construction also resulted in significantly improved crash safety. In addition, numerous other technological milestones of the model range are linked to the third Golf. Many new features made their debut in this new Golf: the first six cylinder engine (VR6), cruise control, oxidation catalytic converter for diesel engines (1991) and the first direct injection diesel engines (TDI in 1993). Likewise, ABS became a standard feature on all Golf models in 1996. In 1993, Volkswagen had also introduced a new convertible based on the Golf Mk III, a new all-wheel drive model (syncro II) and the first Golf Variant (an estate).
On 4 September 2012, Volkswagen celebrated the world premiere of the seventh generation Golf. The weight of the new Golf was reduced by up to 100 kg and fuel economy improved by up to 23 per cent. The new Golf TDI BlueMotion consumes only 3.2 l/100 km (88.3 mpg) under standard NEDC conditions. In addition, Volkswagen has equipped the Golf with new assistance systems some as options and others as standard. In 2014, Volkswagen electrifies the compact class with the Golf: the all-electric e-Golf with a range of around 190 kilometres is already available to buy. In addition, the new Golf GTE will be launched in autumn. Its plug-in hybrid drive system achieves a standard fuel consumption of 1.5 l/100 km; in all-electric mode, the Golf GTE can be driven for 50 kilometres. So the success continues there is no doubt the Golf will always be one of the most successful cars of all times.