Archive | Volkswagen

20 February 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Electrifying! Volkswagen unveils
plug-in hybrid Golf GTE

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTE

Ahead of the Geneva motor show, Volkswagen has unveiled the much-rumoured plug-in hybrid of the Golf, the GTE. Borrowing a long-forgotten Audi designation, don’t go thinking that the GTE is a sandal-wearing, green-tinged eco special.

The Golf GTE has a top speed of 135mph and accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds. Performance which qualifies the GTE as a fully paid up member of the sports Golf club.

Designed to be part of the Golf GTI/GTD family, the GTE promises a 31-mile electric-only range, an European driving cycle miles per gallon figure of 157, and a theoretical driving range of 584 miles.

The GTE is powered by a 1.4-litre 148bhp TSI petrol engine, which is boosted by a 100bhp electric motor. Total system power is 201bhp, while emissions are ultra low at 35g/km of CO2, thanks to the electric motor-boosted powertrain.

As with most electric vehicles, the Golf GTE has more than adequate acceleration. When both sources of motive power are in operation, 258lb ft of torque surges the hybrid Golf forward. The driver can switch between power sources, so that in urban areas, only the electric motor is used.

Electric-only, zero-emissions mode is ‘e-mode’ while, according to Volkswagen, switching to ‘GTE’ mode activates the sporty side of the car’s character.

The fifth powertrain for the Mk 7 Golf (following petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas, and all-electric versions) includes a high-voltage 8.8kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that can be charged in 3.5 hours from a standard wall outlet.

A specially-developed wallbox or public charging station sees that time drop by one hour. The Golf GTE’s charging socket is behind the Volkswagen roundel in the front grille.

A six-speed DSG transmission has been specially developed for the Golf GTE and Volkswagen hybrid vehicles, while an electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air-conditioning compressor safeguard optimal and energy-efficient operation of the brakes and air conditioning.

The Golf GTE takes its styling cues from both the Golf GTI and GTD, as well as borrowing elements from the electric-only e-Up and e-Golf.

Blue details replace the red highlights on the GTE’s exterior (which includes ‘GTE’ badges), while the C-shaped running lights echo those already fitted to the e-Up and e-Golf.

Specially-designed 16, 17, and 18-inch alloy wheels make the Golf GTE look more dynamic, while side skirts and a roof-edge rear spoiler apes the Golf GTI and GTD.

It’s a similar story on the inside, too. Blue stitching and detailing replaces the red highlights of the GTI, while the checked sports seats features a blue-striped tartan cloth.

The ‘Discover Pro’ touchscreen infotainment system features a driving range monitor, an energy flow display, zero-emission statistics and an ‘e-manager’.

As with the e-Up and e-Golf, all Golf GTE owners can download the ‘Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote’ app to their smartphone free-of-charge and use it to control functions and access car-specific information.

It’s interesting to note that the initial Golf GTE press release was issued by Volkswagen USA, hinting at the car’s initial availability there, and the potential for other markets.

By bridging the gap between the all-electric e-Golf and the Golf GTI, Volkswagen have created a unique product. When we were at the New Polo’s launch last month, a plug-in hybrid version of the forthcoming model was mooted. We can only hope it ends up being something like the Golf GTE.

Prices and exact specifications for all markets are expected to follow the Golf GTE’s official launch at the Geneva motor show next month.

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14 July 2013 ~ 0 Comments

‘Polo-Train’ for Volkswagen South Africa Uitenhage factory tours

Volkswagen South Africa Factory Tour 'Polo-Train'

Just as with its other manufacturing plants, Volkswagen runs a factory tour around its Uitenhage production site in South Africa. Visitors can watch the factory produce the two best-selling cars in the country – the Polo and Polo Vivo. However, the cars being made aren’t the only Polo-related link – the visitors see the whole production process from the seat of a ‘Polo-Train’. The factory tour vehicle uses leftover fifth-generation Polo 6R parts, creating a three-carriage train in which passengers sit to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of a modern car production plant.

Custom built by two Volkswagen Motorsport employees using recycled and unused car parts from the factory, the ‘Polo-Train’ took over three months to complete, with each car taking 30 days to build. Johnny Allen and Cobus Barnard used spare parts from the motorsport workshop as well as the Uitenhage plant. ‘We spent most of the time designing, sourcing parts and manufacturing the cars,’ explained Barnard, who has been with Volkswagen for 10 years.

‘We used left over paint from the rally cars, spare nuts and bolts as well trim off-cuts to deck out the cars. We built the chassis out of old tyre racks, which we cut in required lengths. The side panels and doors were moulded from scrapped parts from the factory,’ added Barnard. The factory tour ‘Polo-Train’ can seat 21 people, and is pulled by an electric motor. Matt Gennrich, General Manager of Communications at Volkswagen Group South Africa said: ‘We hope the vehicle will give our visitors a comfortable and memorable tour of our facility where we build world-class cars.’

Volkswagen South Africa Factory Tour 'Polo-Train'

‘We were initially planning to outsource the project, but we changed our minds after realising we have vast amount of experience in the company which we can tap on for our ambitious project. The decision to use internal expertise saved the company money and delivered world-class, quality work that we are very proud of,’ Gennrich continued. He hoped that the vehicle will be helpful in speeding up the factory tours especially with the senior citizens that can struggle to walk around the site.

In the past five years, nearly 43 000 people have visited the Volkswagen manufacturing factory. The Uitenhage factory tours take place during weekdays. There are two tours on Monday to Thursday at 09h00 and 12h00. On Friday, there is only one tour at 09h00. Bookings can be made through the Volkswagen AutoPavilion on (041) 994 5941/3. The visit includes the tour of the AutoPavilion, where some of the Volkswagen South Africa classic cars are on display.

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12 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen TSI engine with ACT wins ‘Best New Engine’ award

Volkswagen 1.4-litre TSI engine with ACT

At the recent ‘Engine of the Year’ awards, Volkswagen’s TSI petrol engine claimed a prize for the seventh consecutive year in the 1.0-1.4-litre category. The company also received the ‘Best New Engine’ award for its TSI unit with active cylinder management (ACT), that powers (among other cars) the Polo BlueGT. The ‘Engine of the Year’ awards recognise the best engine development of the past 12 months. Active cylinder management made its debut in the 1.4 TSI Polo and Golf models with 103kW/138bhp. Temporary shut-off of the second and third cylinders – in conjunction with an economical style of driving – reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.4 litres per 100km in the EU driving cycle. 

At a constant 30mph, the savings can be as much as 1 litre per 100km, and even at 44mph in fifth gear, around 0.7 litres per 100km can be saved. Volkswagen states that cylinder deactivation occurs at engine speeds of between 1400 and 4000rpm, and at torque outputs of 25 to 100Nm (18 to 74lbs ft). If the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the two cylinders are imperceptibly reactivated. All mechanical switchovers occur within 13 to 36 milliseconds, depending on engine speed. The multifunction display in the Polo BlueGT’s instrument binnacle lets the driver know when the pair of cylinders are deactivated. The Polo BlueGT range starts at £17,535 for the three-door car.

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05 March 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Gaggle of Golfs for Geneva motor show – GTI, GTD, BlueMotion and Estate

2013 Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion, GTI and GTD

Volkswagen is having a busy Geneva motor show, with six new Mk 7 Golf variants being unveiled for the first time. Adding to the Golf 7 family, the best-selling small family car range now includes an estate as well as performance and eco-friendly versions. First previewed online ahead of the show, the Golf BlueMotion builds on the BlueMotion Technology versions of the new Golf already on sale, and posts an 88.3mpg figure on the combined cycle – giving it a theoretical range of 970 miles – as well as low emissions of just 85g/km (the current Golf SE 1.6 TDI is 14g/km more polluting). There’s also a 92g/km natural gas version of the car, which will only be sold in mainland Europe.

The Golf GTI and Golf GTD also headed to Geneva for their world premieres, with the former developing 217 or 227bhp depending on which version (standard or ‘Performance’) you choose. Long a mainstay of the range, the latter features all of the traditional sporting Golf trimmings, but with a 181bhp TDI engine and a low 109g/km CO2 figure. UK deliveries start in June for the GTI, while the GTD arrives in ‘the summer’. The first Golf 7 BlueMotion cars are scheduled to be UK-bound in August.

For now at least, the award-winning Golf range is completed by the arrival of the sharp-looking Golf Estate. It comes a full 20 years after the launch of the first Golf Estate, which was based on the Mk 3 model, and like the current hatchback, is built on Volkswagen’s new MQB modular platform. Load capacity is 605 litres with the parcel shelf and rear seats in place, more than doubling to 1620 litres with the rear seats folded. The new car is 307mm longer than the hatchback version, and will mirror that car’s engine line-up, with an 87g/km, 85.6mpg BlueMotion variant being added for the first time. UK deliveries start in October.

A 4MOTION four-wheel drive model will come in due course – but for mainland European markets only – and most excitingly of all, Volkswagen has given fans of fast estates a glimpse of the new Mk 7-based Golf R, with the unveiling of the Golf Estate Concept R-Line. The performance concept differs from the standard extended Golf by means of a more aggressive-styled bumpers, rear spoiler and sills, and new 18-inch ‘Salvador’ alloy wheels. Powered by a 148bhp 2.0 TDI engine, the Lapis Blue Metallic Golf Estate Concept R-Line is driven by all four wheels. There is no word yet on production feasibility.

Finally, to top it all off, Volkswagen bosses were handed the coveted European Car of the Year 2013 trophy last night, as the new Golf was voted the ‘Car of The Year’ by 58 automotive journalist panelists from all over Europe. The judges, from 22 countries, awarded the Golf the top prize by some margin, the Volkswagen car beating its nearest rival, the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ, by 212 points. With a score of 414 points in the final vote, the Mk 7 Golf is the third Volkswagen to take the prize, following the Mk 3 Golf in 1992, and the fifth-generation Polo in 2010. It would seem that the public agrees with the CoTY jury: more than 150,000 Golfs have already been ordered throughout Europe.

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27 February 2013 ~ 0 Comments

More power, two trims – new Golf GTI debuts at Geneva motor show

2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Following the pre-Geneva motor show announcement of the Golf GTD, Volkswagen has, unsurprisingly, released details of another Swiss débutante – the latest Golf GTI. And it differs quite considerably from its outgoing Mk 6 predecessor. Available for the first time in standard and ‘Performance’ versions, the new car is once again powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI engine, but that’s where any technical similarities end. The 1351kg Mk 7 GTI develops 217bhp in standard form, but the ‘GTI Performance’ version boasts 227bhp, larger brake discs and a front limited-slip differential.

Both versions develop 258lb ft of torque, with the standard Golf GTI sprinting to 62mph from rest in 6.5 seconds and onto 152mph. The ‘GTI Performance’ has a 3mph higher top speed and cuts 0.1 seconds off the benchmark sprint time. The pair also now feature concessions to economy with Stop/Start systems and EU-6 emissions technology. Economy hasn’t always been high on the sporting Golf’s agenda, but Volkswagen states that the latest standard version of the iconic hatchback posts 47mpg and low 139g/km emissions when specified with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The discreet features that have distinguished the Golf GTI for over 36 years remain in place. A red trim line on the grille extends neatly into the headlights, while the brake calipers are painted in a similar shade, and peep through new 18-inch ‘Austin’ alloy wheels (much less distinctive than the Mk 5 and 6’s ‘Monza’ rims in our opinion). There are also special side sills, a rear diffuser, twin exhausts, smoked LED tail lights and LED numberplate lamps to beef up the Mk 7 Golf’s sharp new suit. UK specification will include bi-xenon headlamps complete with LED daytime running lights.

Interior highlights include sports seats with classic tartan cloth upholstery, black rooflining and fashionable red ambience lighting. GTI drivers will also appreciate the bespoke sports steering wheel, gear lever and instrument cluster, trim strips and stainless steel pedal caps. UK Volkswagen Retailers start taking orders for the new GTI on 26 March, with the first deliveries due in June. Final UK pricing and detailed specification are yet to be confirmed, but are expected to start at £25,845 for the standard three-door manual car, with ‘GTI Performance’ models around £1000 more.

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