Archive | Volkswagen

27 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI ‘concept’ unveiled at Paris motor show

2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI concept

Just as the doors open on the 2012 Paris motor show, Volkswagen has pushed the newest version of its legendary Golf GTI into the world. Also public debuting the seventh-generation of the Golf at the event, the GTI has certainly made a splash, if the online coverage of the show at Porte de Versailles is representative of what the public thinks, too.

Officially a ‘concept’, Golf GTI VII looks ready to go, and although appearing not much changed from Golf GTI VI, a lot has been altered. Power is up for a start, with 217bhp (an increase of 10bhp) now developed from a new 2.0-litre, turbocharged direct-injection, and there’s still more to come. For the first time in the model’s long history, a ‘performance pack’ will be available, which, Volkswagen says, will boost power to 227bhp.

2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI concept

On the ‘standard’ car, maximum torque of 258lb ft is now the same as the current Golf R, helping the 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds. Top speed is now 153mph. The more powerful performance pack car boosts top speed by 2mph, and cuts 0.1seconds off the 0-62 benchmark. Opt for the speedier car, and Volkswagen will also throw in larger front brake discs, and a front axle differential to help counter nasty understeer.

Both cars get a variable ratio steering system to reduce steering input (worryingly, seemingly needed on a sports model) as well as red brake calipers, smoked LED rear lights, twin exhausts, tartan seats, flat-bottomed steering wheel and red ambient lighting. Nods to the past include a Golf GTI golf ball gear knob, while slashes of the future include a red trimmed grille, which sees the red trim extending into the headlights – a neat trick.

2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI concept

As is the current trend, the newest Golf GTI (and indeed the standard Golf VII hatchback) is lighter than its immediate predecessor, which benefits fuel economy and emissions. Stop/Start now makes an appearance on a GTI, and fitted with a six-speed a manual gearbox, Volkswagen quotes a 47.1mpg figure (an 18 per cent improvement over the outgoing model) and a CO2 reading of 140g/km. A six-speed DSG ‘box is also available.

More details about the latest in the line of sports-orientated and driver-focused Golfs will be revealed nearer the UK launch date. Due to hit mainland Europe’s roads in early 2013 (most probably after a worldwide public reveal at the Geneva motor show in March), but if you can’t wait until then, visit Mondial de L’Automobile, Paris Expo – Porte de Versailles, Place de la Porte de Versailles, 75015 Paris before 14 October and see it for real.

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14 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Brief drive: Volkswagen Take Up

2012 Volkswagen Take Up

We’ve already tested mid-range Move Up and top-end High Up versions of Volkswagen’s new city car and both bring a new feeling of luxury to the class. We were keen therefore to try the most basic version, too, and were rewarded with the opportunity at Volkswagen UK’s recent regional driving activity. Based on the same five-door body shell as the High Up we tested at the same event, the Take Up forgoes the body-coloured door handles and mirrors of its siblings higher up (!) the range ladder, and makes do with a set of flush-fitting wheel trims rather than alloy wheels.

It still looks upmarket enough, though. One notable aspect of penny pinching is in the cabin, where the Take Up features a once-piece ‘standard’ dashboard moulding, just as in other cars in the VW range. Not for this miser the body-coloured or piano black dashboard strip featured on higher-specification cars, and we must admit, it’s a bit of a disappointment after the contrast gloss finishes on the two other cars we’ve driven. But, it’s probably more in keeping with the car’s ‘honest’ nature. We’ve come across it before in the Up’s Skoda Citigo cousin.

Otherwise, the Up experience is much the same. OE12 VCM was powered by the lower-output 59bhp three-cylinder engine, but you’d be hard pressed to notice any discernible difference between the two – the 74bhp unit does fell slightly more relaxed at higher speeds, but with both engines developing the same 70lb ft of torque between the same 3000-4300rpm, there’s very little in it. The same nicely weighted steering is still very much in evidence, too, as is the comfortable and class-leading ride. Performance and economy figures aren’t that different from other versions, either.

Just as in the High Up we drove, the five-door Take Up also features pop-out rear windows as opposed to sliding panes. Though here they may work better, as the cost-cutting feel that they emanate is more in keeping with the more ‘basic’ nature of the car. That the general specification is anything but (when compared to a similar size of car even just 10 years ago) is beside the point. The base model Take Up generally doesn’t feel that basic at all: its just its higher-specification siblings have spoiled us. Overall, it’s another very strong weapon in VW’s class-leading sales cannon.

VOLKSWAGEN TAKE UP
Price: £8360
Engine: 1.0-litre three cylinder
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power/torque: 59bhp/70lb ft @ 3000-4300rpm
0-62mph: 14.4 seconds
Top speed: 99mph
Economy/CO2: 62.8mpg/105g/km
Equipment: 14” steel wheels with full-size wheel trims, RCD 215 radio system
On sale: Now
Find out more: www.volkswagen.co.uk/new/up-nf/home

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04 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Sharper, lighter and safer new Volkswagen Golf breaks cover in Berlin

2013 Volkswagen Golf

Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the all-new seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf has debuted at the New National Gallery in Berlin ahead of a launch at the Paris motor show later this month. Arriving 38 years after the original Mk 1, it’s the latest in a line of small family hatchbacks which has sold 29 million examples worldwide. VW hopes it will become known for all the class-leading attributes of the six generations which came before it: comfort, efficiency, practicality and safety. Bucking the trend for new cars, Golf 7 is 100kg lighter than the outgoing Golf 6, and is also 23 per cent more fuel efficient. It’s safer, too, and with evolutionary styling (VW were never going to mess with a motoring icon), what’s not to like?

Built on the new MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix, which also underpins the recently-launched Audi A3, this system standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes and allows access to new powertrains and technologies, including innovations in the areas of safety and infotainment, which until now were reserved for vehicles in higher segments. The new Golf is 56mm longer than its predecessor at 4255mm, and has a wheelbase of 2637mm, with the front wheels 43mm further forward than before. The new car is also 13mm wider than Golf 6 (1799mm total width) and 28mm lower at 1452mm. One of the substantial benefits is a lower drag co-efficient reading of 0.27 Cd.

Volkswagen calls the Golf style and silhouette ‘timeless’, and although safe, we’d be inclined to agree. It’s a formula which has served the name well, and the latest version is unmistakably sharper, with a belt-line crease which runs through the door handles down the body side, and tail-lights which have sharp corners. One detail we’re very fond off is the parallel shut line of the rear door on five-door cars which matches the downward sweep of the rear lights. Only this time, the petrol flap – which is sandwiched in-between – also gets matching parallel edges. It’s a neat trick. There’s also an Up-style ‘smile’ lower grille on the front bumper, but overall, the new car takes the traditional Golf attributes and just sharpens them up a little. The now instantly recognisable and set-in-stone thick C-pillars and upright hatch remain.

The cabin sees Volkswagen’s latest switchgear and a centre console angled towards the driver, as well as a new touchscreen infotainment system. All UK cars will get a colour display system, while the top models will come with an eight-inch satellite navigation unit. Pandering to the iPhone generation, the system works with gestures familiar to smartphone users, while DAB digital radio, auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth telephone preparation and vehicle information displays all feature, too. An electronic handbrake means the Golf now goes almost fully-digital, while a multi-collision braking system is standard on all models. An automatic City Emergency Braking system can also be specified, as introduced on the Up. VW says that the Golf’s steering now uses a variable ratio system ‘that offers more agile steering in dynamic driving situations, while ensuring high-speed stability, and easy manoeuvring in the city.’

All engines powering Golf 7 are fitted with Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, 1.2-litre TSI 84bhp and 1.4-litre 138bhp with cylinder deactivation (as seen on the Polo BlueGT) petrol engines will be available, while diesel lovers will have a choice of 1.6-litre 104bhp and 2.0-litre 148bhp units. Further details on the new Golf will be revealed at the Paris motor show, which runs from 29 September to 14 October 2012. The car will go on sale in mainland Europe from October, with the first UK models expected in January 2013.

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30 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Brief drive: Volkswagen High Up BlueMotion Technology

2012 Volkswagen High Up BlueMotion Technology

On 23 August, we spent the day pootling around lanes in the Chilterns, driving the latest additions to Volkswagen’s UK range. While more ‘exciting’ cars were available, we took the start-at-the-bottom-and-move-up-the-range approach and started with the newest addition to the VW stable, the five-door Up. Building on the success of the award-winning three-door version, the five-door Up is literally that – an Up with an extra pair of doors at the rear. It looks the same as the less-doored car, but there are subtle differences if you look hard. The profile glasshouse is more conventional, sloping down at the rearmost edge, losing the three-door’s upward kink, but it doesn’t matter – the Up five-door still looks neat and modern.

A similar specification to the Škoda Citigo Elegance GreenTech we tested back in May (and fitted with the same emissions-busting technology) ‘our’ High Up BlueMotion Technology test car was the top-spec model of the current range – special ‘White’ and ‘Black’ editions notwithstanding – and it certainly looked it. Resplendent in traditional VW Tornado Red, the little car really looked smart (although a white version looked arguably even better), the 15-inch ‘Spoke’ alloy wheels, setting it off perfectly. We tested a mid-spec Move Up in July, and the interior of the High Up was much more luxurious. Fitted with a light dashboard and door trims, the interior was light and very airy, made all the more fun with the fitment of a body-coloured red full-width panel. The cabin’s very well trimmed, too; the heated ‘Polka’ Grey/Salsa Red front seats look great, while the ‘Maps & More’ infotainment device adds a dash of clever big-car functionality.

And that’s the overall impression the Up gives, especially in this range-topping guise. It might be a cliché, but it really does give big-car comforts. The ride is astonishing for one so small. Small cars can be choppy when pressing on, but the Up smooths out any difficult surfaces, it’s buzzy 74bhp three-cylinder engine feeling just slightly more relaxed than the 59bhp version which powers the lower-spec models, but there’s not a lot it it (maxiumum torque of 70lb ft @3000-4300rpm is the same for both units). Add in steering which makes it eminently chuckable, and you have a small car that’s a lot more fun than the bland and cheap-feeling Fox, which the Up replaces. Yes, there are signs of cost-cutting – all-plastic door trims and pop-out rather than winding rear windows – but the High Up still feels luxurious. It can also fit four adults at a pinch, is more practical with the £365 extra pair of doors, and still looks stylish. Volkswagen’s ‘Cleverly Compact’ advertising campaign was never more so apt.

VOLKSWAGEN HIGH UP BLUEMOTION TECHNOLOGY
Price: £11,240
Engine: 1.0-litre three cylinder
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power/torque: 74bhp/70lb ft @ 3000-4300rpm
0-62mph: 13.2 seconds
Top speed: 106mph
Economy/CO2: 67.3mpg/98g/km
Equipment: 15” ‘Spoke’ alloy wheels, PID, heated front seats, front fog lights
On sale: Now
Find out more: www.volkswagen.co.uk/new/up-nf/home

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02 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Up now available with automated manual gearbox

2012 Volkswagen Up

Available to order now, the Volkswagen Up city car now comes with an automated manual gearbox (ASG). A £595 option, the ASG can be specified on three- and five-door versions of Move Up and High Up models – BlueMotion Technology versions are excluded. Volkswagen UK states that the new five-speed ASG models are even more efficient than the manual gearbox cars, with improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions. An automated version of the standard car’s manual gearbox, the driver selects ‘Drive’, ‘Neutral’ or ‘Reverse’, and the gearbox chooses the optimum gear for the situation.

2012 Volkswagen Up

Manual changes can be carried out using the gear lever – steering wheel paddles aren’t available on Up variants. Space-efficiency and lightness are key virtues of ASG: at 30kg, it is three kilograms lighter than its manual counterpart. An electric motor controls the clutch. The three-door 59bhp Move Up ASG costs £9675, while the five-door High Up ASG with 74bhp is priced at £11,475. Customer deliveries of the Up ASG are expected to start in October, with a fully electric version still on the cards and due next year. The Up has been named World Car of the Year 2012 and What Car? Car of the Year for 2012.

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