The Volkswagen Golf is a small family car manufactured by Volkswagen since 1974 and marketed worldwide across six generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada (Mk1 and Mk5), and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico (Mk1). The front-wheel drive Golf was Volkswagen's first successful replacement for the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle. Historically, the Golf is Volkswagen's best-selling model and the world's third best-selling model, with more than 25 million built by 2007. Most production of the Golf was initially in the 3-door hatchback style. Other variants include a 5-door hatchback, estate/wagon (Variant, from 1993), convertible (Cabriolet and Cabrio, 1979 2002), and a Golf-derived notchback saloon/sedan, variously called Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Vento or Volkswagen Bora (from 1979). The cars have filled many market segments, from basic personal cars, to high-performance hot hatches. Every generation of Golf has been a runner-up in the European Car of the Year awards, but only one has been a winner, the Golf Mk3 in 1992.
The Golf name is derived from the German word for Gulf Stream and the period in its history when VW named vehicles after prominent winds, including also the Passat (after the German word for Trade wind), Jetta (after the Jet stream), Bora (after Bora) and Scirocco (after Sirocco). "Golf" is also a sport, a theme that is shared with the Polo and Derby.
Golf Mk1/Rabbit (A1/Typ 17, 1974 1983)
In May 1974, Volkswagen presented the first-generation Golf as a modern front-wheel-drive, long-range replacement for the Volkswagen Beetle. Later Golf variations included the Golf GTI "hot hatch" (introduced in June 1976), a diesel-powered version (from September 1976), the Jetta notchback saloon version (from October 1979), the Golf Cabriolet (from January 1980) and a Golf-based pickup, the Volkswagen Caddy.
The Golf Mk1 was sold as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico.
A facelifted version of the Golf Mk1 was produced in South Africa as the Citi Golf from 1984 to 2009.
Golf Mk2 (A2/Typ 19E, 1983 1992)
September 1983 saw the introduction of the second-generation Golf Mk2 that grew slightly in terms of wheelbase, exterior and interior dimensions, while retaining, in a more rounded form, the Mk1's overall look. In 1985, the first Golfs with four-wheel-drive (Golf syncro) went on sale with the same Syncro four-wheel-drive system being employed on the supercharged G60 models, exclusively released on the continent in 1989 with and ABS braking.
A Mk2-based second generation Jetta was unveiled in January 1984. There was no Mk2-based cabriolet model; instead, the Mk1 Cabriolet was continued over the Mk2's entire production run.
Golf Mk3 (A3/Typ 1H, 1991 1999)
The third-generation Golf Mk3 made its home-market d but in August 1991 and again grew slightly in comparison with its immediate predecessor, while its wheelbase remained unchanged.
New engines included the first Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine in a Golf, and a narrow-angle 2.8 L VR6 engine. The VR6-engined version accelerated from in 7.1 seconds, posting a record 15.5 -mile time at . EPA estimate (city) or (highway), with per tank (city) and per tank (highway). For the first time ever, a Golf estate (Golf Variant) joined the line-up in September 1993 (although most markets did not receive this model until early 1994), at the same time a completely new Mk3-derived Cabriolet was introduced, replacing the 13-year-old Mk1-based version. With a body style similar to that of the Golf, it was continued on until 2001 with only minor changes in the 1999 model year. The notchback version, called VW Vento (or Jetta III in North America), was presented in January, 1992.
It was European Car of the Year for 1992, ahead of PSA's new ZX model and GM's new Astra model.
The Mk3 continued to be sold until 1999 in Canada and parts of South America, also in Mexico as a special edition called "Mi" (Golf CL 4-door, added A/C, special interiors, OEM black tinted rear stop lights, and ABS, no OEM radio) ("Mi" ("i" in red) stands for Multipoint Injection and the 1.8 L engine was upgraded to 2.0).
Golf Mk4 (A4/Typ 1J, 1997 2003)
The Golf Mk4 was first introduced in August 1997, followed by a notchback version (VW Bora or, in North America, again VW Jetta) in August 1998 and a new Golf Variant (estate) in March 1999. There was no Mk4-derived Cabriolet, although the Mk3 Cabriolet received a facelift in late 1999 that comprised bumpers, grill and headlights similar to those of the Mark 4 models. New high-performance models included the 3.2 L VR6-engined four-wheel-drive Golf "R32" introduced in 2004, its predecessor the 2.8 L VR6-engined "Golf V6 4Motion" (succeeding the 2.9 L Mk3 "Golf VR6 Syncro"), as well as use of the famous 1.8T (turbo) 4-cylinder used in various Volkswagen Group models.
As of 2008, certain variants of the Golf/Bora Mk4 were still in production in Brazil, China, and Mexico. Revised versions of the Mk4 were sold in Canada marketed as the Golf City and Jetta City from 2007 to 2010. The two models were VW Canada's entry-level offerings. They received a significant freshening for the 2008 model year, including revised headlamps, taillamps, front and rear fascias, sound systems, and wheels. Both models were offered only with the 2.0 L, 8-valve SOHC four-cylinder gasoline engine, rated at . They were the only entry-level offerings with an optional six-speed automatic. The production of Golf Mk4 for the U.S. market ended in 2006. But for the European markets, the production of the fourth generation ended in 2003.
When the Chinese market Bora received a July 2006 facelift, the Golf did too, becoming the "Bora HS" in the process.
Because of the MK4's popularity and low cost, it is still in production in several countries, such as Brazil and Argentina.
Golf Mk5/Rabbit (A5/Typ 1K, 2003 2009)
The Golf Mk5 was introduced in Europe in 2003. In North America, Volkswagen brought back the Rabbit nameplate when it introduced the vehicle in 2006. The North American base model is powered by a 2.5 L five-cylinder engine, which produced in 2006 and 2007, but was upped to in the later models. A GTI version is powered by a turbocharged version of the 2.0 TFSI engine, producing .
Volkswagen also introduced the "Fast" marketing ploy for the North American market, "dedicated to the 'fast' that lives inside every driver". Drivers who purchased new GTI Mk5s from a dealership were shipped a model of said Fast, which employs GTI-like features, and appears as a small robot thing in the commercials. The GTI version is the only version on sale in Mexico.
The saloon/sedan version, again called Volkswagen Jetta in most markets and assembled in Germany, South Africa, as well as Mexico (In Mexico this car is named Bora, in Europe it is now again named Jetta, as well), followed in 2004, a new Golf Variant in 2006. The Jetta however, is not the only variant, as the notchback version of the GTI can also be had in the GLI version. The front ends of the car are the same, with the only difference being that the GLI is a sedan, while the GTI is a hatchback.
Later models of the Mk5 introduced the 1.4 TSI turbocharged petrol engine with front-wheel drive.
In a comparison test conducted by Car and Driver Magazine, the Volkswagen Rabbit S was named the winner among eight small cars. While it was praised for its excellent driving position, fine instruments, and strong engine, it was criticized for having high levels of road noise, uncomfortable seats, and poor fuel economy. Though, the final verdict stated, "This one is all about driving pleasure, so it wins." The Rabbit also placed first in their final comparison in December 2006.
The Volkswagen Golf Plus model was also introduced in 2004. This was a slightly larger version of the Golf Mk5 with a higher roofline.
Golf Mk6 (A6/Typ 5K, 2008 2012)
Volkswagen based the latest Golf Mk6 on the existing PQ35 platform from the Golf Mk5. This vehicle was debuted at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.
The Mk6 Golf was designed by Volkswagen's chief designer Walter de'Silva. The design is said to be more aerodynamic, helping fuel efficiency, and is quieter than its predecessor. Following criticism of the downgraded interior trim quality of the Mk5 Golf in comparison to the Mk4, Volkswagen opted to overhaul the interior to match the quality with the Mk4 Golf, while maintaining the same user friendliness from the Mk5. The car is also cheaper to build than its predecessor; Volkswagen claims it consequently will be able to pass these savings on to the customer. The MK6 Jetta was released in Mexico in mid 2010, and by late 2011 will be available in all markets around the globe. Turbocharged Direct Injection diesel engines which use the common rail direct injection will replace the longstanding Pumpe/D se (PD) Unit Injector system. New on the Golf, is the optional Volkswagen Adaptive Chassis Control (not available in the North American market), which allows the driver to select between 'normal', 'comfort' and 'sports' modes, which will vary the suspension, steering and accelerator behavior accordingly.
The Mk6 Golf is available with both 5- and 6-speed manual transmission gearbox, and 6- or 7-speed DSG (Dual Clutch).
The car was introduced for sale in the UK in January 2009.
The car was introduced in North America in October 2009 as the 2010 Golf, rather than Rabbit. The Mk6 also reintroduced a diesel engine option to the North American market.
Golf Mk7 (A7/Typ , 2013 )
The seventh-generation Golf is expected to have its d but in late 2012 at the Paris Motor Show.
The Golf VII will use the new MQB platform, shared with the new Audi A3, new SEAT Le n and upcoming koda Octavia.
The VW Golf has had several generations made into electric CityStromer models. The first of these was in the 1970s, when VW took a standard Golf Mk1 and converted it to electric power. By the time the Golf Mk2 came into production a limited number of electric Golfs were made, using lead acid battery packs and a custom-made motor and controller. VW continued with the production of limited numbers of CityStromer electric cars with the introduction of the Golf Mk3. The electric CityStromer Mk3 included a Siemens based AC drive system, and lead acid battery packs. They had a maximum speed of and a range of approximately . With a few exceptions, only left-hand drive Golfs were converted by VW into Citystromer models. These vehicles are still used today and have popularity in mainland Europe with only a few present in Great Britain. Only two right-hand drive Mk2 CityStromers were built for the UK market and it is believed only one remains today. It is owned by EV advocate and broadcaster Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, host of Transport Evolved. The CityStromer EV on PositiveTV
Golf Variant Twin Drive
As part of the "Fleet study in electric mobility" project that began in 2008, VW developed 20 Golf Variant twinDRIVE plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These research vehicles have an all-electric range of and the internal combustion engine provides for a total range of . The plug-in hybrid drive of the Golf Variant twinDRIVE is equipped with either an 11.2 kWh or a 13.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, as Volkswagen is testing packs from two vendors. Ten vehicles are equipped with batteries from the American-German manufacturer GAIA with cathode type nickel cobalt aluminium dioxide (NCA). The other ten are powered by lithium-ion batteries with nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) cathodes from the Korean-German joint venture SB LiMotive (Samsung and Bosch). These 10 vehicles have been in use since early 2011. Both battery systems offer high power and energy density. They each weigh about 150 kg. The gasoline engine is used to support the electric heating system when outdoor temperatures are low.
Using guidelines for determining the fuel consumption of plug-in hybrids, VW estimates a fuel consumption of 2.1 L/100 km (112 mpg US), which is equivalent to 49 g/km CO2. When the battery is fully charged, the Golf Variant twinDRIVE is design to maximize the share of pure electrical energy used for driving, and only when longer distances are driven does the share of supplemental gasoline fuel increase. Top speed of the car is and it accelerates to 100 km/h in under 12 seconds. When operated in pure electric mode, the Golf Variant twinDRIVE can reach a top speed of .
The production version is expected to be based on Mk6 Golf featuring a 1.5 L turbodiesel engine and electric motor, with estimated arrival date of 2015. A SEAT Le n prototype with the Twin Drive system is also under development.
At the ceremonial launching of Germany's "National Electric Mobility Platform" (NEMP) in Berlin, Volkswagen presented the Golf blue-e-motion electric car concept to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. NEMP is a German government initiative to develop Germany into a leading market for electric mobility.
The Golf blue-e-motion has a range of . Sales are scheduled for 2014, and Volkswagen scheduled a field testing program with 500 units to begin in 2011. The first 10 units began field testing in Wolfsburg in May 2011. A second batch of 80 test cars began testing in June 2011 in Berlin, Hannover and Wolfsburg. In February 2012, the first eGolf, as it is called in the United States, was delivered in Belmont, California. A total of 20 eGolfs will be allocated to the U.S. field testing program.
The Golf blue-emotion has a 26.5KWh lithium-ion battery pack and is powered by an 85KW electric motor which drives the front wheels through a single speed transmission. It will accelerate to in 11.8 seconds and have a top speed of . Paddle shifters are used to adjust the amount of regenerative braking. The vehicle's PRNDL stick has an additional 'B' mode as found on some other electric vehicles to set the regenerative braking effort to the maximum for sustained downhill travelling.
The Golf has been very popular with British buyers since its introduction in 1974. By March 2009, nearly 1,500,000 had been sold in Britain, making it the eighth most popular car ever sold there.
Upon the release of the Mk1 Golf in the mid 1970s in Australia, interest from prospective buyers was much higher than anticipated and most had to be placed on a waiting list. Some Golfs were shipped whole, while others were shipped in separate parts, which were then assembled in Australia at the VW Clayton plant in Melbourne. Buyers who requested certain colours such as red, had to wait longer until their colour was shipped. Some of these buyers chose to take a different colour temporarily until their requested colour became available, some waiting for their colour for up to 12 months.
In auto racing, APR Motorsport has led two MKV VW GTI's to victory in the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner (ST) class.
Awards and recognition
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