VW Golf celebrates its 50th birthday

Golf GTI

The Golf is celebrating its 50th birthday this year – and Volkswagen is launching an enhanced version of its bestseller to mark the anniversary. The new Golf impresses with a next-generation infotainment system, a more intuitive operating concept, a sharper front and rear end design as well as efficient drive systems. These include plug-in hybrid drives with an increased all-electric range of about 100 kilometres. In addition, an illuminated Volkswagen logo adorns the front2 for the first time on a Golf.

The first series-produced Golf was built at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg at the end of March 1974. The official launch began in May. Prior to this, the Beetle and thus the combination of a rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive had shaped the Volkswagen brand for decades. At the beginning of the 1970s, the first Golf – like the Passat, the Scirocco and the Polo – marked the start of a new era: that of the front-mounted engine and front-wheel drive. The modern and safe drive system concept, the great flexibility with a tailgate and folding rear seat backrest, and the design were so convincing that the millionth Golf rolled off the assembly line by October 1976.

The new Golf and new Golf Estate1 can be recognised by their new front end. Visually defining features include the Volkswagen logo2, which is illuminated for the first time on the Golf, and the newly designed LED headlights. The top-of-the-range IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights2 incorporate a new high-performance main beam with a range of up to 500 m. The IQ.LIGHT 3D LED tail light clusters2 in both body versions have also received a new design.

New infotainment landscape and ChatGPT integration. Inside, the model series features a newly developed, intuitive infotainment system with a free-standing touchscreen (screen diagonal up to 32.8 cm)2. This has ergonomically optimised and illuminated touch sliders for temperature and volume control at its base.

Also new are the enhanced multi-function steering wheel and new IDA2 voice assistant. Using natural language, the IDA can be used not only to control functions such as the air conditioning, telephone or navigation system, but also to access online information from all conceivable areas – from weather forecasts to general knowledge questions. The Golf will have the latest infotainment system generation on board in future. This integrates the artificial-intelligence-based chatbot ChatGPT into the IDA voice assistant. Showcased at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas at the beginning of January, the feature can seamlessly access the ever-growing database of artificial intelligence. Occupants can interact with the car using natural language and have researched content read aloud to them while travelling.

The new plug-in hybrid drives in the Golf offer increased power and an electric range of about 100 km, and are additionally equipped with a DC quick-charging function. The highly efficient 48 V mild hybrid drives are particularly appealing for drivers who have no charging wall box at home. Mild hybrid (eTSI), plug-in hybrid (eHybrid1 and GTE1), turbocharged petrol (TSI) and turbocharged diesel (TDI) variants will be available for the product line in the launch phase. The Golf GTI1 has become even sportier with added power compared to its predecessor. Further Golf derivatives will be introduced successively throughout 2024.

Comfort, quality and innovative assist systems gained importance with each generation and continue to set standards today. Over the past 50 years, the Golf has become a high-tech compact class all of its own – this even became known as the ‘Golf class’ after just a few years. The model has won countless awards and comparative tests at home and abroad. Various derivatives such as the Estate, Cabriolet and Sportsvan followed; the all-electric e-Golf and sporty models, with the abbreviation GTI4, GTD5, GTE6, and the flagship Golf R7 quickly established themselves. The Golf was one of the first cars in the segment to offer assisted driving3 via Travel Assist. Another innovation in the Golf was the debut of Car2X technology3, which can provide advance warning of hazards.

To date, more than 37 million Golfs have been sold across eight generations. The Golf is a solid pillar for the Volkswagen brand and is always able to adapt as a driver of innovation. With the new evolutionary stage, the brand is building precisely on that – with enhanced efficiency, comfort and quality and a smart operating concept.

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