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First official pics of new VW Golf

This, folks, is the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf. It may look similar to its predecessor - referred to by some as the Golf 5.1 because of its own evolutionary approach - but be assured that this Golf is brand spanking new from the ground up.

Having gained 65mm in length and 13mm in width, while losing 28mm in height, the Golf 7 has a sportier stance.

100KG LIGHTER

Built on VW's all-new cost-saving MQB modular platform that will underpin a wide range of front-wheel drive Volkswagens, the new Golf is 100kg lighter than its predecessor - which has helped VW achieve improvements in fuel economy of up to 23 percent.

The new Golf will be offered with a brand new range of TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines, all mated to fuel saving idle-stop and battery regenerations systems. VW hasn't given details on the full range, but says the power outputs (of the initial line-up) will range from 63kW to 103kW in the petrol range and 77kW to 110kW in the case of the diesels.

Likely to be a popular choice on the petrol front is a brand new 103kW 1.4-litre direct injection turbopetrol motor with cylinder deactivation and some tantalising fuel consumption figures by petrol standards - a claimed 4.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. There's no official word on the GTI as yet, but we can tell you that a concept version will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in late September and media reports say the production model will have a 165kW two-litre TSI engine.

PRIUS-BEATING ECONOMY

The diesel range kicks off with a 77kW 1.6-litre TDI that boasts a combined consumption figure of 3.8 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 99g/km. The BlueMotion version is even more frugal, with consumption of 3.2 litres per 100km equating to a Prius-beating CO2 figure of 85g/km.

As before, the Golf is suspended on MacPherson struts up front and has a fully independent multi-link rear axle - the only major difference is that greater use of aluminium components shaves off 26kg.

It should be even sharper around corners, however, thanks to the inclusion of an electronic diff lock - which was only fitted to the GTI in the previous generation.

In addition to what VW calls a 'progressive steering' system designed to provide a more agile steering behaviour at higher speeds, the driver can also set one of five driving profiles - eco, sport, normal, individual or comfort.

Other gadgets include traffic sign detection, fatigue detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency brake activation at speeds of up to 30km/h and an updated version of VW's automatic parking system - this one including a 360-degree graphic.

The Golf's class-first boast is its multi-collision braking system, which automatically applies the brakes when the vehicle is in an accident in order to reduce its residual kinetic energy and lessen the chances of a secondary impact. However, an astute driver can still over-ride this process by accelerating, if need be.

IN SA SOON

The new Golf also boasts a more spacious interior, with the cabin length having been extended by 14mm and the boot volume increased from 350 to 380 litres.

South Africans won't have to wait too long to get up close and personal with the new Golf, its local release scheduled for the first quarter of 2013.

No word on local pricing yet, but on the German market at least some of the platform’s cost-saving has filtered through to the value equation. The 63kW 1.2 TSI base model costs the same as the previous base model, at €16 975 (R178 900), despite the new one being more powerful and packing a higher specification level.

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