Following the launch of the new Golf TSI and Golf GTI facelift in May, Volkswagen has introduced two more performance models to the Golf range, namely the Golf R and the Golf GTD.
With over 350 000 Golf’s sold in South Africa since its launch four decades ago, the updated version of the seventh generation Golf is once again redefining its market by bringing ‘big car’ technology to the compact family car class.
The GTD, which is Volkswagen’s only performance diesel derivative hatch to be launched in South Africa, combines the performance of a sports car with the fuel economy of a sub-compact car in a most enticing way.
These performance models create a new benchmark for assistance systems in the compact class, employing technologies such as the optional Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking System.
Visually the Golf GTD looks similar to the new GTI, with just a few individual nuances. The differentiating characteristics are the chrome strip on the GTD, which now extends into the headlights. At the rear, the GTD is recognisable by dual chrome tailpipes on the left side. The GTD is exclusively equipped with new 18-inch wheels in Sevilla design as standard. Upfront there are additional air inlet openings in the front bumper, a honeycomb structure of air inlet screens, LED headlights with an unmistakable light signature and pronounced roof spoiler.
There is another strong and significant element that was completely reinterpreted, the chrome line of the GTD radiator grille. This line terminates the lower edge of the radiator grille, but then it is further extended to the left and right into the housings of the standard LED headlights.
At the very bottom of the bumper, beneath the cross panel painted in body colour, the black air inlet is now surrounded by surfaces painted in body colour. In this way the air inlet makes a stronger impression, simultaneously, the three lateral black aerodynamic fins beneath the headlights also terminate the front end. Another detail fitting in with the precisely contoured styling is the black splitter.
The EA288 engine spurs the Golf GTD on to sporty driving performance. It sprints from 0 – 100km/h in 7,4 seconds and offers great tractability by accelerating from 80 – 120 km/h in just 7, 5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 230km/h.
This TDI engine, which can also be found in the Passat, is a transverse mounted, turbocharged two-litre engine with common rail direct injection. This oil burner develops 130kW at 3 600 revs/min and a substantial 350Nm over a broad rev range of between 1 500 and 3 500 revs/min.
Although is does not have the rev happy nature and soundtrack of a GTI, the GTD impressed with its abundance of torque, all 350Nm of which are available across a 2 000 revs/min range. The cabin is also extremely quiet, with none of that general diesel clatter.
The GTD allows a buyer to get into a Golf with all of the trimmings of the sporty GTI, but with the added benefit of a slightly cheaper entry price point and much better fuel economy.
Coupled to a six-speed DSG, the GTD has a combined fuel consumption of just 5,3 litres/100km, exhibiting the fuel consumption of a highly efficient car.
One of the best all round hatchbacks might just be in trouble, courtesy of its oil-burning sibling.
While the GTD combines sensibility with performance, the Golf R is all about going fast. The 2,0 litre engine has been fettled to deliver 213kW and 380Nm, making it the most powerful Golf to ever be sold in South Africa.
The Golf R rockets to 100 km/h in a swift 4,6 seconds. This gain in dynamics is not only attributable to the updated power plant but also thanks to a fast-shifting seven-speed DSG gearbox, the standard launch Control feature of this model and the 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
The newly designed bumpers, LED headlights and LED tail lights create a design that takes on an even more dynamic look. The exterior mirror cap housings come in Chrome Matte or optionally in Carbon and there are a number of 19-inch wheel choices.
As in all new Golf derivatives, the new infotainment systems such as the 9,2-inch Discover Pro with gesture control are also available in the new Golf R. Standard on the Golf R is the Active Info Display, panoramic sunroof and drive profile selection which includes the Sport HMI feature. Adaptive chassis control is an optional extra on both Golf GTD and Golf R and also features Sport HMI, which displays current engine parameters such as power output and G-forces in play.
The new Golf model range comes standard with a five year/90 000km Service Plan and a three year/120 000km warranty. – Reuben van Niekerk