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Volkswagen Golf Mk8: Everything you need to know

  • Volkswagen Golf Mk8 hatchback due for launch in early 2020
  • Lower CO2 and higher tech levels expected
  • Will we see more GTI and R performance models?

Volkswagen Golf Mk8 (2020)

The eighth generation of the ever-popular Volkswagen Golf is has been delayed until early 2020 so as to give the new ID.3 electric car maximum publicity this autumn. The new Golf going to have to be a mightily accomplished machine to stay ahead of the latest Ford Focus - a car that's seriously impressed our testers. 

Pre-launch testing continues apace, as the company strives to not only beat the opposition, but also top the current car, which is still one of the best small family cars that money can buy. The new image (above) shows what appears to be a completely-finished Golf just wearing some eye-searing camouflage.

Volkswagen has announced the 2020 VW Golf will have the following tech:

>> 48-volt electrical system with mild-hybrid technology

>> Additional mild-hybrid diesel to be offered

>> Connected, autonomous technology

Why is the 2020 VW Golf such an important car?

Consistently among the bestselling cars in Europe and one of the most recognisable names of any vehicle on sale, the Golf has been a huge success for Volkswagen since the original's launch back in 1974. More than 35 million examples have been sold worldwide since.

We’ve been universally impressed with the most recent VW Golf – known as the Mk7.5 as it’s a 2017 facelift of the Mk7, which was launched back in 2013 – and our reviewers place it firmly at the top of its class. That’s no mean feat when you’re up against cars like the Ford Focus, the recently-re-engineered Vauxhall Astra and Audi A3, which are all incredibly popular models in their own right.

What's it like inside?

It doesn't take a a genius to work out that the Golf is going to get a touchscreen-fest of an interior that mimics closely what you see in the current Volkswagen Touareg. So, expect a completely new set of instruments and controls and a nice, simple display that's easy to drive between menus.

Given the packaging of the Golf, expect it to mirror the excellent MBUX system as seen in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. In true VW Group fashion, the size of the screen(s) you get will depend entirely on the spec of model you're stumping up for, but expect between 8.0- and 10.0-inch screens across the range.

And the styling in general?

As for the rest of it – the Golf is still Volkswagen's most successful current franchise, and they won't be looking to scare off customers. So, expect The Golf's exterior to look like a modern and sleek evolution of the current Mk7.5. So. you get similar-looking side windows, a near-vertical tailgate and a fat C-pillar (all classic Golf styling cues). The biggest changes will be reserved for the headlights and DRLs, which will follow the Passat down a more stylised route.

The GTI and Golf R models will continue their well-established styling cues, too – so, expect tartan-patterned seats, and more elaborate front and rear LED light arrangements.

What engines can we expect?

  • 1.0 TSI  Least potent model gets 90hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder
  • 1.5 TSI  Mainstream petrol Golf available with 130hp and 150hp
  • 1.4 TSI PHEV  Plug-in hybrid models use new 1.4, rated at 150hp or 180hp
  • 1.5 TSI 48v mild hybrid  The high-tech fuel saver, with headline CO2 figure
  • 2.0 TDI diesel 115hp or 150hp because diesel isn't dead yet at Volkswagen
  • 2.0 TDI diesel hybrid Mild-hybrid assistance for the diesels, not to be confused with the 48v version above

Explained: 48-volt electrics

The Golf gets 48-volt electrics, which will form the centrepiece of its mild-hybrid drivetrain. What that means is the Mk8 Golf will have a second, much more powerful electrical system to supplement the 12-volt one common to almost all modern cars.

This will allow it to use a far more efficient hybrid system to supplement the conventional engine's output, lowering CO2 emissions and improving fuel economy. This technology will filter out to VW's other models, and will be sold alongside the ID range of pure electric vehicles.

Diesel hybrid version will also be available

Not to be confused with the 48-volt hybrid system mentioned above, the diesel hybrid is a lowlier 12-volt system yet promises up to a 10g/km improvement in CO2 emissions and up to 9% more power and torque than the diesels in the outgoing Golf. 

Power outputs are set to range between 136hp and 204hp. We've actually already driven the new 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine, which VW calls the EA888 Evo, in the Audi A6.

What else is new?

It’s all about the latest technology. The Mk8 Golf will feature significantly more computing power. According to Karlheinz Hell, head of VW compact series group, who is responsible for the project: ‘The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions.

'It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety.’

What about fast Golfs?

2019 VW Golf GTI badge

As we've already alluded to, it's highly likely the GTI and R will continue as is given their success and profitability, not to mention that they're core to the model's heritage. Our colleagues at CAR tell us that the GTI will come back with 235hp and will be available with a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch auto or six-speed manual transmission. Top speed is expected to be electronically limited to 155mph.

Joining the range will be a GTI Cup featuring a wilder bodykit and spoilers and a maximum power output of 290hp. Performance will be exciting, with a a 0-62mph time in the 5.5-second range. You will also be able to pay extra to have the top speed limiter removed, upping the maximum speed to 166mph.

Taking its place at the head of the range is the Golf R. Once again it's a four-wheel drive superhatch, this time developing 335hp via its seven-speed DSG. The 48-volt system with mild-hybrid technology should be available on all three high-end Golfs. With all carmakers desperately trying to lower CO2 output and improve the NOx and particulate emissions of their cars, this is seen as an essential move.

We’re expecting VW will persist with a number of bodystyles, including a Golf Estate and Golf SV, but there won't be a three-door model and given the introduction of the T-Roc Cabriolet, a soft-top Golf is highly unlikely. 

2019 VW Golf R badge

Will there be another e-Golf?

With the ID.3 forming the centrepiece of Volkswagen's battery-driven range of cars, it's unlikely that we'll see another e-Golf. This is because the company believes that it will get the most from its EVs by using an all-new and bespoke engineering base – and as the e-Golf is too close to a standard model, it will always be a bit of a compromise.

As ever, Parkers will be among the first to drive this all-new car.

Keep an eye out for the 2020 Volkswagen Golf review coming soon