It may seem like the current VW Golf debuted not long ago — the model has been on sale since 2012 — but Volkswagen is already planning for the start of production of its successor. The automaker revealed that production of the eighth-generation Golf will begin in June 2019, just 75 weeks away, and also dropped a few hints about what the next iteration of its popular hatch will offer at the Golf 8 Supplier Summit, which brought together 120 key manufacturers of components for the upcoming model.
The next-gen Golf will be based on an evolution of the MQB platform, and it will feature a drastically new interior design. VW design boss Klaus Bischoff indicated in recent weeks that the new Golf will feature a completely rethought cabin, with a fully digital instrument panel and other digital features crowding out analog components.
When it comes to powertrains, Volkswagen plans to incorporate mild-hybrid systems into the gasoline engine range, aiming to achieve diesel-like fuel efficiency with electrification, as well as engine-off coasting and cylinder-shutdown technology previewed in the 1.5 TSI Bluemotion version of the current Golf. This doesn’t mean that all gasoline-engined Golfs will feature mild-hybrid assist, but we’re expecting that at least some of the models will offer this option.
The powertrain option that the next Golf is not likely to offer will be the e-Golf — this model is expected to disappear as VW focuses on the I.D. lineup, which will be nothing but electric vehicles. Expect to see an all-new hatchback sometime after 2019 that will pick up the role of the four-door electric hatch; this should be among the first of the I.D. models.
When it comes to exterior design, expect to see an evolution of the sharper details that VW has given its most recent models, including the Arteon. We’re expecting the eighth-generation Golf to trade its large headlights for narrower units and to feature a more detailed grille dominated by repeating horizontal lines. Wolfsburg has opted to play it safe with the 2019 Jetta. Unveiled earlier this month, it features a relatively wide grille and tall headlights. It remains to be seen how much of a design risk VW is willing to take with the new Golf model, but recent VW passenger cars have been fairly restrained.
In the realm of safety technology, expect to see an evolution of the advanced driver-assist tech that Volkswagen has offered in its current models, such as the Traffic Jam Assist system that already controls most operating functions under 37 mph. VW is likely to take this a step further, offering a semi-autonomous package that will control steering, braking, and acceleration at higher speeds, likely at the stage of Level 3 autonomy.
Advanced safety and driver-assist tech also means connectivity, and in this regard, VW has promised nothing short of an always-online approach.
“The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions,” said Karlheinz Hell, head of the compact series group at Volkswagen. “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.”
“Together with the I.D family, the introduction of the upcoming Golf generation will be the most strategically important product launch for the brand,” said VW board member for procurement Ralf Brandstatter.