Volkswagen – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Tue, 23 May 2017 14:12:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 First Drive: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-volkswagen-e-golf-review-first-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-volkswagen-e-golf-review-first-drive/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 13:29:35 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1162840 MALIBU, California — Siblings are funny things. They share DNA and similar upbringings, but kids raised in the same household are typically distinct. Take the siblings of the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf family. They’re all born of VW’s brilliant MQB architecture and seem nearly identical at first glance, but look closer and they’re as different as...

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MALIBU, California — Siblings are funny things. They share DNA and similar upbringings, but kids raised in the same household are typically distinct. Take the siblings of the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf family. They’re all born of VW’s brilliant MQB architecture and seem nearly identical at first glance, but look closer and they’re as different as spinach and ice cream.

The Golf R and GTI are the studs of their varsity squads, the rulers of the high school hallway. The base model Golf is the kid who’s liked by everyone who once took Mary Jane next door to a kegger and got to second base. Then there’s the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf, the freshman nerd that’s captain of the Model United Nations club and designated Dungeon Master of all Dungeons & Dragons tournaments. The funny thing about nerds, though, is that they tend to grow out of their awkward stage. After all, who would you rather be — the Al Bundy-esque captain of the high school football team reliving the faded glory days or Elon Musk?

For 2018 the e-Golf picks up additional power, and range improves to an EPA rating of 125 miles (up from 83 miles for the 2016 model), granting the e-Golf a 119-mpge city/highway rating. With this upgrade, the e-Golf’s range now bests that of two of its closest competitors, the 114-mile BMW i3 (118 mpge) and 107-mile Nissan Leaf (112 mpge). Interestingly, while the Volkswagen offers just a little more than half of the Chevy Bolt EV’s 238-mile range, the two receive the same 119-mpge rating.

Its impressive increase primarily comes courtesy of it’s lithium-ion battery pack, which has been increased in capacity from 24.2 kWh to 35.8 and now features improved chemistry. Horsepower and torque increase thanks to a 100-kW motor in place of the 2016 model’s 85-kW one, which sends 134 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels — an increase of 19 hp and 15 lb-ft

A 7.2-kW on-board charger now comes standard on all e-Golfs, which enables the battery to be fully charged in less than six hours at a 240-volt charging station. DC Fast Charge functionality is optional on the base SE trim and standard on both Limited Edition and SEL Premium trim levels; it can charge the battery to 80 percent within an hour. e-Golf owners have access to the ChargePoint network of public EV charging stations (the largest in the world), which boasts more than 34,000 ports across North America.

To see if the new bennies help make the e-Golf feel more like its big bros or not out on the open road, We set out on a leisurely drive from Los Angeles up the coast to Malibu. As expected, the e-Golf is solid for cruising through the city. It’s comfortable, easily maneuverable, and has the family’s good looks.

Out of the gate, the increased power is noticeable. It’s not launching like a Tesla Model S P100D, but it’s got nice acceleration thanks to all that instant torque. Then we hit 35 or 40 mph and, well, the asthma started kicking in. Its 0-to-60 mph time of 9.6 seconds is best described as leisurely. There are no fireworks here, but fireworks aren’t junior’s thing. Top speed is limited to 85 mph, so there’s not a lot of excitement happening on open straightaways. With the e-Golf being the responsible, straitlaced type, it suits.

If you want to make your e-Golf go even slower (and get more efficient), it has three modes that progressively dial back power in order to preserve energy: Normal, Eco, and Eco+. For example, power and top speed are limited to 74 hp, 129 lb-ft, and 56 mph in Eco+. There are also three different levels of regenerative braking (D1, D2, and D3/B) to choose from.

To get a better sense of how the e-Golf handles, we diverged from VW’s meticulously planned route and shot off into the tasty canyon roads above Malibu. It didn’t take many swooshing curves and tight bends to make the connection to the GTI and Golf R. The e-Golf’s instant torque partially made up for the battery’s extra battery heft, providing a bit of snap when exiting corners. Steering felt about as nimble and responsive as that of any other Golf we’ve driven, its anti-roll-bar-equipped strut-type front and multilink rear suspension doing its best to keep body roll to a minimum.

The e-Golf also comes with VW’s XDS Cross Differential System — one of those kick-ass hand-me-downs from its varsity Golf siblings. XDS is sort of an electronic substitute for a mechanical limited-slip differential that measures data from each wheel sensor; if it feels less pressure on one wheel than the other, the system applies braking to the driven inside wheel to reduce understeer. The result? Increased stability, pluckier handling, and improved cornering performance. Overall, our back road experience was decidedly Golf-y — that is, peppy and fun.

Aside from the mechanical goodies, the 2017 e-Golf is the first in the family to get a couple of new cosmetic upgrades that will be coming to the rest of its Golf bros for model year 2018. Restyled bumpers, grille, and front fenders, new color options, headlights, and revised interior trim, to name a few. Additionally, an 8-inch infotainment display replaces the 6.5-inch unit and Volkswagen’s Car-Net App Connect becomes standard.

The 2017 e-Golf will maintain the model’s signature C-shaped LED daytime running lights and can be had with optional LED headlights, which come standard on the SEL Premium trim. To make the kid feel like the rest of the gang, Volkswagen’s given the e-Golf a rear chrome trapezoidal “detail” element, which in you-and-me talk is a phony exhaust. This is about as purposeful in life as the dog-face Snapchat filter, but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t faked something on social media to make their life look more “normal,” so it’s hard to blame Volkswagen. Its goal was to create an EV that didn’t look like a spaceship or something out of the future, so we get the rationale.

For now, availability of the e-Golf will continue to be limited to just 10 coastal states, but Volkswagen is looking at the remaining 40 for future sales. For those who don’t feel comfortable driving an EV because they’re too “progressive,” remember, VW put that fake exhaust on there just for you so your neighbors will never know.

While we can’t tell you exactly how much of your allowance you’ll have to fork over to get your hands on a 2017 e-Golf because pricing isn’t available yet, expect it to run somewhere between $31,000 and $36,000, depending on trim level and before any tax incentives (the 2016 e-Golf starts at $29,815). That’s a fairly considerable premium over a base Golf, which can be had for a little over $20,000 (college is expensive these days), but the e-Golf’s EPA- estimated annual “fuel” cost of only $550 will leave enough in your pocket to occasionally splurge at the local comic book store.

With a total of eight All-Stars awards between them, Volkswagen GTI and Golf R have are clearly the star athletes of the family — at least for now. If the 2017 e-Golf is any indication, however, the Golf family’s parents will soon need to clear some space on the shelf as the nerdy sibling will only continue to grow as it matures.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf Specifications

ON SALE Fall 2017
PRICE $31,000 (base, est)
MOTOR Permanent-magnet synchronous A/C electric motor/134 hp, 214 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION 1-speed direct drive automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-motor, hatchback
EPA MILEAGE 126/111 mpge (city/hwy)
L x W x H 168.1 x 70.8 x 57.2 in
WHEELBASE 103.5 in
WEIGHT 3,455 lb
0-60 MPH 9.6 sec
TOP SPEED 85 mph

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Volkswagen Drops Five Concepts in Georgia http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-debuts-five-2017-concepts-savannah-georgia/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-debuts-five-2017-concepts-savannah-georgia/#respond Sat, 20 May 2017 22:01:31 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1162579 Volkswagen unveiled its enthusiast show fleet for 2017 at Southern Worthersee (SoWo): The European Experience on Hutchinson Island, Savannah, Georgia this weekend. The car enthusiast event is open to all European makes and models. In the past it was held in Helen, Georgia and is inspired by the famous car meeting in Reifnitz, Austria next...

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Volkswagen unveiled its enthusiast show fleet for 2017 at Southern Worthersee (SoWo): The European Experience on Hutchinson Island, Savannah, Georgia this weekend.

The car enthusiast event is open to all European makes and models. In the past it was held in Helen, Georgia and is inspired by the famous car meeting in Reifnitz, Austria next to Lake Worthersee.

There are hundreds of cars to check out at both shows, but here are five new models from VW that are worth a look. If you miss them at SoWo, they will be traveling around the country at other car shows this summer.

Golf R Heritage Concept

The Golf R Heritage concept sports a retro stripe package in the colors of the German flag with a white, lower rocker accent stripe pattern. It rides on Vossen VWS-1 wheels in matte gunmetal and polished anodized silver.

The wheels wear G-FORCE COMP-2 A/2 tires from BFGoodrich and the Golf has been lowered on sporty H&R Springs.

Golf GTI RS Concept

Sam Dobbins, Vossen Wheels creative guru, crafted this Golf GTI RS Concept with a Rocket Bunny widebody kit. Inside, the stripped down interior showcases a polished aluminum floorpan, and race-inspired red seats.

Dobbins’ concept rolls on Vossen wheels and features a Thule carrier box with custom, low-profile roof crossbars.

Jetta GLI Nardo Concept

The Jetta GLI Nardo Concept is wrapped in Nardo Gray and currently rides on FF01 Flow Form series HRE wheels finished in Tarmac.

The Nardo has an H&R Springs Street Performance Coil Over system and BFGoodrich G-FORCE COMP-2 A/S tires.

Beetle Post Concept

BMX rider Alise Post designed this concept based on the Beetle R-Line trim and added two custom GW bikes for the project.

The Habanero Orange Bug rolls on 19-inch Mr. Drama Queen wheels by Radi8, and uses an H&R Springs Street Performance Coil Over system to lower its stance.

Golf Alltrack Country Concept

The Golf Alltrack Country concept has all-wheel drive, a 2-inch suspension lift, and rolls on 15-inch wheels with BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. VW says additional fog lights are integrated into the lower bumper and a hitch-mounted Thule T2 Pro XT bike rack carries two Trek Stache 9.6 mountain bikes.

The crunchy concept comes with a roof-mounted tent system, topped with a flexible solar panel, curved LED light bar, and a solar-heated shower. Inside the trunk, there’s an integrated entertainment system, custom LED light bar, and three batteries that are charged via the solar panel. Nice.

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Volkswagen Up! to Offer GTI Version http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-gti-concept-agility-not-power/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-gti-concept-agility-not-power/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 17:50:42 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1162401 In honor of the original Golf GTI that debuted four decades ago, VW is spreading the GTI love to a new model. Unfortunately, that model is the Up! city car, meaning we’ll likely never see this GTI variant in the U.S. The Volkswagen Up! GTI concept isn’t nearly as quick or as powerful as the...

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In honor of the original Golf GTI that debuted four decades ago, VW is spreading the GTI love to a new model. Unfortunately, that model is the Up! city car, meaning we’ll likely never see this GTI variant in the U.S.

The Volkswagen Up! GTI concept isn’t nearly as quick or as powerful as the GTI we all know and love today. In Motor Trend tests, the current-generation VW Golf GTI hit 0-60 mph in as little as 5.7 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, but VW estimates the Up! version will take 8.8 seconds to reach 62 mph. And instead of producing between 210 and 220 hp, the Volkswagen Up! GTI makes just 113 hp from its small turbo engine.

Look closely at the numbers, and you’ll see the Up! GTI has much more in common with the 1976 model, which made 108 hp and hit 0-62 mph in a VW-estimated 9.0 seconds. The two feature similar dimensions, and top speed varies just slightly from 122 mph on the Up! GTI to 113 mph on the old Golf GTI. Although not quite as light as the original, the new model weighs a respectable 2,198 pounds. With a small body and a healthy 170 lb-ft of torque, the Up! GTI prioritizes go-kart agility over power.

Cosmetically, the model receives the GTI visual cues including red striping up front in addition to black striping on the sides and back. It also gets redesigned 17-inch alloy wheels, a larger roof spoiler, a special GTI logo, and a slightly lower ride height over the standard model. Inside the cabin, you’ll notice a leather-trimmed steering wheel, seats with the iconic “clark” pattern, and more GTI badging. It reminds us a bit of the #PinkBeetle sold here in the U.S.

The car will debut at the GTI Meet at Lake Wörthersee later this month. Although it’s just a concept for now, VW says a production version will go on sale in early 2018. Exterior color options will include red, white, silver, black, and blue.

Watch the hotted-up hatch race the original GTI in the video below.

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New Volkswagen Jetta Enters Production Later This Year http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-volkswagen-jetta-headed-production-this-year/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-volkswagen-jetta-headed-production-this-year/#respond Mon, 08 May 2017 15:16:40 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1159804 At an annual meeting in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen announced plans to start production on 10 new models this year, including a next-gen Jetta sedan. Having already launched the Atlas and Arteon earlier this year, VW will continue rolling out plenty of new products throughout the rest of 2017. In June, Volkswagen will start building a...

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At an annual meeting in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen announced plans to start production on 10 new models this year, including a next-gen Jetta sedan.

Having already launched the Atlas and Arteon earlier this year, VW will continue rolling out plenty of new products throughout the rest of 2017. In June, Volkswagen will start building a new Polo. Along with a Phideon PHEV for China, Volkswagen will launch the small T-Roc crossover this August, while the larger Touareg is scheduled to enter production this November. These two new models will help VW achieve its goal of offering 19 different SUVs by 2020.

Finally, VW will begin production on a new Jetta for North America this December. The small sedan hasn’t been fully redesigned since the 2011 model year, although it received a host of updates for 2016.

Shifting away from diesel cars that once defined its lineup, Volkswagen is making a big push toward electrification. By 2025, Volkswagen hopes to become the global market leader in electro-mobility, selling 1 million electric cars each year around the globe. The automaker has previewed its future EV offerings with the radical I.D. hatchback concept, I.D. crossover concept, and I.D. Buzz van concept.

Check out the video below to hear about VW’s complete product offensive for 2017.

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New Scenarios Emerge for Cash-Short Fiat Chrysler http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-scenarios-emerge-cash-short-fiat-chrysler/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-scenarios-emerge-cash-short-fiat-chrysler/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 14:14:12 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1157135 Funding new technologies is particularly difficult for cash-strapped contenders like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Although FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is pulling out all the stops to polish his financial legacy before his likely retirement in 2018, the notorious dealmaker may have to forge a major partnership to save the group from being split up or going...

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Funding new technologies is particularly difficult for cash-strapped contenders like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Although FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is pulling out all the stops to polish his financial legacy before his likely retirement in 2018, the notorious dealmaker may have to forge a major partnership to save the group from being split up or going under. The rumor mill at the 2017 New York auto show produced two intriguing scenarios, both of which of course are unconfirmed and totally hypothetical.

Option A: Fiat Auto becomes part of GM Europe, replacing Opel, while Chrysler would become part of GM North America. As for the remaining brands, Dodge would become the new Pontiac, Ram would be merged with GMC, and Jeep, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati would remain standalone brands — the latter likely prompting questions about the future of Cadillac.

Option B: A tie-up between FCA and Volkswagen North America. This arrangement would give Sergio’s team access to VW’s MEB modular electric car platform (perhaps on a pay per unit basis) while opening the Chrysler/Dodge sales channels to the Germans. In order to placate powerful dealer bodies, both parties would have to construct some kind of corporate merger that could be restricted to North America, sources say. A portion of a certain coveted Italian sports car brand [the one with a horse as its logo] would undoubtedly sweeten the deal.

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Volkswagen T-Roc Hits the Road in New Video http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-t-roc-teased-in-new-video/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-t-roc-teased-in-new-video/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:10:31 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1157142 After introducing the Atlas, Volkswagen is gearing up to launch the next model in its crossover offensive: the B-segment T-Roc. A new video shows the small crossover carving through desert back roads, hinting at the model’s performance off the beaten path. Although we’ve already seen the T-Roc with much less camouflage, it’s still unclear exactly what...

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After introducing the Atlas, Volkswagen is gearing up to launch the next model in its crossover offensive: the B-segment T-Roc. A new video shows the small crossover carving through desert back roads, hinting at the model’s performance off the beaten path.

Although we’ve already seen the T-Roc with much less camouflage, it’s still unclear exactly what to expect when it enters production. The video provides a few close-up shots of the grille, rear window spoiler, and other elements, and the model has clearly been toned down from the concept that debuted three years ago. The T-Roc will be almost 8 inches shorter than the outgoing Tiguan, while also measuring 6.4 inches lower and 0.4 inch wider. A range of gas and diesel engines will be available.

As revealed in the video description, the final version of the Volkswagen T-Roc will be shown in its full glory soon. Production on the new model is slated for the second half of this year. However, we still don’t know if it will make its way to the U.S. market.

Get a closer look at the new Volkswagen T-Roc in the video below.

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Volkswagen Shows Golf R Performance Package in New Video http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-shows-golf-r-performance-package-new-video/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-shows-golf-r-performance-package-new-video/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:45:40 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1155709 In a newly released video, Volkswagen has showcased the refreshed 2018 Golf R with its new Performance package option. To improve the car’s performance even further, the Performance package adds air curtains, a new rear spoiler that creates more downforce, high-performance brakes, and an Akrapovic titanium exhaust. Additionally, the Performance package disables the top speed...

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In a newly released video, Volkswagen has showcased the refreshed 2018 Golf R with its new Performance package option. To improve the car’s performance even further, the Performance package adds air curtains, a new rear spoiler that creates more downforce, high-performance brakes, and an Akrapovic titanium exhaust. Additionally, the Performance package disables the top speed limiter on your Golf R, allowing to to reach 267 km/h or roughly 166 mph.

The European-spec refreshed Golf R features a more powerful 306-hp version of the current car’s 2.0-liter turbo-four whereas the U.S.-spec car doesn’t get the power bump and retains its 292-hp output. However, in addition to the six-speed manual, the U.S.-spec car does receive the new seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox as an option, replacing the old six-speed unit. Additionally, the 2018 Golf family refresh gave the hot hatch a much needed infusion of new tech features in the form of Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit, which replaces traditional gauge clusters with a 12.3-inch multi-function display, and a new infotainment system with a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration plus an optional navigation system.

We reached out to Volkswagen for comment and learned that the Performance package will not be available for the U.S.-spec Golf R. Check out the video below to drool over this piece of hot hatch forbidden fruit.

Check out the video below.

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Volkswagen’s Re-Branding Strategy in Wake of Dieselgate Focuses on Sex, Crossovers http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagens-re-branding-strategy-wake-dieselgate-focuses-sex-crossovers/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagens-re-branding-strategy-wake-dieselgate-focuses-sex-crossovers/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:10:14 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1154114 With oceans of TDI-powered cars sitting in lots awaiting uncertain fates, the foul odor of deception lingering in the air, Volkswagen’s brand image is in worse shape than it has been in decades. But though the company is down, it’s not out — and it’s already fighting to make its comeback. To do so, it...

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With oceans of TDI-powered cars sitting in lots awaiting uncertain fates, the foul odor of deception lingering in the air, Volkswagen’s brand image is in worse shape than it has been in decades. But though the company is down, it’s not out — and it’s already fighting to make its comeback. To do so, it will need to rebrand itself and refocus its efforts on new territory.

That’s exactly what the brand is planning to do, according to Vinay Shahani, Senior Vice President of Marketing at VW of America, and Dr. Hendrik Muth, Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy. AUTOMOBILE sat down with Muth and Shahani during the 2017 New York auto show to learn more about the brand’s efforts at repairing its reputation, including the new product strategy that will be the centerpiece of the effort in North America.

First and foremost, a seachange in the way the U.S. and North American markets operate in relation to the home office in Wolfsburg is underway, and it’s leading to much greater autonomy in product planning and brand positioning. One of the primary aspects of the changes coming to Volkswagen in America is a more complete lineup of vehicles, starting with a renewed focus on crossovers, while preserving the fun-to-drive reputation won by its previous lineup of smaller cars. At the crest of that wave is the Atlas seven-passenger crossover, which is built around the same MQB platform that underpins the Golf.

2018-Volkswagen-Golf-front-three-quarter-12

To kick off the new Atlas family crossover and the broader range focus for the brand, Volkswagen is launching a series of ads with a somewhat racy theme, though presented as innocuously as possible: a sequence of progressively larger cars a-rocking as the family grows and upgrades from Jetta to Tiguan to Atlas. It’s a cute and humorous way to explain the brand’s increased span of family vehicles, but the cynical might see the jocular sexuality as a Trump-style distraction from the brand’s ongoing problems. Taking it at face value, however, it’s a tidy encapsulation of VW’s new direction in America.

“This is the year of SUVs,” said Shahani. “Volkswagen is moving from being a small-car manufacturer to more of a full-line, family-centric brand.”

Volkswagen is also acknowledging that it has had issues beyond just the Dieselgate fiasco, including consumer questions about reliability and value. To that end, a new six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper fully transferable warranty launched for the Atlas.

“There’s a statement that we came up with that really represents an internal mantra. This is not something that will be customer facing, but it describes what the brand stands for, and that is: well crafted, fun to be in, smart to own,” said Shahani.

“I think the warranty is a great proof point of ‘smart to own’,” Shanani said, “which helps us not only in peace of mind, confidence, but also value proposition. I would put along with this, pricing aggressively so we’re in the sweet spots of segments we play in.”

With this newfound greater autonomy for the American market and the greater focus on the larger crossovers that sell so well here, it seems possible that U.S. Volkswagens might evolve along a separate path from their global counterparts. When asked if American Volkswagens would be effectively balkanized, Shahani was quick to counter. “I think you’ll have some common denominator, like the Golf family, where Golf will continue to be a world car… Atlas is built on the MQB platform, and you amortize that investment across a lot of volume when you include products like Golf around the world.”

“Tiguan is maybe another good example where we still share and we use also the synergies that we have, being a global company,” added Muth. “But we still say, for our market, we have a longer-wheelbase Tiguan because we have different requirements, whereas in the European market version, we have the normal wheelbase, because of their space and parking requirements.”

Dr Hendrik Muth

“You have to look at what’s happening in China, as well,” interjected product and technology communications manager Mark Gillies. “So, the Tiguan long-wheelbase was also being built in China, and their priority is back-seat room, for instance. Our priority is a mixture of cargo space and back-seat room, so a long-wheelbase Tiguan works equally well for the U.S. and for China.”

“Obviously we’re one brand globally, so we’re never going to have completely different positioning around the world,” said Shahani. “But it’s important to note that the reasons for rejection for the brand in the U.S. were distinctly different than that of other parts of the world. For example the proof point of the warranty is totally appropriate and needed in terms of the conquest that’s required for some of these new vehicles, and that’s not needed in other parts of the world.”

If all this talk about bigger and longer crossovers makes you wonder about the future of the sedan at Volkswagen, with much-beloved models like the Jetta and Passat, you’re not alone. But Volkswagen thinks there’s still a future for sedans, especially in the sense of playing in the more full-line, family oriented space.

“The segment is of course under pressure, it’s a very competitive segment,” said Muth. “But let’s also not forget that midsize sedans are still one of the biggest segments in the market…If we want to be a family brand, have this coverage, we have to play in the segment. What the long term is, I think this move from the midsize sedans to compact SUVs is still ongoing, but with a very competitive offer, we can still be very successful in this key segment.”

Whether the Atlas will get the traction VW desires, and whether the brand as a whole can successfully rinse away the bad taste left by Dieselgate remains to be seen. But the transition from smaller European-market-driven cars to larger, American-style crossovers does make us wonder how many Volkswagens will still be interesting in five or ten years, and how many will have rolled down the sad, slow road to boring. At the least, it looks like the Golf will carry the flag of the fun, smart, high-quality cars we’ve come to know and love from VW.

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Quick Take: 2018 Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Euro-Spec http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-volkswagen-golf-1-5-tsi-euro-spec-review-quick-take/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-volkswagen-golf-1-5-tsi-euro-spec-review-quick-take/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:54:46 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1152161 Gone from the European-market brochure for the facelifted 2018 Volkswagen Golf are the four 1.2- and 1.4-liter engine options. In their place, we find two 1.0-liter three-cylinder units plus a pair of late-arriving 1.5-liter turbo fours. We tried the 148-hp version of the 1.5-liter, which is about on par with its predecessor in terms of...

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Gone from the European-market brochure for the facelifted 2018 Volkswagen Golf are the four 1.2- and 1.4-liter engine options. In their place, we find two 1.0-liter three-cylinder units plus a pair of late-arriving 1.5-liter turbo fours. We tried the 148-hp version of the 1.5-liter, which is about on par with its predecessor in terms of performance and consumption.

From behind the wheel, one is hard pressed to tell the difference between old and new. Subjectively, the 1.5-liter is a little quieter and smoother, and the transmissions seem to be somewhat better matched to its torque characteristics.

Even though this Golf is not the rubber burning type, it offers maximum torque where it matters, namely in the 1,500 to 3,500 rpm bracket. As a result, it spares you unpleasantries like turbo lag, reluctant tip-in, or the need to downshift early. True, the absolute performance figures (0 to 60 mph in roughly 8.1 seconds, 135 mph top speed) are not the stuff wet dreams are made of. But in real life, you never get the feeling you’re being short-changed. Fact is, not once did I wish that this Golf were diesel-engined. But I missed the GTI.

2018 Volkswagen Golf European Spec rear three quarter

Autonomous Driving, the Prequel

The new Golf democratizes advanced active and passive safety. For around $1,900, VW will install just about every conceivable driver assistance system available in this vehicle segment. The Plus Pack includes for example adaptive cruise control, LED headlamps with Dynamic Light Assist, blind spot detection, lane assist, front assist with emergency braking in town and park assist. Golfs equipped with the DSG transmission also get traffic jam assist, which marks the first step toward allowing the car to do its own thing. At speeds up to 38 mph, a thus equipped Golf will stay in lane, follow the car ahead, and keep its distance. While lane assist is in charge of changing direction, ACC maintains the correct pace.

Should the driver fall asleep at the wheel, the system will go through different warning stages before decelerating the vehicle to a halt, hazards flashing. Despite its complexity, the system works as intended — at least as long as you don’t expect the car to automatically take a 90-degree turn at a light, assume full control of accelerator and brakes, and to find a safe parking spot at the end of that emergency stopping maneuver.

2018 Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Specifications

ON SALE Summer 2017 (est)
PRICE $20,000 (est)
ENGINE 1.5L turbocharged 16-valve DOHC I-4
148 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm, 184 lb-ft @ 1,500-3,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual, 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
LAYOUT 2- or 4-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback
EPA MILEAGE N/A
L x W x H 167.6 x 70.5 x 56.8 in
WHEELBASE 103.1 in
WEIGHT 2,853 lb
0-60 MPH 8.1 sec (est)
TOP SPEED 134 mph

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Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Crossover Concept Debuts at 2017 Shanghai Auto Show http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-d-crozz-crossover-concept-debuts-2017-shanghai-auto-show/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-d-crozz-crossover-concept-debuts-2017-shanghai-auto-show/#respond Tue, 18 Apr 2017 17:08:14 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1152263 Volkswagen introduced its third I.D. concept, a Tesla-fighting crossover utility vehicle (CUV) named I.D. Crozz, at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. The fun, futuristic VW with a low roofline, big wheels, and a glowing badge logo is based off the company’s new Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) electric vehicle architecture. It follows the debut of...

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Volkswagen introduced its third I.D. concept, a Tesla-fighting crossover utility vehicle (CUV) named I.D. Crozz, at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show.

The fun, futuristic VW with a low roofline, big wheels, and a glowing badge logo is based off the company’s new Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) electric vehicle architecture. It follows the debut of the I.D. in Paris in 2016 and I.D. Buzz in Detroit this year.

VW claims that the I.D. Crozz delivers 302 horsepower from its two electric motors, has a top speed of 112 mph, and a range of 311 miles on single battery charge. It can be driven in electric all-wheel drive when going off-road or in the snow thanks to the 201-hp rear motor and 101-hp coaxial drive system up front.

The 83-kWh lithium-ion batteries are stored beneath the length of the cabin’s floor, which provides a balanced 48/52 percent front/rear weight distribution. This allows the CUV to offers handling characteristics similar to a Golf GTI, VW claims.

Volkswagen ID Crozz Concept rear three quarter 05

A sophisticated multi-link rear and strut-type front suspension with electronic damping and decoupled subframes helps provide the sporty handling. VW states that the I.D. Crozz, which rides on a 109.2-inch wheelbase, is 182.1 inches long, 74.4 inches wide, and 63.3 inches tall. The concept offers the same amount of interior space as a 2018 Tiguan SUV while being 3 inches shorter, 1.9 inches lower, and 2.2 inches wider.

“For us, the three prototypes of this new generation of zero-emission vehicles… mark the start of a design and technology revolution that is going to change individual mobility and the Volkswagen brand forever,” said Klaus Bischoff, VW design head, in a statement.

We imagine Bischoff said this before a very large, cheering audience in Shanghai too.

Volkswagen ID Crozz Concept dashboard

VW says that when the I.D. Crozz is in I.D. Pilot mode, it can drive itself autonomously. I.D. Pilot is estimated to roll out sometime around 2025.

Other bold claims by the German automaker state that the four-door can be charged up to 80 percent in only 30 minutes using a 150 kW DC fast charger.

Aside from the nifty, illuminated VW badge up front, the concept sports interactive LED headlights that can blink, wink, and emulate the human eye (Interactive Spotlight).

Inside the modern cockpit features an augmented reality head-up display, active info display, infotainment tablet, video mirrors, and door panel controls.

VW says the “multifunctional steering wheel retracts into the dashboard and fuses with the digitalized instruments (Active Info Display) to form a single unit. In both automatic and manual mode the driver also receives speed and navigation information via an augmented reality head-up display.”

The concept features a flexible interior for passengers and hauling stuff with numerous layout configurations and large doors that swing or slide open. Its front doors open at a 90-degree angle thanks to no B-pillars that get in your way.

Volkswagen ID Crozz Concept interior overview 04

VW’s fantasy crossover EV also features a customized in-car climate “CleanAir” system to provide “air quality like that in the Himalayas” even if you a stuck in Shanghai traffic.

On top of that, there are digital door panels for rear-seat occupants that appear to be suspended in midair and are used to operate the electrically actuated doors, the central locking system, and the electric windows. VW also claims that each passenger is also able to individually regulate his or her climate zone. Kids, you know what this means — no more fighting!

Another amazing feature is the illuminated panoramic roof with a virtual blind that is opened and closed by gesture control.

“A carpet of light produced by LED strips then glides across the roof liner, thus brightening up the interior. The strips of light in the roof are visible from the outside, too. The gesture control system’s commands are similar to those for a traditional sliding roof: a short, sharp movement of the hand opens or closes the blind completely, while a slow gesture on the other hand moves the carpet of light seamlessly until it reaches the desired position.”

VW also says the I.D. Crozz will also able to send and receive packages, while you are out and about — perhaps taking your jet pack in for servicing.

According to Volkswagen, the 18.2 cubic foot trunk acts as the post box for a new “delivery service” where “an agent is able to locate the car by GPS and is granted temporary permission to open the trunk via an app. The owner of the I.D. Crozz is then notified via an app or e-mail as soon as the parcel has been delivered.”

Volkswagen ID Crozz Concept front three quarter 01

Oh, imagine the security issues with that one. Volkswagen says it is currently developing a fleet of electric vehicles that will start full production in a few years.

“By 2025, we want to have sales of pure electric vehicles up to one million units a year. The I.D. Crozz will play a key role in that. Production will start in 2020,” said Herbert Diess, VW chairman of the board of Management, in a release.

We can’t wait. Hopefully, at the next big auto show, we can expect to see a Volkswagen that can even fly itself too. Give Elon Musk a call; maybe he can give you a hand with that.

Volkswagen ID Crozz Concept front three quarter 02

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