2015 Volkswagen Golf

TSI Launch Edition FWD 2-Dr Hatchback I4 man trans

2015 volkswagen golf Reviews and News

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Front Three Quarter Motion Crop
Mac Morrison, Executive Editor
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is a handsome, unflashy, pleasant-to-drive car that offers a nice level of utility. The cabin boasts a fair amount of room in both front and back, with a six-foot tall passenger able to sit reasonably comfortably behind a similarly sized driver.
Perforated, surprisingly well-bolstered seats are comfortable and supportive, offering a range of riding and driving positions to accommodate passengers of various sizes. Handy levers located in the cargo area provide quick rear-seat folding, and I appreciated the design’s simplicity and effectiveness. The interior features a somewhat mixed bag of soft-touch finishes and hard plastic; faux carbon fiber and piano black trim add to a clean overall look. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a nice touch, though I’d like it even more if it was slightly thicker. Likewise, the thin vinyl boots for the handbrake and gear level look and feel cheap.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Cabin 02
We sampled both the TSI and TDI; both versions are quiet and perform well, but for the scant $1,000 premium the diesel-engine SportWagen carries, I’d stump for the oil-burner -- especially if I planned to load the Golf with people and cargo. The standard 1.8-liter turbo gasoline engine delivers some useable mid-range pull, but the diesel’s better torque and better fuel economy make it a no-brainer.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Rear Three Quarter 03
No, the Golf SportWagen is not a Golf GTI. Its suspension setup is less aggressive, naturally, but it provides a good compromise between body control and ride comfort. There is not a lot of harshness on good to mediocre roads, though there is a little bit of wallow in quick transitions such as abrupt lane changes and similar maneuvers, noticeable mostly over heaves and compressions. Ride quality overall is good, but on bumpy roads the damping feels a bit overwhelmed, transferring some of the bumpiness into the cabin. As for braking, I found it easy to be smooth even though you need to push the pedal a bit before the pads bite.
In terms of spirited driving, the SportWagen does not want you to hustle it as much as it wants you to drive smoothly, rewarding a momentum-maintaining driving style with solid manners. Hardly exciting, but the sum of its parts make it an ideal vehicle for those living a suburban lifestyle who need their car to deliver a large dose of real-world useability.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Front Three Quarter 05
Jake Holmes, Daily News Editor
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is one of those "just right" cars that does a great job of blending practicality and utility with solid driving feel. It's so much better to drive than even the best small crossovers that there's no question I'd rather have the Volkswagen. Just as with other versions of the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf, the SportWagen makes every trip fun and easy. You enjoy ample visibility out of the large windows, a maneuverable chassis that belies the car's length, great soundproofing that keeps the rumble of passing cars muted, and a really comfortable ride.
The Golf SportWagen does all this without floating or wandering around bends. Its engine and transmission never whine or drone. And its interior design and quality is unmatched in the compact crossover segment; the SportWagen's cabin could almost pass for an Audi. Other perks include rear seats that are extremely easy to fold (they don't even pinch the seatbelts when you raise them again), a very intuitive touchscreen infotainment system, and outstanding fuel efficiency in the TDI diesel model.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Headlight
Of course, the things that have always hurt station wagons’ success in the U.S. will still hamper this model's sales. Because it's a car rather than a crossover, you don't sit six feet off the ground, which will perturb drivers who grew up in Explorers and Grand Caravans. You can't get all-wheel drive (yet -- it's coming soon to the U.S. market), which is apparently a necessity even for crossover buyers who live outside the Snowbelt. And although the cargo area is extremely spacious with the rear seats raised or lowered, you still don't get the load height afforded by taller crossovers. In other words, good luck fitting a La-Z-Boy in your SportWagen's hatch.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Wheel
David Zenlea, Senior Editor
In practical terms for many people, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is just about all they will ever need when it comes to personal transportation. I folded down the rear seat and stowed my bike easily in back -- in fact it was easier to load than a crossover because of the low rear bumper. Outward visibility is better than any new car I’ve driven recently, thanks to thin A-pillars and upright C-pillars.
I like the steering’s weight and found the car easy and enjoyable to chuck into corners. There’s a decreasing radius ramp I like to tackle, and many front-wheel-drive cars and crossovers understeer over it; in the Golf, I just breathed off the throttle for a second and it tucked-in perfectly. No, as mentioned, it’s not a GTI wagon -- enthusiasts will have to keep asking for one -- but it’s far more enjoyable to drive than most vehicles with this much space inside.
Eric Weiner, Daily News Editor
Like the standard Golf, there’s a lot to love about the larger Golf Sportwagen -- a very simple and well-built car that drives confidently and comfortably. I like the thick rimmed and flat-bottomed steering wheel, the easy-to-read gauges, and the supportive seats, especially. And for all the extra cargo space you get compared to the standard Golf (7.6 cu ft more in the trunk and 13.5 cu ft more with the seats folded), the Golf Sportwagen feels almost exactly the same to drive. Once or twice I actually forgot I was driving the wagon until I looked in the rear-view mirror.
There aren’t really any cars out there at this price point that are quite like it. You’ll have to shell out a lot more money for a BMW 3 Series wagon, or Volvo V60, and even the Subaru Outback and XV Crosstrek have much more crossover-like proportions and attitude. I would always prefer the wagon to any kind of crossover for daily use, but realistically, VW will probably have a lot more success with the upcoming Golf Alltrack. That car, as incapable as it is of actually off-roading, is a much more enticing option because of its standard all-wheel drive and more striking, tougher looks. As good as the Sportwagen is, it looks like it easily could have come out 5 years ago, and that tells me it isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off in a showroom.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Side Profile 04
Joey Capparella, Daily News Editor
The Golf SportWagen’s packaging is possibly this Volkswagen’s greatest asset. The low cowl combines with big glass areas to make this car exceptionally easy to see out of. And everything just feels like it’s in the right place, from the climate controls to the shifter to the pedals. I also think that the cargo area is more usable than many crossovers, because it has such a low, flat floor and a wide liftgate opening.

After driving both the 1.8T and TDI engines, I think the diesel is the way to go. It just makes the car so effortless to drive, as the torque delivery is smooth and linear and the manual shifter and clutch are forgiving.

Yes, $30,000 is nothing to scoff at, but the Golf Sportwagen’s great execution makes it feel worth it. It’s hard to come up with downsides for this car -- it gets great fuel economy, has tons of space inside, looks relatively stylish, and has a very well-built interior.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Front Three Quarter In Motion 07

2015 Golf SportWagen TSI SEL/TDI SEL Specifications Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $30,165/$31,855 base/as tested, TSI; $31,165/$32,855 base/as tested, TDI
Engines: 1.8L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/170 hp @ 4,500 rpm, 199 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm; 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/150 hp @ 3,500 rpm, 236 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic, 6-speed manual
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD wagon
EPA Mileage: 25/35 mpg TSI, 31/43 mpg TDI (city/hwy)
Suspension F/R: Strut-type, coil springs/multilink, coil springs (SportWagen TSI), torsion beam, coil springs (SportWagen TDI)
Brakes F/R: Vented discs/discs
Tires F/R: 225/40R-18
L x W x H: 179.6 x 70.8 x 58.3 in
Wheelbase: 103.5/103.7 in (TSI/TDI)
Headroom F/R: 38.6/38.6 in
Legroom F/R: 41.2/35.6 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 55.9/53.9 in
Cargo Room: 30.4 cu ft
Weight: 3,063-3,246 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: N/A
0-60 MPH: N/A
1/4-Mile: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SEL Front Three Quarter In Motion 01
Twenty percent of Americans who buy a Volkswagen order it with a diesel engine. Is that because they're the sort of soy-milk-sipping, socialism-endorsing weirdos who secretly wish they lived in Europe? Perhaps. More likely, it's because they recognize that Volkswagen TDI models provide a sweet balance between performance and efficiency.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SEL Side Profile In Motion 01
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI doesn't just win us over because we can average more than 40 mpg on the way to work without even trying. There's also an eager punch to this turbodiesel engine that helps us feel like we can tear past traffic at will. With only 150 hp, the Golf TDI is one of the slower compact hatchbacks on sale today. But the 2.0-liter engine’s 236 lb-ft of torque, at your disposal from just 1,750 rpm, provides instant acceleration in the real world. With its greater low-end torque and six-speed manual (instead of the gasoline model's five-speed), this engine is far more peppy to drive than the gasoline-powered Golf TSI.
In all respects, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI is one of the most pleasant ways to get a 45-mpg EPA highway rating. The taut sheetmetal and tidy, logical interior could pass muster in an Audi showroom. The near $30,000 sticker on this SEL model is pricey for the compact segment, but it includes nearly every high-tech feature we’d want: forward-collision warning, touchscreen navigation, push-button start, satellite radio, and heated seats. It also has European poise you won’t find in other small cars. The Golf filters out bumps and road noise far better than the Mazda3, the most fun-to-drive mainstream hatch in this segment, but the suspension is still game to play if you want to flick the car through a roundabout.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SEL Cockpit
Buying a Golf TDI to save money at the pump, however, does require some careful calculations. During our test, a gallon of diesel cost an average of 46 cents more than a gallon of gas nationwide, and Volkswagen charges some $1,350 more for diesel Golfs than an equivalent gas model. But the diesel’s fuel-economy advantage is significant enough -- 36 mpg combined in EPA testing compared with 30 mpg combined for the gas model -- that it should still be cheaper to drive a diesel Golf over the long run. In our long-term tests of diesel-powered Volkswagens, a 2009 Jetta TDI and a 2012 Passat TDI, we have found the ownership costs to be exceptionally low.
There is quite literally a Golf for any driving style and price point, from the $18,815 base TSI to the 292-hp R, and each version is a standout in its segment. But more so than any other variant, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI strikes us as the ideal car for commuters because it best exemplifies the Golf's virtues: efficiency, quality, comfort, and fun.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SEL Front Three Quarter 03

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SEL Specifications

Price: $29,215/$29,510 (base/as tested)
Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve turbodiesel I-4/150 hp @ 3,500 rpm, 236 lb-ft @ 1,750-3,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback
EPA Mileage: 30/45/36 mpg (city/highway/combined)
L x W x H: 167.5 x 70.8 x 57.2 in
Wheelbase: 103.8 in
Weight: 3,080 lb
Headroom(first/second row): 38.4/38.1 in
Legroom(first/second row): 41.2/35.6 in
Shoulder room(first/second row): 55.9/53.9 in
Cargo room(behind second/first row): 22.8/52.7 cu ft
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Front Three Quarter In Motion 05
JULIAN, California – Our convoy of 2015 Volkswagen Golf R hatches blasts along thinly trafficked canyon roads just outside San Diego. We’ve sampled the hot hatch a handful of times in the past year, but only European-spec cars and only on racetracks. Now, just as the Golf R hits showrooms, we’re getting a shot at the U.S. version on the types of roads American enthusiasts will drive.
A stretch of empty, flowing pavement ahead coaxes us to break from the pack. Tipping the paddles elicits an instant, precise shift. You can have your Golf R with a manual transmission -- Volkswagen expects about half of Golf R owners will once the 2016 model arrives in September -- but the DSG-equipped R is just as fun as the stick-shift models we drove on tracks, and it’s quicker to 60 mph by almost half a second.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Rear Three Quarter In Motion 02

Larger air intakes, quad exhausts, sport seats, and a lower stance set the Golf R apart from other Golfs.
We roll on the accelerator, and the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R flicks forward, its 2.0-liter turbo-four pulling persistently through the rev range. We continue accelerating through a switchback, the Golf R’s chassis soaking up the quick transitions, thanks in part to its adaptive suspension.
Dynamic Chassis Control, never before offered on U.S.-market Golfs, is available only on the higher of the Golf R’s two trims. It allows the driver to adjust the car’s ride and handling. We’re in Race, the most aggressive of three modes, which stiffens up the rear dampers and virtually eliminates body roll and pitching.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Cockpit 02

Paying for the adaptive suspension also gets you 19-inch wheels, touchscreen navigation, and an upgraded Fender sound system.
The Golf R grips hard and is never unsettled when the road goes off-camber or dips or crests. Hit the gas, and the 4Motion all-wheel drive digs in to push the car out of corners without a hint of wheel spin. The Golf R is so fast, unflappable, and confidence-inspiring that the bright-yellow advisory speed signs don’t get a second thought.
A Subaru WRX STI or a BMW M235i would be more precise weapons for attacking these apexes, but the former is cruder for the same price and the latter considerably more expensive.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Front Three Quarter 02
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, though, with its spacious interior, plentiful standard equipment, and Audi-stylish looks, is an astounding, affordable performance car that doesn’t compromise livability.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R with DCC and Navigation Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $37,415/$39,910 (base/as tested)
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/292 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD hatchback
EPA Mileage: 23/30 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H: 168.4 x 70.8 x 56.5 in
Wheelbase: 103.5 in
Weight: 3,283 lb
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Front Three Quarter In Motion 3
BUTTONWILLOW, California - While there are many great things about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, Michael Klopotowski knows which change will really please VW fans.
“We can finally disable the DSC (dynamic stability control),” the Volkswagen of America product marketer says, adding with a smile, “For track purposes only, of course.”
VW fanboys have long hammered Volkswagen over the fact that you can't turn off the electronic safety nets in the Golf R (or the GTI), but the reality is people still lined up to buy the hot hatch. Volkswagen intended to bring only 5,000 Golf Rs to the States annually but outsold that by 10 percent in 2012 and 2013. Undefeatable DSC didn't make the Golf R any less desirable.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Passenger Profile In Motion 3
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is now built on the MQB chassis that underpins all other seventh-generation Golfs, including the AUTOMOBILE All-Star 2015 Golf GTI. Under the hood, the EA888 2.0-liter turbo-four from the new GTI has been reworked with a larger turbocharger, a new head, improved direct injection, and new pistons, pushing output to 292 hp and 280 lb-ft -- increases of 72 hp and 28 lb-ft over a GTI with the Performance Package. The output is also up 36 hp and 37 lb-ft over the previous Golf R's EA113 engine.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Cockpit
The Haldex all-wheel-drive system is revised and now saves fuel by operating primarily in front-wheel drive. The rear axle is disengaged until the computer detects the front tires slipping, at which point as much as 50 percent of the engine's torque can be shuffled to the back. The change helps improve fuel economy, and the highway figure on manual models rises 3 mpg to a respectable 30 mpg. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R sits 0.2 inch lower than the GTI and has stiffer anti-roll bars, with optional adaptive rear dampers, and its brakes come from the GTI performance pack. Four driving modes include Comfort, Sport, Individual, and Race settings, the latter the only one in which the DSC can be turned all the way off.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Front View In Motion

Buttoned-down at Buttonwillow

After some warm-up laps, it's time to put the hammer down around Buttonwillow Raceway Park's Race No. 13 layout. The new engine has the instant, smooth power delivery we know and love from the GTI, but with a noticeable amount of extra punch. Although the redline is marked at 7,500 rpm, output tapers past 6,200 and the rev limiter intervenes by 6,800 rpm. Not that you need to push the engine that high, because the broad torque band means you can lap the entire track in third and fourth gears without wanting for power anywhere in the rev range.
We're driving European-spec Golf Rs that have a six-speed manual transmission, which has the direct, notchy feel we love. The stick won't be offered in the States until the 2016 model Golf R goes on sale this coming fall. The 2015 version, available starting in February, comes only with Volkswagen's six-speed DSG dual-clutch. When they arrive, the manual models will be $1,100 cheaper than those with the DSG.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Rear Three Quarter In Motion
Despite the slightly more aggressive suspension tuning, the Golf R retains the compliance and smoothness that help make the GTI so livable. The way the car stays planted and composed through the track's blind crests and quick transitions gives you confidence to push harder on the next lap; you can hop a front tire over the curbing without the car getting the least bit out of sorts. Strong brakes with consistent feel let you dig deep into corners. Rather than being boring, this is the sort of capable track experience that keeps goading us to go faster, bringing on smiles as we pick up speed on each successive lap.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Engine
Before you write letters complaining that the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R defaults to front-wheel drive, know that the Haldex system's magic is plenty evident. You can power out of a corner long before the steering wheel is straight without fear of understeer, tightening the car's line thanks to the added nudge of the rear wheels. Volkswagen's brake-based “differential” systems squeeze the rotors to reduce understeer as well, but the effect of the Haldex system is to make the Golf R notably tidier and quicker under power.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Front Three Quarter In Motion 4
What other car drives like this for the price? With the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo departing, there's only one turbocharged all-wheel-drive performance compact in this segment. The Subaru WRX STI is a little rowdier and more communicative on the track, but its rally genes annoy on public roads. Klopotowski also cites the BMW 2 Series as a rival, but the rear-drive coupe is a fair bit costlier than the Golf R when equipped similarly. The Audi S3 is an in-house rival that packs essentially the same engine, transmission, and chassis as the Golf R into a luxury wrapper for, again, a higher price.

Golf in translation

Although nearly all American-spec Golfs come from a new plant in Puebla, Mexico, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R (as well as the e-Golf) is shipped over from Germany, so there are some peculiarities as to how this car can be optioned. Only a four-door, no-sunroof bodyshell has been certified for import to the U.S. from Wolfsburg, and the Golf R comes standard with a Euro-market electric parking brake instead of the manual one fitted to our GTIs.
As we've seen so often before with hot German cars, some of the best bits get left behind in Deutschland. The cool smoked LED taillights on our Euro-spec testers haven't been legally approved for use in America. Likewise, U.S.-spec Golf Rs won't have the stop-start, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, and satin-chrome mirrors on these test cars.
But we don't really care. What is retained makes the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R supercool: great-looking wheels, a cool, new front fascia with intakes gasping for air, supportive leather seats that aren't too snug for the two-hour highway drive from downtown Los Angeles, blue instrument needles, and as many exhaust tips as driven wheels. This year's Golf R is better-equipped than ever, with push-button start, Bluetooth, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights, auto climate control, and a backup camera all standard. The only other trim level, the Golf R with DCC and Navi, tacks on 19-inch wheels, navigation, parking sensors, adaptive suspension, and a Fender audio system. We could easily be satisfied with the base model, saving $2,495.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is improved in every way: It’s faster and has more grip, better fuel economy and additional equipment. As always, the Golf R commands a significant premium over a GTI, but it's worth it for the extra performance. This is a car you could drive every single day of the year, whether hitting the track, slogging through miserable weather, or making a cross-country trip. It's that well-rounded.
And did we mention the news about the stability control?

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Specifications

On Sale: February 2015
Base price: $37,415
Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve I-4/292 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD hatchback
Fuel mileage (city/highway): 23/31 mpg
Suspension f/r: Damper struts, control arms, coil springs/control arms, coil springs
Brakes: Vented discs
Tires f/r: 225/40R18 (92H)/235/35R19 (91Y)
L x W x H: 167.9 x 70.8 x 56.5 in
Wheelbase: 103.5 in
Weight: 3,340 lb
0-60 mph: 4.9 sec
Top speed: 155 mph
2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI Front End In Motion
As we’re steaming down the road in the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI, compact sport-utility vehicles surround us. Hardly anyone spares a glance for the Golf, and yet this is the very thing for which they’ve been looking -- an affordable, fuel-efficient utility vehicle.
In the midst of observing the 60th anniversary of this and the 50th anniversary of that, we’ve forgotten that 2015 is the 40th anniversary of the Volkswagen Golf’s arrival in the United States. And it turns out that when Giorgetto Giugiaro and VW collaborated on the two-box hatchback shape for the Golf back in the 1970s, they established a formula for the utility car that is perfect for today.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI Rear Three Quarters

Right in front of your face

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is built with VW’s MQB architecture, a platform from which many of the company’s vehicles will be derived in the future. You’ll recognize the seventh-generation Golf because it looks more like a car and less like the box it came in. The shape is longer, lower, and wider than before, as if the spirit of GM’s Harley Earl had possessed the VW design studio.
But in the spirit of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, you’ll best understand 2015 Golf by measuring it from the inside, not the outside. Interior passenger volume now measures 93.5 cubic feet, though this is only a fractional increase over the previous car’s 92.9 cubic feet, because headroom has decreased about an inch even as shoulder room front and rear have increased about the same amount. Just as you’d expect from a utility-shape box, the Golf can carry stuff. The opening into the cargo area is 1.9 inches wider than before, and you find an adjustable-height cargo floor and a lower liftover height. Behind the rear seat, there’s 13.7 cubic feet of storage up to the height of the package shelf, then 52.7 cubic feet of storage capacity once you flip down the 60/40-split folding rear seat.

Drives like a car, a very nice car

Because the Golf is a car and not an SUV, consumers expect the Golf to have a small price tag, not a large one. But when they pay just $18,995 for the two-door Golf S, they complain that it doesn’t match a compact SUV for features. In the process, they conveniently ignore the fact that you can’t get much of an SUV at this price point either.
But once you step up to the $27,815 Golf SEL, you’ll be amazed that paying the price of a typical compact SUV brings you a package that combines the practicality of the blessed box with the personality of the 2015 GTI. The interior is spacious, the driving position is superb, and everything looks great. Even better, the standard 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine has an extraordinarily broad powerband even as it delivers 26/36 mpg city/highway. Plus, this chassis with its independent rear suspension steers, stops, and corners like a car, not a packing crate on a rollaway dolly.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI Side Profile
As Americans shrink their SUVs into smaller and smaller shapes in order to find the sweet spot of passenger comfort, practical everyday utility, and good fuel economy, what they are instinctively searching for is actually the 2015 Volkswagen Golf. Sadly, the Golf generally makes up only 10 percent of the VW’s U.S. sales. But with such exclusivity, maybe it’s OK to flash headlights at other Golfs as a way of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the beloved box.

2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI SEL Specifications

On Sale: Now
Base Price: $27,815
Engine: 1.8-liter turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/170 hp @ 4,500 rpm, 200 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback
EPA Mileage: 25/36/29 mpg (city/highway/combined)
L x W x H: 167.5 x 70.8 x 57.2 in
Wheelbase: 103.8 in
Weight: 3,023 lb
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Side Profile
ROSAMUND, California -- The long line of Volkswagen Golfs waiting to get into the track includes every generation of the blessed box from VW. Even after 40 years, the handiwork of Ital Design's Giorgetto Giugiaro still looks great, no matter which generation of the car you choose.
We're here at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park for VW Fastivus, an annual celebration of speed, a track event that attracts Volkswagen enthusiasts from all over Southern California. There are about ten similar VW club events around the country, but this is the most serious since it offers the opportunity to drive foot-to-the-floor around the wide, fast, 2.5-mile loop here known as Big Willow. John Acton of VWVortex.com says Fastivus is the place where real VW insiders show up, a simple gathering of VWs turned into Fight Club.
The people at Volkswagen of America sure think it's the place for VW believers, because they regularly employ Fastivus for a little informal design research, as if it were a high-speed focus group. That's why they've brought along a European-specification version of what will become the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, which won't even go on sale in the U.S. until spring 2015. And we get to drive it.

Part Golf Syncro, part Golf R32

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is the latest production car by Volkswagen R GmbH, which is noted these days for producing the VW Polo R that competes in the FIA World Rally Championship. Like Audi Quattro, BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG, Volkswagen R is a motorsports outfit that has taken to building specialty cars. And just like its rivals, R GmbH creates cars that offer unique performance in a premium package.
So it's no surprise that the 2015 VW Golf R is kind of what you'd get if you built a Golf into a GT car. It's got all-weather all-wheel drive, a complete complement of electronic features, plus luxurious trim for the interior. If you were driving a VW to Berlin from Wolfsburg in the dead of winter, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is what you'd pick as your ride.
This is a big deal to Volkswagen of America. VWoA's vice president for customer experience, Bob Martell tells us, "The Golf R is a gateway into the brand, the car that brings us buyers from BMW and the Japanese brands." The Golf R is Volkswagen's own Honda Civic Si, Ford Focus ST or Subaru WRX STI, a car that keeps faith with brand loyalists even as it attracts outsiders who are looking for the next big thing.

The next big thing has 296 hp

At Fastivus, the topic of conversation is the Golf R's version of the VW EA888 engine. Generally speaking, a lightweight configuration (thin castings, half as many crankshaft counterweights, plastic oil pan), low-friction strategies (roller bearings on the balance shaft), and direct fuel injection set apart this engine from VW's previous EA113 design. It features double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams plus two-stage valve lift on the exhaust side and rocker-type cam followers.
For the 2015 Volkswagen GTI, the turbocharged and intercooled version of this engine has been tuned to develop 210 hp @ 4500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque @ 1500 rpm. More boost (17.4 psi peak boost from a larger turbo) and a higher grade of pistons and exhaust valves permit the Golf R engine to develop 296 hp @ 5500-6200 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque @ 1800–5500 rpm.
Here at Fastivus, we have the chance to drive the Golf R side by side with the 2015 Volkswagen GTI, and even though both cars share the same six-speed manual transmission, the engines couldn't feel more different. The GTI engine delivers plenty of power, yet it's done at a peak of 4500 rpm. The Golf R gets to spin tighter to peak power between 5500 and 6200 rpm, and the result is a far greater sense of urgency in the engine's performance as the tachometer needle sweeps across the dial.
The Golf R's engine apparently works great with VW's new, quicker-shifting, six-speed, dual-clutch DSG transmission with launch control, as it gets the car to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Nevertheless, Dr. Hendrik Muth, manager of VWoA's division of performance products, has made it clear to his colleagues in Germany that the kind of VW Golf enthusiasts who attend Fastivus prefer manual gearboxes. As a result, the Golf R will arrive in the U.S. with the choice of either the DSG or the manual transmission. With the six-speed manual (actually, it's a little bit like a four-speed as far as performance is concerned, since the top two gears are tall overdrive ratios), as well as a short-throw shift linkage and a reinforced clutch, a Golf R gets to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.

This is not your papa's Golf Syncro

Back in 1986 when all-wheel drive seemed all shiny and new, the Volkswagen Golf Mk 2 Syncro went into production in Europe. It was meant to be a snowdrift-busting traction monster, the answer to the famous advertisement for the VW Beetle that mused, "What does the snowplow operator drive to work?" Of course, AWD has come a long way since then, and the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R shows us just how far.
As before, the newest Golf R features the latest BorgWarner-built Haldex 5 AWD system. In everyday cruising, the Haldex 5 sends 100 percent of engine torque to the front tires to maximize fuel efficiency. But as more engine torque is called upon by the driver, the Haldex's electronic brain does the math by registering axle loads, tire slip and steering angle, then commands the fast-acting electro-hydraulic center differential to continuously vary torque distribution to enhance rear traction with a torque split that is biased to the rear wheels by as much as 100 percent.
Even more magic lies within the Golf R's AWD system, since brake-based electronic front and rear differentials can vary torque from one side of the car to the other depending on available traction, such as on icy surfaces. Moreover, VW's XDS+ feature uses the ABS system to electronically brake the inside wheels during fast cornering, which reduces understeer.
Of course this is all probably of less import on the high-speed, paved corners of Big Willow than the snow-covered roads of Sweden above the Arctic Circle, where the Golf R was introduced to the European media this past winter. Yet VW has also gone to some lengths to make the Golf R more permissive in the fun zone even on asphalt.
You can set the electronic chassis control to three different modes that affect suspension action (Comfort, Normal, Sport), and damping is adjusted both in compression and rebound. The electronics also allow you to configure a variety of driving parameters including throttle action and steering, and "Race" is one of the modes. (The Performance Package version of the 2015 VW GTI makes available the same technology.)

A whole different package

There's plenty of stuff that sets apart the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R from the 2015 Volkswagen GTI.
First of all, there is all the bodywork stuff. The front features headlights with U-shape LED running lights and a different grille. The rear has Euro-style, smoked LED brake lights and an R-design aero diffuser. And then there's the twin-pipe, four-outlet exhaust. (Don't worry; the accessory catalog has a more visually appropriate twin-outlet design that emerges from the center of the rear aero diffuser.)
When it comes to hardware, the suspension has a more supple calibration enhanced by the R's slightly heavier weight compared with the GTI. The ride height is 0.2 inch lower than the GTI, and the Golf R rolls on your choice of 18-in or 19-in wheels (19-in Cadiz-style wheels with 235/35R19 Bridgestone tires are seen here). The standard brake package is the same as the extra-cost performance package available for the GTI, with 13.4-inch rotors in front and 12.2-inch rotors in the rear, and the brake calipers are painted black.
Finally, the VW Golf R's interior aspires to a traditional elegance, as you can see in its monochromatic, leather-wrapped style.
You have to be a little conservative as you speculate about the kind of configuration in which the four-door version of this car will arrive in the U.S. next year, since these luxury details add to the bottom line, and pricing for this car will be of some interest. VWoA had unexpected success with the last Golf R, of which 5500 examples (500 more than anticipated) were sold between 2012 and 2014. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is coming here sooner rather than later because VWoA hopes the car will expand the Golf brand in a premium direction, only without too much of a premium price.

The same thing, only more of it

For all the different bits and pieces, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is actually more like the VW GTI than ever. The Golf Mk 7 platform derived from VW's new MQB modular architecture has given the new car a longer wheelbase (2.1 inches longer) that now measures 103.6 inches, and this in conjunction with more sophistication has made the GTI feel calmer and more poised on the highway, much like the Golf R.
But what the Fastivus guys like about the 2015 VW Golf R is that it has everything. It hasn't been stripped down and sanitized for your protection. They love that it is the ultimate Golf, because the VW Golf is the car that they love most in the VWoA lineup, even though it makes up a paltry 8.7 percent of the brand's sales in the U.S. For them, the culture of innovation should come from motorsports, so they embrace the idea of R GmbH. The only way the Volkswagen Golf R could be better would be if it were the Volkswagen Golf R 400 concept just presented at the Beijing auto show, a 394-hp terror that can get to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
As for us, we've had too little time with the VW Golf R to draw any real conclusions. But we've had a fine time nevertheless, and to be in the middle of 400 VW Golfs and about 800 people is a fine way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Volkswagen Golf as any. If we had a car company and were looking for a focus group with which to conduct some design research, we'd like it to be like the people at VW Fastivus. Given the choice between a daunting day while trying to thread the needle in fast, fast Turn 9 or a sun-and-fun show-and shine car display in the park, VW Golf guys choose driving, not sitting.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R (4dr)

Base Price TBA
Engine 2.0L, turbocharged DOHC I-4
Power 296 hp @ 5500-6200 rpm
Torque 280 lb-ft @ 1800-5500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive All wheel
Steering Electronically assisted, variable-ratio rack-and-pinion
Front suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Brakes Ventilated discs, ABS
Tires 235/35R-19 Bridgestone
L x W x H 168.2 x 70.8 x 56.7 in
Wheelbase 103.6 in
Track F/R 60.6/59.7 in
Passenger volume 93.5 cu ft
Cargo volume 11.0 cu ft
0-60 mph 4.9 sec
Top speed 155 mph (electronically limited)
2015 Volkswagen E Golf Front Three Quarters
Berlin, Germany -- Even before we drove it, the Volkswagen e-Golf, which is based on the seventh-generation of the Golf family, felt so familiar that Big Bird could have been under the hood and we would have liked it. (Feathering the throttle would have been touchy, though.) Instead of a beak and plumage, we got a 12,000-rpm electric motor. When it goes on sale in late October, the 2015 e-Golf will become the first battery-electric car Volkswagen has offered in the United States. As a Golf, it is highly advanced and thoroughly refined; it just happens to be electric.
Volkswagen chose Tempelhof airport in Berlin for the introduction. Waves of dignitaries, dealers, and drudges like us sampled not only the e-Golf but also the Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid not yet confirmed for sale in the United States. Even Berlin's general public was invited out to try electric mobility, Wolfsburg style. For our part, starting from the site of the airlift that sustained the city through the eleven-month blockade of 1948 and 1949, we drove a 26-kilometer (16-mile) loop over major streets, passing a remnant of the old Wall along the way and reflecting with admiration on our forebears' defiance of Soviet totalitarianism.
Whereas C-54 Skymasters had substantially outperformed tail-dragging C-47s in the airlift, the e-Golf performs like every other battery-electric we've driven. The silent delivery of power, the hiss of tires, and their occasional thumping over a bump are the car's signatures. Neither dramatic nor thrilling -- VW quotes 10.4 seconds to 62 mph and a limited top speed of 87 mph -- the experience is nonetheless satisfying, especially in Germany, where 23 percent of electric power comes from renewable sources, and in Berlin, where there is nary a pothole. With 115 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, electric propulsion delivers a substantial feeling, like a breakfast smoothie fortified by a sweet potato.
Those bystanders gathered at the Wall's graffiti-covered remnant would need schooling to know the e-Golf is different than its gas- or diesel-powered counterparts, but there are clues. The bodywork is more aerodynamic, giving a substantial edge (a 0.28 drag coefficient, versus 0.30) over the basic model. Unique windmill-style wheels, four badges on the body, blue accents, and chevron-like front indicator lamps add to the distinction. (This is the first VW with all-LED lighting.) Azure ambient illumination glowed at our elbows as we passed through the long Tiergarten tunnel, and aquamarine stitching bound the leather covering to the steering wheel.
Between the instrument display's large dials, an indicator tells the selected driving mode: Normal, Eco, or Eco+. The central display screen presents animations showing battery draw and regeneration status. Moving the e-Golf's lever for the new single-speed transmission to the "B" setting engages the most aggressive of four energy regeneration profiles. It challenged our ability to stop smoothly but nearly enabled one-pedal driving.
Rather than a lap around Berlin, we could have traveled between 80 and 118 miles on the charge. The 264-cell lithium-ion battery, which is assembled into 27 modules weighing 700 pounds, is good for 24.2 kWh. It recharges in thirteen hours, although VW offers a wall box that shortens replenishment time to eight hours. A DC fast charger will open the gates to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes. Battery temperature and function are monitored and regulated for maximum safety and output.
With dynamic performance being nothing to brag about, the e-Golf claims more back-seat and cargo room than the Nissan Leaf. (The latter advantage owes something to the VW's lack of a spare tire.) A best-in-class ownership experience is also promised. Where the e-Golf shines brightest, though, is in the Wolfsburg factory that will turn out 850,000 cars in 2014. The Golf's modular chassis architecture, which will spread to other VW models, permits the consecutive assembly of climate-change-denying Golfs fitted with combustion engines and eco-models riding along the line on yoga mats while using an app to chart the melting of glaciers.
"Whatever the customer needs, we can build," Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Volkswagen Group's powertrain development chief, said in a press conference.
Besides the e-Golf, Wolfsburg can build the GTE. The plug-in hybrid is three cars in one. We drove it on a short loop, first staying in electric mode and creeping smugly through traffic. Accelerating onto a boulevard, we received assistance from the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine known and loved from the Jetta Hybrid, and the GTE romped through Berlin. Returning to the decommissioned airfield, we did a couple of acceleration runs, finding nothing to dispute the contention of GTI-like performance from the hybrid.
The Golf celebrates its fortieth birthday on March 29. More than 30 million examples have been produced. When it comes to America and goes on sale at an as yet undetermined price, the 2015 e-Golf will represent a factory once written off as uncompetitive and a company in the midst of transformation, determined to reduce energy use and material waste in its plants, to use lightweight, hot-formed steel wherever possible, and to scrape away every gram of excess metal from engine components for better efficiency. Whether the e-Golf becomes a Volks populi is beside the point: VW believes its serious intent is worth squawking about.

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

ON SALE Late October 2014
BASE PRICE $32,000 (est.)
MOTOR Permanent synchronous motor, 24.2 kWh battery
POWER 115 hp/85 kW
TORQUE 199 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION Single-speed
DRIVE Front-wheel
WHEELBASE 103.6 in.
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 167.4 x 70.8 x 57.2 in.
WEIGHT 3310 lb
0-60 MPH 10.3 sec. (est.)
TOP SPEED 87 mph
2015 Volkswagen Golf R Five Door Front Three Quarters View Lead Image
Arvidsjaur, Sweden - Test drives on a lake generally don’t reveal much about a new car. In the case of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, a spin on ice more than thirty inches thick—stable enough to land an airplane on—tells you the first thing you want to know about how different the seventh-generation Golf’s supersporty R flagship is from the Golf VI version.

Can you completely shut off the new Golf R’s electronic stability control (ESC) and escape any artificial intervention?

Yes, you can.
In the previous Golf R, the stability control automatically reengaged at the first tap of the brakes. That didn’t sit well with old-fashioned enthusiasts who prefer to save a car from a slide themselves, even though it surely saved the bacon of many a kid racer.
To give us a taste of the 2015 Golf R’s newfound capabilities, VW let a motley crew of automotive journalists slide and drift the cars on the lake. We also got to follow a rally instructor and pretend to be rally drivers ourselves as winter temperatures hovered between zero and 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Granted, the tires fitted to our test cars are not even legal in most states (studded rubber from Lappi Winter Tyres).
What we learned was this: The steering is quick, making it easy to snap the R into a drift. There is sufficient steering feedback and seat-of-the-pants feel to warn about all the different surfaces and levels of adhesion. The perfectly bolstered driver’s seat holds you in place but doesn’t hinder ingress and egress. The Audi-designed, 290-hp, 2.0-liter EA888 turbo four-cylinder, coupled to a smooth-shifting six-speed manual, puts down much more power than you need through the car’s standard Haldex all-wheel-drive system. The Haldex clutch sends torque front to back, and the brakes control the flow side to side. Stability control is superfluous, even in the lightly intervening ESC Sport mode. It’s a blast. At least, it is if you love driving on ice and snow.
Even with stability control on, the system allows some oversteer, and ESC Sport mode, which intervened once or twice on a couple of tight turns, is even better. But in the end, you, too, would have given in to the delights of a slick track and gone naked, turning off every possible stability control measure. The worst that could happen is that a Touareg would have to pull you out of a snowbank (didn’t happen). That’s how you go skinny-dipping on a frozen lake.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R will also be available with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. It shaves 0.2 second off the six-speed manual’s 5.1-second 0-to-62-mph sprint, VW says, but it also drops the highway estimate by 3 mpg. While the automaker is proud of its automatic and says it will continue to account for at least half of U.S. Golf R sales, all of the test cars on the lake were, tellingly, manuals. Both two- and four-door hatchback models were on hand, but only the latter will be available stateside, at least at launch. Weight is down by about 90 pounds versus the previous model, to a little more than 3000 pounds (closer to 3300 with the dual-clutch transmission). VW’s R GmbH, a subsidiary like Audi’s Quattro GmbH, designed and engineered the car.
We won’t get the Euro-spec Golf R's Eco mode for the driver select system, but we will get Normal, Individual (like Audi’s system), and Race modes. All operate separately from the ESC on/off/Sport system, and the Race setting stiffens the chassis, speeds up the DSG-equipped cars’ shift points, and permanently opens the intake/exhaust resonators. Only the last of these lack subtlety. Although the rally exercise prompted us to mostly use the Race mode, Normal would be good enough for this setting. We’ll have a choice of two levels of leather interiors, both with the same seat design, and will likely have more standard equipment than in Europe, such as the keyless start system.
We won’t get the Euro-spec car’s Eco mode, but we will get Normal, Individual (customizable), and Race modes. All operate separately from the stability control. The Race setting stiffens the chassis, speeds up the DSG’s shift points, and permanently opens the intake/exhaust resonators. Although the rally exercise prompted us to mostly use Race mode, Normal would be good enough for everyday situations.
With the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, the Subaru WRX STI will once again have a true competitor, even as the Mitsubishi Evo rides into the sunset. The Volkswagen Golf R, which just a couple of generations ago was an overengined German muscle car, has evolved into an attractive hatchback that balances power with handling finesse. At least, as far as a drive on a frozen lake can reveal.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R

On sale: Late 2015
Base price: $34,000 (est)
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged I-4, 290 hp@5500-6200 rpm (est.), 280 lb-ft@1800-5300 rpm
Fuel economy (est): 22/31 mpg (City/Highway); 22/28 mpg (automatic)
Drive: Four-wheel
Volkswagen Golf GTD Front Left View 4
Volkswagen of America is not unlike the typical successful immigrant family. It has made a comfortable home for itself in this country, growing its sales last year to 615,281 vehicles. Yet, in order to achieve that success, it has forfeited a great deal of its native culture. Its youngest offspring, the U.S.-market Passat and Jetta, barely speak German.
This well-to-do, assimilated family will, however, likely welcome a relative from the Old Country, the Golf GTD. Officially, the car is still "under consideration," but it's at least penciled in for our market. Do you want one? We went to Germany to find out.
Do we know you from somewhere?
Although this GTD is brand-new, based on the seventh generation Golf, it's hardly a recent addition to the VW model line. On the other side of the ocean, it has carried on for three decades as the diesel counterpart to the legendary GTI. The styling of the latest version affirms this kinship. Silver rather than red badge trim, different wheels, and the letter "D" are about all that distinguish it from its gas-powered brother. You can even get tartan pattern cloth seats, albeit in gray rather than the GTI's red. The whole interior maintains the standards for materials quality we've come to expect from the GTI and Golfs in general. VW promises the cabin won't pass under an accountant's ax before going on sale in the United States, as did the Jetta's.
Burning oil in the fast lane
Looks don't deceive. The GTD is very much like a GTI. Don't confuse this with the Jetta TDI Cup Edition that VW marketed in the United States a few years ago. That was a mild suspension package and appearance package. This is a performance car with a performance engine. The GTD's 2.0-liter turbo-diesel is the newest in VW's portfolio, and it puts down a stout 280 lb-ft of torque along with 184 hp. It still does what diesels do best: Europe rates it at 56 mpg combined. The EPA's more conservative tests will likely put it closer to 40 mpg on the highway, a little less than the Golf TDI (which will still be offered).
We're not in Germany to test fuel-economy claims. We're here to drive on the autobahn. First through third gears deliver the waves of torque one expects from a turbo-diesel -- and more. Volkswagen says it's enough to deliver the GTD to 62 mph in 7.5 seconds. And yet, it also feels very unlike a typical diesel. It winds up quickly and responds instantly to throttle inputs. Working the exceptionally smooth manual gearbox (a dual-clutch automatic is optional), we're able to match revs on downshifts as if we were driving something with a high-revving gas engine. At the same time, the GTD doesn't require constant shifting to keep up with traffic, as do most diesel-powered cars. There's enough power in reserve to climb into the passing lane in fifth gear, and we're still gaining steam in sixth at 220 kph (137 mph) when a VW Up! jumps into the left lane in front of us. Well, the brakes are good. With a little more room, the GTD should hit 230 kph (143 mph), 20 kph short of the GTI. At those scenery-stretching speeds, the GTD carries on confidently and quietly, never wandering in its lane or betraying a hint of nervousness through the heavy steering. A colleague dozes off in the passenger's seat.
The GTD even sounds good, warbling eagerly at high rpm. Volkswagen admits it's cheating a bit here: above 3000 rpm or so, a resonance tube pipes artificial noise into the cabin. We're dead set against this sort of thing in principal, but out in the real world, we much prefer it to diesel chatter.
High-tech hatch
The GTD has essentially the same suspension upgrades as the GTI. As with most new sports cars, a suite of electronic performance aids helps the driver go faster. They include optional adaptive dampers, variable ratio steering, and the aforementioned electronic limited-slip differential. In many cars, these technologies are like the fake butter the movie theater puts on your popcorn -- they overpower the actual taste with their own slightly artificial flavor. In the GTD, thankfully, they're more like a dash of salt. The electric power steering feels direct and natural and doesn't require mid-corner corrections, as do some variable-ratio setups. The adaptive dampers, which Volkswagen says it will offer in the United States in both the GTI and the GTD, change subtly among comfort, normal, and sport settings but always offer acceptable ride and handling, with minimal body roll. We'll be curious to see how the dampers perform on underfunded American roads, where the previous-generation GTI can feel a little stiff-legged. As in the GTI, there's no way to disable stability control fully; however, a new sport mode raises the threshold of intervention.
What the technology and tuning can't do is hide the diesel's extra weight. The fortified iron block adds some 100 pounds to the car's nose compared with the GTI. The front tires hold on gamely through off ramps and tight corners, but the GTD doesn't rotate like a GTI, even though it employs the same brake-based limited-slip differential. And although the engine feels like a high-rpm screamer by diesel standards, it still doesn't have the top-end horsepower dig out of turns. That said, the GTD's superb steering, slick shifting, and strong braking provide plenty of entertainment as we sweep up some back roads south of Wolfsburg. It feels like a real sport compact, not an oil-burning gimmick.
Changing rules
On its face, the GTD is everything Volkswagen has tried to run away from in our market -- a small, diesel-powered, expensive hatchback (expect it to cost around $2000 more than a GTI). It might as well smell like currywurst. But several factors are carrying it to our shores. Like all seventh-generation Golfs, the GTD is built off a versatile new components set called MQB. The GTD's new diesel is part of that components set and needs less after-treatment to meet U.S. emissions. Finally, the next-generation Golf will come to the United States tariff-free from Puebla, Mexico, rather than from Europe.
What all that means, in layman's terms, is that VW can afford to bring a weird little European car to America precisely because it is no longer just a weird little European brand here. That should please hardcore Volkswagen enthusiasts, whom we suspect will account for the bulk of GTD byers. Expect the car to arrive sometime after the arrival of the U.S. launch of the new Golf in 2014.

Volkswagen Golf GTD

On Sale: Late 2015
Best Price: $27,000 (est)
Engine: 2.0L turbodiesel; 184 hp, 280 lb-ft of torque
Drive: Front-wheel
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
EPA Fuel Economy: 30/40 mpg (est)
2015 Volkswagen Golf
2015 Volkswagen Golf

New for 2015

The Volkswagen Golf has been completely revised for the 2015 model year, gaining new engines, fresh styling, additional safety features, and increased connectivity. An all-electric e-Golf is introduced, and the Golf SportWagen replaces the Jetta wagon.

Vehicle Overview

The Volkswagen Golf is a compact hatchback that comes in two- and four-door variants, with a wide variety of powertrains from the efficient TDI to the high-performance GTI and R models, to the practical SportWagen. The Golf sits below the Jetta as the smallest offering in the Volkswagen lineup.

Summary

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is available in two- and four-door hatchback bodies, in addition to adding a wagon style for 2015. Golf variants are powered by six-speed manuals, six-speed automatics, six-speed twin-clutch automatics, and for the EV variant, a single-speed transmission.

Model: TSI
Engine and transmission: Turbocharged 1.8-liter I-4 – five-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Power (FWD): 170 hp/200 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (manual) – 25/36 mpg (automatic)

Model: TDI
Engine and transmission: Turbodiesel 2.0-liter I-4 – six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Power (FWD): 150 hp/236 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel economy: 30/45 mpg (manual) – 31/43 mpg (DSG automatic)

Model: GTI (hatch only)
Engine and transmission: Turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 – six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Power (FWD): 210 hp/258 lb-ft (or 220 hp with Performance Package)
EPA-rated fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual) – 25/33 mpg (DSG automatic)

Model(s): R (hatch only)
Engine and transmission: Turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 – six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Power (AWD): 292 hp/280 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (automatic) – TBD (manual)

Model: e-Golf (four-door hatch only)
Engine and transmission: AC motor – 24.2 kWh battery – single speed transmission
Power (FWD): 115 hp/199 lb-ft
EPA-rated range and charge times: 83 miles – 20-hours (110 volt) or 4-hours (240 volt) or to 80% fast charge in 30 minutes
The e-Golf and Golf SportWagen will both be available in the first quarter of 2015, and have yet to be rated by the EPA. The Golf R, similarly, is launching first with the automatic and has not been rated by the EPA with the manual transmission. Some of the most notable features for the latest Golf include the ability to fully disable the electronic stability control on the Golf R (something not possible on past models), a 5.8-inch infotainment screen, HID headlights with LED daytime running lights (full LED headlights on the e-Golf), Fender premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, intelligent crash response system, and an adjustable load floor in the cargo area.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf has not been rated by the NHTSA yet, but is considered a 2014 Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.

What We Think

From the practical base 2015 Volkswagen Golf to the exciting Golf R, we like the latest generation that marks the 40-year anniversary of the Golf in the U.S. In a Driven Review of a 2015 Volkswagen Golf SEL, we said, “The interior is spacious, the driving position is superb, and everything looks great. Even better, the standard 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine has an extraordinarily broad powerband even as it delivers 26/36 mpg.”

The most exciting news for the latest Golf R is the ability to turn off the traction control (completely!), which track enthusiasts have been asking for since the model debuted.
The e-Golf keeps all of the things we’ve come to love about the regular Golf (cargo space, versatility, and a relatively exciting driving experience) and merely loses the gasoline-burning part of the equation. The e-Golf is familiar, and an excellent first effort at a zero-emission vehicle for the U.S. market. In a Driven Review of a 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI with the Performance Package one editor said, “I have lots of miles in the GTI Mk5 and Mk6, and this Mk7 feels like an old friend. The sensations of smoothness, refinement, precision, and accessible power that characterized those last two generations are even more finely concentrated in the 2015 GTI. The net effect is that the GTI is simply really easy to drive fast and to drive well. Your palms don’t get sweaty.”

You’ll Like

  • Excellent engines from fuel-efficient to high-performance
  • ESC-off button on Golf R
  • Incredibly well-rounded package

You Won’t Like

  • Can’t get a Golf R with a manual transmission when it launches
  • Can get pricey with options
  • e-Golf will only be available in 11 states (CA, OR, and a few East Coasters)

Key Competitors

  • Ford Focus
  • Kia Forte
  • Mazda3
  • Subaru Impreza

Rating

5
Volkswagen Golf Racing Car Front
Volkswagen Motorsport is building its first racing car based on the new, seventh-generation Golf. Two of the cars will be campaigned in the last four races of a German touring car race series, and based on the results, Volkswagen Motorsport may launch a customer racing program with the new model for the 2016 season.
2015 Volkswagen Golf Tdi Mpg Record 01
Another day brings another fuel-economy record, this time from Volkswagen in a diesel-powered Golf TDI. With expert hypermiler Wayne Gerdes and energy engineer Bob Winger alternating shifts behind the wheel, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI drove through all 48 contiguous states of the U.S. on less than $300 of diesel, achieving a record-breaking average of 81.17 mpg along the way.
VW Golf R400 Spyshot Front Three Quarters
Volkswagen fans, listen up; a Volkswagen Golf R 400 was spotted out and about testing in preparation for production with no exterior camouflage. We have previously had confirmation of the Golf R 400, which was shown as a concept last year, being strongly considered for production, contingent on sourcing a strong enough dual-clutch gearbox to handle the proposed 395 hp pushed out by the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Rear Three Quarter
Though crossovers and SUVs continued to be a dominant force in April 2015 auto sales, an interesting set of statistics from Cars.com shows that buyers haven’t yet given up on the venerable station wagon. The fastest-selling car in April was the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, while the (admittedly crossover-like) 2015 Subaru Outback wagon was the fifth fastest-selling car.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
1.8L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
25 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
37 MPG
Horsepower:
170 hp @ 4500rpm
Torque:
200 ft lb of torque @ 1600rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
36,000 miles / 36 months
Powertrain
60,000 miles / 60 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Roadside
36,000 miles / 36 months
Maintenance
10,000 miles / 12 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:40
Component
STEERING
Summary
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2015 Golf and GTI vehicles manufactured January 27, 2014, to May 12, 2014. In the affected vehicles, the stabilizer link fasteners may come loose and possibly interfere with the steering of the vehicle.
Consequences
A loose stabilizer link may interfere with the vehicle's steering, requiring additional effort to control the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front stabilizer links, free of charge. The recall began in July 2014. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-822-8987. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 40K9/1W.
Potential Units Affected
2,001
Notes
Volkswagen of America, Inc.


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:50
Component
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:FUEL PUMP
Summary
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2015 Volkswagen Golf, and GTI manufactured on February 17, 2014, to May 22, 2014, and Audi A3 manufactured on February 16, 2013, to April 23, 2014. Improper nickel plating of components within the fuel pump may result in the fuel pump failing.
Consequences
If the fuel pump fails, the vehicle will not start, or if the engine is running, it will stop and the vehicle will stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and replace any affected fuel pumps, free of charge. The recall began on June 16, 2015. Owners may contact Volkswagen at 1-800-893-5298 or Audi at 1-800-253-2834.
Potential Units Affected
6,205
Notes
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:50
Component
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:FUEL INJECTION SYSTEM:FUEL RAIL
Summary
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Jetta vehicles manufactured March 28, 2014, to November 24, 2014, 2014-2015 Passat vehicles manufactured April 7, 2014, to November 18, 2014, 2015 Golf and GTI vehicles manufactured July 1, 2014, to November 20, 2014, and 2014-2015 Beetle and Beetle Convertible vehicles manufactured March 31, 2014, to November 27, 2014. A sealing cap at the fuel rail may fail, allowing fuel to leak into the engine compartment.
Consequences
A fuel leak, in the presence of an ignition source, can result in a vehicle fire.
Remedy
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel rails with new parts, free of charge. The recall began February 6, 2015. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-822-8987. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 24BL. Note: This recall expands and supersedes recall 14V-809 (Volkswagen recall number 24Bi) and only affects vehicles not previously repaired under that campaign.
Potential Units Affected
44,658
Notes
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
Good
IIHS Overall Side Crash
Good
IIHS Best Pick
1
IIHS Rear Crash
Good
IIHS Roof Strength
Good
IIHS Front Small Overlap
Good

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2015 Volkswagen Golf

Depreciation
31.5%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$9,050
31.5%
Insurance
$6,675
23.2%
Fuel Cost
$7,902
27.5%
Financing
$1,847
6.4%
Maintenance
$2,154
7.5%
Repair Costs
$771
2.7%
State Fees
$360
1.3%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $28,759 What's This?
Value Rating: Excellent