I won’t make it to the Paris Motor Show this year, but the car at the top of my prodding list would have been the new Mark VII Golf, specifically the newly unveiled BlueMotion edition.
Officially just a concept for now, there’s obviously not much separating today’s show car from the fuel-efficient hatchback that will go on sale in the UK next summer. The showroom edition might get smaller wheels, I suppose.
Official fuel economy figures haven’t yet been earned, but Volkswagen is aiming for combined-cycle scores of 88.3mpg and 85g/km of CO2, substantially improving on the 74.3mpg and 99g/km of today’s BlueMotion Golf. Assuming those figures turn out to be accurate, they will top the class for a non-hybrid car of this size – unless some other manufacturer manages to trump them in the meantime.
Judging from pictures, the Golf version 7 will also be a lot better looking than today’s version 6. The car’s exterior designer, Marc Lichte, has turned out the sharpest and cleanest Golf design since 1997’s Mark IV – maybe even the best since Giugiaro’s 1974 original. I particularly like the return to a sheer surface for the broad, sweeping panel that links the roof with the rear wheel-arch. It’s no longer bisected by a shoulder crease, helping to give the car a tangible feeling of chunky solidity.
And I’m equally happy that the appearance of solidity isn’t matched with an increase in actual heft. Thankfully the weight trend is downward, despite the new Golf’s inevitable growth in size. According to VW, running-gear weight is down by 26kg, bodywork by 37kg compared to the outgoing BlueMotion.
Power, by contrast, is up a little at 110PS (from today’s 105PS – PS being the metric horsepower). A host of detailed changes to the 1.6-litre diesel unit have put power up and consumption down. It is, of course, equipped with automatic stop-start and battery regeneration features, in common with the rest of the incoming Golf range.
The engine’s full 250Nm measure of torque is available from 1,500rpm to 2,750rpm, helping it to spin slowly while pulling lengthened gear ratios in the five speed manual gearbox. VW hasn’t yet released a 0-62mph acceleration time, but I would expect it to equal or better the 11.3-second benchmark set by today’s BlueMotion model.
In common with other eco-biased models, the suspension will be lowered by 15mm, unnecessary intakes will be blanked off, and there will be spoilers and underfloor panels to guide air more smoothly over, under and around the car. Drag has been cut by 10%, VW says, and the quoted 0.27 drag coefficient certainly sounds slippery for a car that shares more kinship with a box than a teardrop.
I look forward to trying out the new Golf BlueMotion in due course. That opportunity will be a while coming, no doubt, but I suspect it will be worth the wait.