New VW Golf 1.4 TSI

5 Oct, 2012 4:15pm Jack Rix

The petrol version of the Volkswagen Golf MK7 is another winner, mixing punch and refinement

Verdict

5
This Golf 1.4 TSI can’t match the cleanest diesels for emissions, but it’s not far off. Smooth power delivery and strong mid-range punch make the most of the Golf’s talented chassis, while the DSG box is intuitive and fast. It’s hard not to be blown away by the car’s breadth of abilities – it’s a cliche, but this new Golf could be all the car you’ll ever need.

In our first drive, the new Mk7 VW Golf well and truly lived up to our high expectations. But that was the range-topping 2.0 TDI; now it’s time to test the 1.4 TSI engine – the more powerful of the two petrol engines.

In the previous Golf, the 1.4 TSI was the most popular choice for private buyers, but this engine is all-new. The 138bhp turbo, first seen in the Audi A1 Sportback, features clever cylinder shutdown tech, which senses when there’s no need for all four cylinders and shuts down two of them on the move.

Along with other fuel-saving measures, such as stop-start, the result is better fuel economy than the slower 84bhp 1.2 TSI and lower CO2 emissions of just 109g/km when twinned with a DSG dual-clutch auto.

Put your foot down and performance is strong, with plenty of torque to pull you along from low revs. The engine doesn’t feel quite as potent as it does in the A1, but throttle response is crisp and it revs smoothly to the limiter. Its real strong point, though, is refinement. On part-throttle at cruising speeds, the engine is near-silent, and even when you work it hard, there’s only a gentle hum from it.

Although most buyers will opt for the manual gearbox, the DSG transmission works really well. In auto mode, the distinct gearchanges are perfectly judged, but take control with the paddles and you can make the most of the Golf’s huge front-end grip and superb neutral balance.

Our test car was also fitted with optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), which governs the suspension firmness and adds a fifth Comfort mode to the old car’s driving settings. Even in the firmest Sport setting, though, the Golf flows majestically with the road surface and refuses to get flustered. But our test route was on smooth Sardinian tarmac, – a thorough going-over on bumpy UK roads will better highlight any inadequacies.

The evolutionary design is far from radical, but it’s crisp and modern, while the interior has taken another leap forwards in quality. The technology count has risen, too, despite prices barely changing over the outgoing car.

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Did someone say something bad about VW?

"Three bags full". AE will be in danger of becoming known as "Baa-baa blacksheep"!

Yet again the VAG group blows away the competition. Why change a winning formula?Haters gonna hate, potatos gonna potate, but the VAG group gets it right first time, EVERY time. Love the new Golf.Shows the Focus and Astra et al that it takes more than style to make a car, it needs to have substance as well, and the Golf just ooooozes quality.

And, sorry to be frank, the fanboys are gonna fan! No manufacturer gets everything right and to allege they do risks entry into the world of the football supporter where is "my club right or wrong" philosophies hold sway.

Very nice car, (in top spec versions) class leading again, but I have still doubts about the much critisized durability of the TSi engines, so I hope they have solved the problems with these engines.
The VW as tested is fully equiped and very expensive, way more than 24.000, they should test the base model with standard equipment, and not top spec versions only, these will be bought by maybe 5% of the customers. They also should mention that the basic models of the VW have a much cheaper interior with more hard plastic, a simple rear axle and all black or grey interiors, that's a fact you cannot ignore and that place the new Golf in an other perspective compared with the competition, for instance the new Hybrid Toyota Auris and the likes.

£24.000 for a 1.4 GOLF OH MY GOD *** I WONDER HOW MUCH THE DSG GEARBOX IS ? & BY THE WAY ALL YOU BADGE LOVERS & HATERS THERE'S NO POINT IN LOVING & HATING THE BADGE OF THE CAR YOU OWN OR NOT OWN THERE ALL THE SAME CARS UNDERNEATH ANYWAY NOWADAYS BECAUSE ALL MOST 90% OV THE CAR MANUFACTURERS HAVE GOT TOGETHER TO SHARE THE SAME CHASSIS & FLOORPANS & IN MANY CASES THE SAME ENGINES ASWELL TO CUT MANUFACTURING COSTS & TO MAXIMISE PROFITS, OR FACE BANKCRUPCY SO THAT EVERY BRAND NAME ie BADGE MAKES MONEY OFF BASICLY THE SAME CARS IT JUST DEPENDS ON THE CUSTOMER WHICH STYLING HE/SHE PREFERS & WHICH BADGE THEY LIKE TO BE SEEN WEARING THESE PEOPLE MANUFACTURERS ARE CLEVER THEY'VE BEEN SELLING PRODUCTS FOR DECADES THE KNOW HOW TO PLACE A PRODUCT VERY WELL & THEY KNOW THERE TARGET MARKET BETTER THAN THEY KNOW THEMSELVES !

VW Golf and Hyatt Hotels always have a 5 star rating. Come on autoexpress be honest. ITS NOT PERFECT. NOTHING IS PERFECT. EVEN IN TOP SPEC.

Can't see why anyone would want anything else but a Golf! Superb car, no matter whether it's a £16k or a £35k model.

£24,000 is a lot of money for a Golf. May as well get an A3 for similar money or the stylish new Leon for less money.

A Volvo V40 R-design T5 for instance, or BMW 1 series, not to mention a nice A3, or A-class.

Good Answer, Well Phrased! True they've got a winning formula, why change it? and besides, the cylinder shut down is absolutely awesome. Don't you agree?

Provided there are no crankshaft problems in the longer term (i.e. out of warranty) Let's hope this innovation is not being left to the customers to carry out proving trials.

£24K! a bit steep for a small car. Albeit a classy Golf. I find it hard to justify this as VFM.

The Golf is a car for the shrinking middle class of the Western world. It used be the BMW 3 series, but because middle classes salaries have decreased steadily, they have had to move to this delusion of luxury!

True. Lets also hope that they've counterbalanced the crankshaft properly during testing. Should cylinder deactivation become a regular pattern in the life of the car, then the possibility of wear is greater invisaged. VW long life service (like most manufacterers that opt for extended service intervals) is notoriously harsh on engines, coupled with light pressure turbo chargers, and the fluctuations in heat patterns and thermal dynamics ...Fully synthetics are advanced, but not that advanced, and quite often the strands in the molecular structure of the oils have broken down in the first few hundred miles of driving.

Key specs

  • Price: £24,120
  • Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl turbo
  • Power/torque: 138bhp/250Nm
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62/top speed: 8.4 secs/131mph
  • Economy/CO2: 60.1mpg/109g/km
  • Equipment: Adaptive cruise control, multifunction wheel
  • On sale: Now
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