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New 2020 Volkswagen Golf: UK prices and specs revealed

The new Mk8 Volkswagen Golf is on sale in the UK now in mid-range Life and Style trims, priced from £23,875

The new Volkswagen Golf is on sale in the UK now, priced from £23,875. From launch, it will only be available as a hatchback, in what will eventually become the middling Life and Style specifications. 

Volkswagen’s popular R-Line trim-level will arrive later this year, along with a base trim, the Golf Estate and the performance-focused GTE, GTI, GTD and R variants.

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• New Volkswagen Golf review

Standard equipment for the Golf Life includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlamps, front and rear parking sensors, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors and keyless start. Buyers also get lane assist, adaptive cruise control and a dynamic road sign display system.

Inside, there’s an equally comprehensive level of equipment, including a 10.25-inch digital instrument binnacle, wireless smartphone charging, a 10-colour customisable interior lighting setup and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and voice control. Both front seats are adjustable for height and lumbar support.

The Golf Style starts from £25,470 and adds a set of larger 17-inch alloy wheels and a pair of tweaked LED headlamps, while the cabin gets wood-style trim inserts, more ambient lighting colours and “Art Velours” seat upholstery.

Buyers can also choose from a range of optional extras including Matrix LED headlamps (£875), a head-up display (£625), keyless entry (£400) and Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chassis Control system (£950), which adds a set of adaptive dampers.

Four engines will be available from launch, with buyers offered the choice of two petrols and two diesels. The Golf Life gets a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 128bhp, capable of 49.6-52.3mpg depending on options fitted. A more powerful, 148bhp version of the same engine is also available, priced from £24,475, but slightly less economical. 

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The Golf’s old 1.6-litre diesel has been ditched for the Mk8, with the two TDI options both  based on Volkswagen’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, offering either 113bhp or 148bhp. The former is priced from £24,875 and is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, returning a claimed 62.8-67.3mpg, while the latter starts at £29,170 (as it’s only offered on the more expensive Style trim-level) and is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf: future powertrains and trim

Mild hybrid versions of Volkswagen’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and forthcoming 109bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engines will be gradually introduced over the Golf’s lifespan. The mild hybrid system will also only be offered on models fitted with Volkswagen’s seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The 48-volt electrical system recovers energy that would otherwise be wasted when decelerating, redeploying up to 16bhp and 25Nm of electric boost under acceleration. Volkswagen says the system will make moving away from a standstill much smoother.

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Volkswagen’s new GTE will be the first hot Golf to reach the showrooms. As before, this runs a plug-in hybrid system with a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, but the electric motor is significantly more powerful, so the overall output now stands at 242bhp – which is the same as the outgoing Golf GTI Performance.

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Battery capacity has increased, too. The new 13kWh unit gives 43 miles of zero-emissions range, at speeds up to 87mph. The battery also is more energy-dense than in the previous generation GTE which means that, despite a 50 per cent increase in capacity, it’s physical size has only increased fractionally.

Performance-focussed models, like the GTI and R will be the last to arrive. According to leaked internal documents, the R is set to muster up 328bhp - 32bhp more than the last version. Insiders tell us that mild hybrid assistance is set to feature, most likely in the form of a lag-eliminating electric turbocharger, similar to the system used by the Audi S7.

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A less well-equipped, base-model version of the Golf will be released later this year, along with the sports-inspired Golf R-Line. The latter will sport an aggressive body kit, a new rear wing, fresh alloys and a range of “R-Line” badges.

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf: design and interior

From the outside, the biggest change comes at the front, where a low nose features a slimmer grille. It’s flanked by narrow headlights - featuring standard LED tech - whose winged edges flow into sharp creases along the side. The bumper varies according to trim level – the Style trim features three distinctive fins spanning the width of the air intake, while the R Line features a more open front vent with R badging.

It’s on the inside where the most interesting changes have taken place. Gone is the staid look of the Mk7, replaced by a minimalist look that’s as contemporary as anything in this class. The interior is dominated by a pair of screens. The first, a 10-inch infotainment system, features a customisable display, which allows the driver to position shortcuts and widgets in the desired positions. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, and the latter can now be operated wirelessly.

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New VW Golf GTI leaked ahead of launch

The main infotainment screen sits in a single panel alongside the latest version of Volkswagen’s virtual cockpit. A digital instrument binnacle, measuring 10.25 inches, is fitted as standard across the range – a first for the segment.

Almost all traditional switches have been replaced by touch-sensitive surfaces. The temperature can be adjusted by sliding a finger across a panel at the base of the 10-inch display; likewise for the volume controls. Even the sunroof forgoes a physical switch; instead requiring a quick finger sweep along a small panel on the roof. 

It means that, on the dashboard at least, the only physical button that remains is for the hazard lights – though there are still conventional buttons on the steering wheel and in the door panel for the window and mirror adjustment.

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf: safety and technology

The technology won’t stop with the interior, either. The new Golf features unrivalled connectivity for its class, with each model packed full of safety tech. A semi-autonomous function allows the Golf to accelerate, steer and brake on motorways at speeds – where legal – of up to 130mph.

Perhaps most intriguing of all is the Car2X system: this allows connected cars from any manufacturer to broadcast in real-time, warning other enabled vehicles of hazards on the road ahead, or the proximity of an emergency vehicle trying to make its way through traffic.

Do you like the new Volkswagen Golf Mk8? Let us know what you think in the comments below...

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