This is the new, seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf. Although very similar-looking to the outgoing car, the new Golf Mk7 is bigger, lighter, easier to produce and much more efficient.
It sounds like a win-win for VW and consumers. But is it? Read on for the full details of the new 2013 Volkswagen Golf hatchback.
Are you sure this is the new 2012 VW Golf? It could be a 2005 Mk5!
Yes, this is indeed the brand new car to take the Golf into its seventh generation. VW obviously think it wise not to interfere too much with the Golf's inoffensive, timeless styling, and design boss Walter de Silva is adamant that's the right tactic: 'One of the keys to the Golf’s success lies in its continuity. There are a handful of cars with a design that, like the Golf’s, has been refined, tweaked and enhanced down the decades and thus become timeless.’
Sounds to us like de Silva's likening the Golf to that other evolutionary German automotive icon - the Porsche 911. Still, whatever you think of the styling - do tell us in the comments below - there's no denying the Golf has been thoroughly overhauled under the skin.
The 2013 VW Golf's got a new platform then?
Most certainly, though it's by no means bespoke to the 2013 VW Golf. In fact, we've already sampled the MQB architecture in the new Audi A3, and it'll see duty in other VW Group products like the Seat Leon, mid-sized Skodas and other Audis, too.
Not only does this save VW heaps in building outlay, but it means all the cars share the same safe, light structure - the platform is stronger, yet 23kg lighter than before. As a whole, the new Golf has shed 100kg versus the previous model, despite the body expanding by 56mm in length and 13mm in width. The wheelbase has been stretched by 59mm, meaning more rear legroom. Moreover, the diet helps towards a purported 23% improvement in efficiency.
All the 2013 Golf's engines are new, too, and come with stop/start and battery regeneration systems. At launch, the petrol engines are an 84bhp 1.2-litre (good for around 57.6mpg and 113g/km), and a 1.4-litre 138bhp unit with Active Cylinder Technology, which can deactivate two of the cylinders. Other cars boasting cylinder deactivation in the VW stable include the Bentley Continental GT V8 and Audi S8, but neither of them will match the Golf's estimated 58.9 mpg and 112g/km...
Prefer your Golf with a diesel engine? From launch you can choose from a 104bhp 1.6-litre (capable of 74.3 mpg and 99g/km, says VW), and a more powerful 148bhp 2.0-litre. The pokier diesel is slightly less efficient, with VW's claims pegging it at 68.9mpg and 106g/km.
And inside the new VW Golf?
Although the quality is naturally impressive, what is new (or rather, old) is the switch back to a driver-oriented centre console, as last seen on the Mk4 Golf. All Golf models get a touchscreen interface, starting in the UK with a 5.8-inch colour display standard on every model.
Spec the range-topper and you'll get a sat-nav system built into a fulsome eight-inch colour display. The usual iPod and phone connectivity features too, and a DAB digital radio.
When can I check out the new VW Golf for myself?
You can cast your eye over the all-new Golf when it takes the stand at the 2012 Paris motor show later this month. Prices are yet to be announced, but we'll have more details when the car goes on sale in October 2012. Expect them to closely shadow today's model, starting around £16,000.
UK deliveries of the new Volkswagen Golf Mk7 will begin from January 2013.
>> Does the new VW Golf advance the hatchback game enough, or do you prefer the conservative approach after all? Tell us in the comments below