VW Golf Bluemotion TSI first drive, CAR+ March 2016

Published: 03 March 2016

► We drive the all new Golf Bluemotion TSI
► No diesel on offer here, just a good ol' petrol
VW's normal service resumed 

Golf: a good walk ruined in some quarters, and now a good car sullied, following VW’s nefarious emissions wrangling. But let’s face it – you’ve liked owning and driving Volkswagens for years, so surely it won’t be long before this is a minor pothole in the corporate history, a little like the origins of the Beetle.

Sorry, I’ll stop that now. Still, diesels, eh? ’Orrible dirty things, as we’ve all been repeatedly told over the last few months; good job VW now offers a Golf Bluemotion petrol.

Powered by a 1.0-litre turbo triple and featuring upgraded aero, the Bluemotion TSI produces 99g/km CO2 and 113bhp. The 65.7mpg economy claim wilts in comparison to the 83.1mpg, 108bhp diesel equivalent, but in exchange you get such thrummy, fizzy response you’d be forgiven for thinking this wasn’t an eco special at all.

The entry-level but value-added Match specification enhances this good cheer; while the weird, light-grey mesh fabric somewhat exudes the ambience of an elderly training shoe, the metallic accents and standard sat-nav make you feel cherished. Do you really need any more car than this?

In an ideal world, probably yes. Yet it’s impressive just how willing this dinky motor is once you’ve traversed the boggy region below 1500rpm. And though you’d happily trade some extra bodyroll for slightly greater motorway compliance (like all low-power Golfs, the Bluemotion has a twistbeam rear that’s inclined towards irritability anyway), the taut chassis and accurate steering do help sweep you up in its general enthusiasm.

This is bad news for the efficiency – only the faintly self-flagellating will top 50mpg – but taken as a whole it’s an easy car to like. Normal service swiftly resumed.

The specs: VW Golf Match Bluemotion TSI

Price: £20,495 
Engine: 999cc turbo 3-cyl, 113bhp @ 5000-5500rpm, 148lb ft @ 2000-3500rpm 
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive 
Performance: 9.7sec 0-62mph, 127mph, 30.4mpg, 99g/km CO2 
Weight: 1211kg 
On Sale: Now
Rating: ****

Verdict: Prepare to be charmed into ruining its eco potential

Read more from the March 2016 issue of CAR magazine

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count