For Volkswagen, the Golf still is the number one cash cow. Get it right, and the entire group will thrive. Get it wrong, and the balance sheets will be blotched with red ink. It does therefore not come as a surprise that VW is preparing the Golf MK7 in the spirit of the successful Mk6.
Group chairman Martin Winterkorn has already whet our appetite. He's told CAR: 'The modular transverse matrix [new MQB architecture underpinning the Golf and future Seats] opens a new set of opportunities. By being significantly more space-efficient, MQB offers distinct packaging advantages - which in turn will directly influence the shape of the car. Don't worry: the next Golf will again be instantly recognisable as a Golf. But it will also push out the envelope in a way no previous transition from one model generation to the next has done.'
Work on the Golf VII started in spring 2007 and VW will unveil the car formally at the 2012 Paris motors show in September. UK sales kick off a few months after this, probably in time for spring 2013.
VW Golf Mk7: the new spy photos
Our new images show a same-again bodystyle at first glance. But look more closely and you can detect a few MQB attributes: notably shorter overhangs, a longer wheelbase and a more advanced silhouette featuring a more steeply raked windscreen and a more upright rear window.
Described by insiders as the evolution of a icon, the car combines radically modern proportions with trademark cues like wide C-posts, geometric cutlines and a slim grille with wraparound lights. This spyshot appears to show a car with a full-length glass sunroof.
Why MQB is so flexible
Thanks to MQB, VW is envisaging three different wheelbase configurations: short (2630mm) for the hatchbacks, midsize (2680mm) for Jetta, Tiguan and Golf Variant, long (2790mm) for Touran and
Tiguan XL (USA and China only).
The luggage capacity increases accordingly, from 405 litres in the Golf to 455 litres in the Golf Plus to 505 litres in the Golf Variant estate.
This gradation also applies to other key dimensional elements like length, width, height, wheelbase, overhangs, wheel diameter, and the H-point which defines the seating position. Within the MQB architecture, there exist three different components sets tailormade for Polo, Golf and Passat.
Each components set is subdivided into five modules labelled drivetrain, chassis, electrics/electronics, body and interior. The Golf VII does not only offer more flexibility in style, more variation in size and more packaging options - thanks to the streamlining effects inherent to MQB, it is also going to be about 20% less expensive to produce than its predecessor.
Sounds like project VW370 is going to keep the cash tills ringing in Wolfsburg.
Tech onboard the new 2013 Golf Mk7
See that camera mounted next to the rear-view mirror? That confirms what we already knew: that the new Golf will offer advanced options and state-of-the-art driver assistance systems like affordable automatic cruise control, traffic sign recognition, self-park feature, navigation with fuel save mode and front/side/rear-view cameras.
Engines will include high-efficiency downsized turbocharged direct-injection engines and, eventually, a full spectrum of alternative powertrains (mild hybrid, full hybrid, plug-in hybrid, twin drive range extender and electric drive).