Eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf makes its long-awaited Singapore debut with 1.5 eTSI and GTI models, bringing a mild hybrid drivetrain. and a whole slew of new tech, pricing starts from S$125,900 with COE
First published May 19, 2020
Update May 20, 2020 with full pricing details
For now, the regular Golf is available as a 1.5 or as a 2.0 GTI. The standard 1.5 eTSI model – eTSI denoting that it’s a mild hybrid – has a starting price of S$125,900 inclusive of COE. It’s available in three equipment/trim levels – Life (S$125,900), Life Plus (S$132,900), and R-Line S$142,900) all prices including COE and VES.
The Golf GTI (below) meanwhile retails for S$205,900 including COE.
We’ve had a short spin in both cars: Read our Derryn’s quick take on the Golf 1.5 eTSI here, and Ju-Len’s first impression of the GTI here!
While there are sub-130hp versions of the Golf overseas, such as the 110hp 1.0-litre inline three, Volkswagen Singapore says it currently has no plans to expand the engine offerings for the regular Golf just yet. The Golf R has no confirmed release date for Singapore either.
Over 35 million units of the Golf have been produced ever since the first generation model was launched in 1974, making it arguably the brand’s most important and recognisable nameplate. “The Golf is one of the most iconic Volkswagens of all time,” says Ricky Tay, Managing Director of Volkswagen Group Singapore. He adds, “The new eighth generation model follows in some mighty footsteps, but never before has a Golf been so progressive and so connected.”
The new Golf sits on Volkswagen’s MQB EVO platform, as already seen on the latest Audi A3 that was launched here last week. Like the A3, the standard Golf 1.5 features a 48V mild hybrid system that’s paired with its 150hp engine, helping it snare a VES A2 rebate of S$15,000. The Golf GTI meanwhile gets a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that produces 245hp, a bump of 25hp over the Mk7 GTI model.
The Golf’s design has always been evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and the new model continues that tradition. The car’s familiar silhouette is retained, as are its dimensions. The new Golf measures 4,284mm long, 1,789mm wide and 1,491mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,619mm, making it nearly identical in footprint with its predecessor.
Distinctive elements, such as the thick-set C-pillars, remain, but the overall styling is sharper and more dynamic than before. The slim-looking LED headlights are matched with a thin grille across the front, and on R-Line spec (below) and the GTI hot hatch models, there’s even a thin LED light strip running above the grille, giving the car a uniquely distinctive look.
The rear features dynamic LED taillights, as well as ‘Golf’ lettering across the boot lid for the first time. The new Golf also marks the debut of Volkswagen’s new logo in Singapore, and while it looks similar to the old one, the new design is flatter and has a more two-dimensional look.
The GTI adds its usual performance bits, such as red trim throughout, and the car’s iconic honeycomb grille design, which is now translated onto the lower front bumper intakes and hexagon foglights inset into the motif. A lowered stance and large 19-inch ‘Adelaide’ alloy wheels further contribute to the GTI’s aggressive looks.
The biggest headline is the Golf’s new drivetrain, which features a 1.5-litre engine with 150hp and 250Nm of torque, matched with a 48V mild hybrid drivetrain. The system allows the car to coast with the combustion engine switched off, and the engine itself also features cylinder deactivation technology, which can switch off two of its four cylinders, further enhancing efficiency.
48V mild hybrid systems are starting to become commonplace, not just in high-end luxury models, but on smaller, more accessible cars as well. Alongside the Golf’s sibling the Audi A3, the compact Suzuki Swift Sport is another that incorporates a 48V mild hybrid system in its drivetrain. A hybrid system is looking increasingly crucial for cars to maintain cost-effectiveness with the help of VES rebates.
Volkswagen claims that the new mild hybrid setup allows the car to be 10 percent more efficient than before, and the Golf 1.5’s fuel consumption figure of 4.8L/100km is certainly an improvement over the outgoing Golf 1.4’s figure of 5.5L/100m.
The Golf GTI meanwhile has a regular powertrain, with its 2.0-litre engine producing 245hp and 370Nm of torque, allowing it to go from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds. Despite that, it manages to avoid a VES penalty, with a B Neutral rating. It also features an enhanced version of Volkswagen’s DCC adaptive chassis control system, which allows for a greater range of adjustment of the car’s suspension damping settings to suit the relevant driving conditions.
Interior and equipment
Inside, the new Golf has gone all digital, with a mostly screen-based setup, and physical buttons kept to a minimum. The instrument cluster is now a 10.25-inch screen dubbed Digital Cockpit Pro, and is standard for all models. It’s complemented by the Composition 8.25-inch infotainment screen on the dashboard for the Golf Life and Life Plus models, while digital touch sensitive buttons control key functions such as the lights and air conditioning.
In keeping with the digital theme, wireless smartphone charging is standard for all models, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The GTI adds wireless CarPlay/Android Auto to its repertoire, along with a head-up display. Meanwhile, the new shift-by-wire gear selector has been reduced significantly in size, freeing up even more real estate in the cabin.
Volkswagen Singapore is offering three trim levels for the standard Golf, namely Life, Life Plus and R-Line. The entry-level Life features an extensive stack of features including the above-mentioned LED lights and wireless chargers, as well as 10-colour interior ambient lighting and keyless entry. Safety features such as driver fatigue detection and side assist with rear traffic alert are also standard, although the Golf surprisingly does without key items such as a front collision warning and mitigation system.
The Life Plus adds to that 18-inch alloy wheels (the Life gets 17s), front cornering headlights, dynamic taillight indicators, 30-colour interior ambient lighthing, and a 3-zone climate control system with allergen filters and air con controls for the rear passengers.
The top-spec R-Line gets its own R-Line styling pack that includes a unique 18-inch alloy wheel design, lowered suspension, chrome exhaust tips, sports seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel. It also receives an upgraded 10-inch Discover Pro infotainment screen, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity as seen in the GTI.
Volkswagen Golf: History
– 1974: The Volkswagen Golf debuts, originally conceived as a replacement for the Beetle. 35 million units have been produced since over eight generations
– 2012: Seventh-generation Golf arrives. We drive the 1.4 TSI model in Singapore
– 2017: Mid-life facelift introduced. Features new engines and added equipment. Read our test drive here
– Other models available include the high performance Golf GTI and Golf R hot hatches, the drop-top Cabriolet, the Golf Variant estate, and the Golf Sportsvan small crossover MPV