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Third-generation Golf BlueMotion concept lowers fuel consumption to 3.2 l/100 km (73.5 mpg US); on sale in summer 2013

The latest Golf BlueMotion. Click to enlarge.

At the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, Volkswagen is unveiling a new Golf BlueMotion concept car. This Golf concept, powered by another new 1.6-liter TDI (turbodiesel) consumes 3.2 l/100 km (73.5 mpg US), equivalent to 85 gCO2/km. The 81 kW / 108 hp Golf BlueMotion is a five-seater that is capable of 202 km/h (125 mph). This third generation Golf BlueMotion will be launched into the market in summer 2013.

The first generation of the Golf BlueMotion made its debut five years ago at the Geneva Motor Show; the car was launched into the market at the end of 2007. At that time, the Golf BlueMotion offered fuel consumption 4.5 l/100 km (52.3 mpg US). In 2009, Volkswagen showed the second generation Golf BlueMotion, also in Geneva; its fuel consumption had been reduced to 3.8 l/100 km (62 mpg US) (earlier post); first deliveries of the production version of this Golf BlueMotion were made in October of the same year.

Fuel consumption for the third generation Golf BlueMotion is thus reduced by another 0.6 liters (15%) and CO2 emissions by 14 grams per km.

With a 50-liter fuel tank and 3.2 l/100 km fuel consumption, the new Golf has a theoretical range of 1,562 km (971 miles). Given an average annual driving distance of 15,000 km, most drivers will only have to refuel this Volkswagen ten times per year. At the current price of fuel in Germany (Source: German Petroleum Industry Association, July 2012) this would amount to a total fuel cost for the year of a €694 (US$893).

The car’s combined fuel consumption— the lowest yet attained in a conventionally-fueled Golf— was enabled by innovative lightweight design (including 26 kg less weight in the chassis and 37 kg less in the superstructure); engine-related modifications; and a collection of other measures. These include super low rolling resistance tires with higher air pressure; longer gear ratios (5-speed manual gearbox); the Stop/Start system; and battery regeneration mode that are standard in all new Golf cars and specific aerodynamic modifications.

In the area of aerodynamics, the frontal area of the new Golf was reduced by 0.03 m2 and aerodynamic drag (cD x A) by nearly 10%. Compared to other Golf models, the aerodynamics of the BlueMotion were also refined by a lowered chassis (by 15 mm); a roof spoiler; lateral air guide elements on the rear window; a radiator grille that is closed to the outside; partially closed air inlet screens; optimized cooling airflow; special underfloor panels; optimized brake cooling channels; and a C-pillar spoiler. These measures take the Golf BlueMotion to a cD value of 0.27, making it one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in its class.

In the Golf BlueMotion concept car, Volkswagen is employing a 1.6-liter turbodiesel direct injection engine from the newly developed EA288 engine series. (Earlier post.) The sixteen-valve, four-cylinder engine develops its maximum torque of 250 N·m (184 lb-ft) at a low 1,500 rpm; this torque is available up to an engine speed of 2,750 rpm. Various measures and technologies such as reduced internal friction; an innovative thermal management system with shortened warm-up phase; exhaust gas recirculation (EGR); cylinder pressure sensor; two-stage oil pump; switching water pump and water-cooled intercooler right in the intake manifold result in successfully reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

To reduce emissions values further, Volkswagen has also implemented an oxidation catalytic converter, a diesel particulate filter and a NOx storage catalytic converter.

Until now, the most fuel-efficient Golf was only offered as a single specific BlueMotion model. That will change with the new production model, which will be available as either a Trendline or Comfortline equipment version. The new Golf BlueMotion will also be exclusively offered with 15- and 16-inch wheels to optimize weight, aerodynamics and rolling resistance.



To go that far with 1L of diesel you have to keep a steady speed of no more than 72 kph, on a flat terrain/road without head wind, without passengers nor cargo in the trunk and less than 10L of fuel in the tank. That's what VW has told my son-in-law to do to get more than the current 800 Km/tank full with his Jetta TDI. The original VW claim was 1100+ Km/tank full.

Thomas Pedersen

Harvey, you live in Canada, eh?

In case it's very cold, increased air density alone can increase drag by 10% or more. Phat tires also increase fuel consumption by 10% or so - at least they did on my Golf V TDI.

Obviously, there is no gunning it if you want to attain great fuel consumption.

As long as the new version uses less fuel than the old one under all driving conditions, I'm on board.

I'm impressed that it reaches 202 km/h with just 108 hp. That was the top speed of my 140 hp Golf V (non-Bluemotion...)

This vehicle 'I am interested to buy'. A modern 1.6 TDI is enough for a Golf. It probably doesn't accelerate like a bad out of Hell but there is something to be said for being able to go 75 mph/120 km/t with less than 4 l/100km.


They don't say where this will be sold; it may be a Europe-only vehicle.

My first Golf (Rabbit) would barely reach 150 kph, so 202 kph is pretty impressive.


TP...we also have rather hot summers, with 30+ days above +30C and even a few days above +35C this year. Our weather (specially our winters) have been getting much warmer in the last 20+ years, 2012 will be a record hot year.


I wonder if the break-in period, which can be long, still reduces the MPG.


The aero wheels might look better with different paint options, like all black, or all metallic.


Pretty impressive.

I wonder if all/most of the concept car goodies will be on the production version.


That is around a 30% improvement in petrol consumption in 5 years.
No wonder that electric cars are having difficulty gaining traction.


If you drive as in the European NEDC driving cycle, i.e. a temperature range of +20 to +30°C, roughly 40:60 mix of city driving and highway driving with maximum 120 km/h in the latter case, you will get similar fuel economy as the official numbers. The NEDC cycle is used for certifying any EU car type, i.e. also your beloved EV and HEVs. Colder climate will of course increase fuel consumption but this affects other cars, e.g. EVs, much more in relative terms than cars with ICEs.

The official fuel consumption is 4.9 l/100 km for my current car and I generally get this figure or slightly better. This I do even in the wintertime but it may partly be due to the fact that I have my car in a warm garage at home and not in the cold climate outside. Normally, I get more than 1 200 km on a 65 liter tank. HarveyD, you should tell your son in law a couple of lessons in ecodriving.

Yesterday, I ordered a Ford Focus ECOnetic from my local dealer. It has a 105 hp 270 Nm diesel engine with DPF and NOx catalyst. The fuel consumption is 3.4 l/100 km and CO2 is 88 g/km. This is somewhat higher than the VW Golf by my car will be a “station wagon” type of car. It is not a concept car but a reality that can be delivered on normal customer order timeframe.


I'm seriously tempted. Obviously as demand grows for diesel fuel the number of vendors will increase. I just hope the engine is reliable. I once had a Checker cab with a GM deisel that broke down and dripped fuel oil onto 6th Avenue until the wrecker arrived.


Europe is 60-70% diesel cars, they do work.
You'll probably get within 10% of the quoted figures if you don't drive too aggressively.
However, I heard of a guy who had a problem with a diesel golf (might have been a BlueMotion version) and was told that he wasn't driving it enough!

So not the best car for pottering around town, great for long commutes and other long runs.

@EP, the aerodynamics and rolling resistance reduction etc result in a high top speed for the power.

The more effective parts of the economy tweeks end up in the next version of the standard golf, which is also good news.


It can take 50,000 mile to run in a modern VW engine.
They charge too big a premium for their 'Blue' versions though, and you are better off getting the standard one.
The worthwhile innovations in the blue ones, as opposed to those that ruin the driving experience, filter down anyway.


The most cost effective (sales/dollar) end up in the production version.


The top speed of the Ford Focus ECOnetic is 187 km/h. If one takes the difference in power between the cars into account in a calculation, the top speed of the Focus with similar power would be 191.4 km/h. Under the assumption that the transmission and final drive provide roughly similar conditions for maximum top speed for both cars, the aerodynamics of the VW Golf must be significantly better, or else the frontal area of the VW Golf is smaller (note that the height was reduced for the new model).


At first glance, I overlooked one comment in the article: "...a NOx storage catalytic converter". The Focus ECOnetic also has a NOx storage catalyst; a good feature (in both cases). I have not yet found any information about if these cars are certified according to Euro 6 but I suppose they will be. Most new BMW diesel engines in the 1-, 3- and 5-series are equipped with NOx storage catalysts and meet Euro 6, although BMW does not promote this in their advertising (I cannot understand why...).

The Mazda SKYACTIVE engines and Mercedes 2.2 CDI engine meet Euro 6 without any NOx aftertreatment. In contrast to gasoline engines, this should enable good long-term durability regarding NOx emission control. Gasoline engine emissions are prone to catalyst deterioration. It remains to be seen how the diesel NOx storage catalyst will work in this respect. In my projection for the next couple of years, most diesel cars with engine size < 2 liters will probably not need any NOx aftertreatment. Possibly, this “envelope” could be “stretched” to larger engines with additional development. On the other hand, if the emission limits would become more stringent in Euro 7, NOx aftertreatment might be needed also for smaller cars.

Matti Nikkinen

"However, I heard of a guy who had a problem with a diesel golf (might have been a BlueMotion version) and was told that he wasn't driving it enough!"

Driving only short trips with a modern diesel will probably cause problems with particle filter, because it won't be able to regenerate (=clean itself) properly. And when it fails, your wallet is going to experience some serious weight loss..

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