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Volkswagen unveils updated Golf; Millerized engines, semi-automated driving, digital cockpit and gesture control

Volkswagen presented a major update of the Golf in an event at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg. In addition to some design enhancements, the new Golf features new engines (including the Millerized 1.5L EA211 introduced at the Vienna Motor Symposium in April, earlier post), new assistance systems and a new generation of infotainment systems. As a world-first in the compact class, the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” infotainment system can be operated by gesture control.

With its 9.2-inch screen it forms a conceptual and visual entity with the Active Info Display (digital instrument panel), which is also new to the Golf. (earlier post) The updated Golf is also one of the first compact cars to be available with semi-automated driving functions—the new Traffic Jam Assist function can guide the Golf at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph) in strenuous stop-and-go traffic. It steers, brakes and accelerates the new Golf.


The main focus is on a completely new generation of infotainment and connectivity. No other compact car is smarter, safer or more interconnected.

—Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management

The relaunch of the Golf—which has sold more than 33 million units over its lifetime—have been sold, marks the beginning of the largest product offensive in the history of the Volkswagen brand. Diess said that the brand will introduce more than 10 new models and major updates in 2017. By 2020, the full line-up will be renewed.

Engines. The new Golf initially sees the debut of the new turbocharged gasoline engine EA211 “1.5 TSI Evo”—a 110 kW/150 PS four-cylinder engine with variable Active Cylinder Management (ACT). This will be followed by a BlueMotion version that produces 96 kW/130 PS—also with ACT, as well as a new coasting function, which temporarily completely shuts the engine down while driving.

The new TSI develops its maximum torque of 250 N·m at low revs of just 1,500 rpm. Estimated NEDC fuel consumption is 4.9 l/100 km (48 mpg US), equating to 110 g/km CO2. A BlueMotion version of the 1.5 TSI Evo with 96 kW/130 PS is also in preparation. The NEDC fuel consumption of this version will be 4.6 l/100 km (51 mpg US), or 104 g/km CO2.

The engines feature a new combustion cycle derived from the Miller cycle, and a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry (VTG).

The 1.5 TSI Evo with 130 PS also offers an extended coasting function when the engine is deactivated, completely shutting down the TSI when the driver releases the accelerator. Such engine deactivation has only been seen in conjunction with hybrid vehicles up to now, as systems like the electromechanical power steering and the brake servo still need to be supplied with energy even when the Evo motor is switched off.

The extended coasting function, which comes as standard, reduces fuel consumption in real-life operation by up to 0.4 l/100 km. Due to the coasting function and the other technical innovations, this 1.5 TSI Evo will offer a fuel consumption advantage of up to 1.0 l/100 km, depending on driving style.

Volkswagen has also boosted the performance of the Golf GTI, which will now deliver 169 kW/230 PS or 180 kW/245 PS (as the GTI Performance). A new 7-speed DSG (dual clutch transmission) will gradually replace all 6-speed DSGs as a high-efficiency gearbox for the Golf.

New assistance systems. The Golf was one of the first cars in the compact class with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, Lane Assist, Blind Spot Sensor, Rear Traffic Alert, Park Assist, Driver Alert System, reversing camera (Rear View), traffic sign recognition, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and trailer stabilisation. The updated Golf continues down this path.

With the 2017 model year Volkswagen is expanding the range of assistance systems, adding Traffic Jam Assist, the new Pedestrian Monitoring for Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Trailer Assist—the first time that a trailer maneuvering system has been available in the compact class—and Emergency Assist. The proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash) has also been refined.

  • Traffic Jam Assist: partially automated driving. Volkswagen has developed Traffic Jam Assist on the basis of Lane Assist (lane departure warning system) and ACC (automatic distance control) for all Golf models with a DSG gearbox. By combining various assistance systems the Golf is, for the first time, capable of partially automated driving.

  • Lane Assist plus ACC. Lane Assist provides the basis for this system with adaptive lane guidance even at speeds of below 60 km/h (38 mph). Not only does the system countersteer to make corrections if the car is about to leave the lane, but, with adaptive lane guidance enabled, it also keeps the Golf in the middle of the driving lane or in the driver's preferred position. ACC is also integrated in Traffic Jam Assist as a second assistance system, because, with ACC, braking and accelerating is automatic even at stop-and-go speeds. ACC and Lane Assist thus merge into Traffic Jam Assist, which means that the system enables assisted lateral and longitudinal guidance. The car steers, accelerates and brakes automatically, within the system's boundaries, but only under the condition that the driver's hands are on the steering wheel and participating in steering, so that the driver can intervene at any time.

  • Emergency Assist. The Golf notices if the driver is incapacitated. Another system in which Lane Assist and ACC merge to create a new assistance system is Emergency Assist: as soon as the sensors detect that the driver is not making any steering, braking or acceleration movements any more, the system initiates various escalating actions to alert the driver, and if the driver remains inactive, it initiates an emergency stop. The hazard warning lights are activated automatically and the Golf executes a gentle steering maneuver to make surrounding traffic aware of the hazardous situation. ACC prevents the vehicle from colliding with the traffic ahead. Finally, the system brakes the Golf gradually to a standstill to avoid a serious accident, if possible.

  • Front Assist and City Emergency Braking – detects pedestrians. Front Assist is a system which warns the driver and brakes automatically in the event of an imminent collision. One component of the Front Assist system is the City Emergency Braking function. The latest version of the Front Assist function is not only capable of detecting other vehicles, but also pedestrians who are crossing the street. As soon as a pedestrian is at risk, the system warns the driver and eventually slows the Golf down autonomously.

  • Trailer Assist. Trailer Assist is designed to free the driver of the complicated rethinking needed when reversing with a car and trailer, turning the steering wheel to the left so that the trailer turns to the right and vice versa. Generally, the goal was also to make reversing over straight and longer distances easier and more exact. Trailer Assist is now capable of doing this almost automatically.

    To reverse a Golf with a trailer into a parking bay or an entrance from the street, all the driver needs to do is stop at a suitable spot and engage reverse gear. The system is activated by pushing a button. Then the current driving angle and possible driving angles are displayed on the instrument cluster. This is achieved with image-processing algorithms that use data from the rear-view camera, which monitors and analyses the angle between the car and the trailer.

    Trailer Assist shown with Passat.

    With the help of the mirror adjustment switch, which serves as a sort of joystick, the driver can freely adjust the desired driving direction of the car-trailer combination. The Golf executes the steering commands entered by the driver, who only needs to operate the accelerator pedal and the brake. The driving direction of the Golf is automatically controlled by the electromechanical power steering system.

  • Park Assist 3.0 – semi-automated parking and maneuvering. Park Assist makes it possible to park in any parking space that is parallel or perpendicular to the carriageway semi-automatically, and the system can also exit from parallel parking spaces. In the case of perpendicular parking spaces, not only is parking in reverse supported for the first time in a Golf, but it is also possible to park in a forward direction semi-automatically.

    The first generation of Park Assist assisted the driver by performing automated steering for parallel parking. The second generation of Park Assist added automatic steering for reverse parking into spaces perpendicular to the carriageway, and parallel parking spaces could also be smaller. In addition, automatic exiting from parallel parking spaces was also possible.

    The third generation of Park Assist, which is now available for the Golf, also makes it possible, as outlined above, to park forwards semi-automatically in parking bays. Due to its high functional versatility, Park Assist 3.0 can optimally assist the driver, especially in difficult traffic situations, because it speeds up the parking process.

  • Proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash). The Golf is one of the first cars in its class to feature a proactive passenger protection system (PreCrash). The Golf update includes further refinement of the proactive passenger protection system. It also interacts intelligently with the Front Assist system to react to strong autonomous braking interventions and acute collision hazards in order to provide the best possible support to passengers in critical situations.

    If the system detects a potential accident situation—for example, through the initiation of hard braking because a brake assistant is activated—the front seatbelts are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the air bag and seatbelt system. When a critical and unstable driving situation is detected—such as severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention—the side windows and sunroof are also closed, except for a small gap. The reason for this is that when the windows and roof are nearly closed, the head and side airbags offer optimal energy absorption and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness.

The number of convenience and assistance systems increases with each new generation of vehicles. Many of these systems are individually adjusted, often by different drivers of the car. This means that drivers constantly have to restore their personal settings. Volkswagen has designed a new generation of personalization that simplifies this process significantly. This involves combining the individual settings for a driver into a user account, which is saved by the vehicle.

Drivers can open the user management menu to activate their individual user account, and thus implement their individual settings. Drivers simply identify themselves using their car key, which takes place when the Golf is unlocked. This activates initial settings such as adjusting the seat position on the driver’s side, which can now be saved using the memory function.

Personalization options in the Golf, depending on the specific equipment version, include:

  • Ambient lighting
  • ACC Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Front Assist
  • Infotainment system (incl. media library, navigation & telephone)
  • Automatic air conditioning settings
  • Instrument cluster/multifunction display
  • Lane Assist
  • Light and Sight (“leaving home” and “coming home” functions, rain sensor and automatic dimming rear-view mirror)
  • Park Assist
  • Locking/unlocking
  • Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert
  • Driver’s seat (seat with memory function)

Digital Golf: Active Info Display, gesture control and online services. The update of the Golf is most readily visible inside, because the 2017 model year offers a new and increasingly digital display and control concept. It is based on the new Active Info Display and the first infotainment system with gesture control to be offered in a production model Volkswagen. Along with this, Volkswagen has updated its whole range of infotainment systems.


Gesture control can be used in various different menus. All it takes is a swipe gesture to move the horizontally arranged menu items left or right, allowing the driver to scroll through the main menu, change radio stations, flip through the playlist or browse through the Picture Viewer and albums in the media library (CoverFlow). A ‘light flare’ indicates which options can be operated by gesture control and operation is supported by visual interactive feedback. Successful swipes are also confirmed by a sound effect, which can optionally be deactivated.


The Golf’s Active Info Display is a fully digital instrument cluster with numerous interactive functions. All of the instruments are displayed virtually on the 12.3-inch color display (resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels). The navigation information can be displayed in 2D or 3D.

There are five different information profiles, in which the kind of information and graphics displayed in certain areas changes. The driver can select from one of the following profiles: “Classic”, “Consumption & Range”, “Efficiency”, “Performance & Driver Assistance” or “Navigation”.


The “Navigation” profile is a good example of the interactive features of the Active Info Display: here, the speedometer and rev counter are moved to the sides to make more room for the map in the middle. Information on driving, navigation and assistance functions can also be integrated into the graphic areas of the speedometer and rev counter, as required. Data such as telephone contact images or CD covers can also be displayed on the Active Info Display.

Depending on the model, the graphics can be customized: in the Golf GTI, for example, the graphics use GTI red as a contrasting color, while the Golf GTE (plug-in hybrid) uses GTE blue to help the instruments blend in with the look of the plug-in hybrid. The Active Info Display is available as an optional extra for all versions of the Golf, as an alternative to analogue instruments.

MIB (the infotainment toolkit) with gesture control for the first time. Gesture control celebrates its world premiere in the compact class with its debut in the updated Golf. It will be available with the top-of-the-range version of the modular infotainment matrix (MIB) – “Discover Pro” as soon as the new model year is launched.

Volkswagen has replaced all of the existing infotainment systems in the Golf with a new generation of the MIB. The most important feature is that all of the systems now offer a new design and larger touchscreens, although the names of the infotainment systems remain unchanged.

The 5-inch “Composition Touch” and “Composition Color” systems (with a display resolution of 400 x 240 pixels) have been replaced by the new 6.5-inch “Composition Color” system, with a touchscreen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and the black-and-white “Composition Touch” has been discontinued.

The next level up, “Composition Media” and “Discover Media” (incl. navigation) have so far had 6.5-inch screens. They have also been replaced by systems with the same names, but with 8.0-inch screens, while the resolution of 800 x 480 pixels also remains unchanged. The 8.0-inch screen of the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” system (incl. navigation) will from now on be replaced by a 9.2-inch touchscreen, with the resolution increased from 800 x 480 to 1280 x 640 pixels. The new “Discover Pro” will be the first Volkswagen infotainment system to offer both touch- and voice-command operation with gesture control in addition to proximity sensors— a world premiere in the compact car segment. Volkswagen plans to introduce the new systems in several other product lines in the course of 2017.

“Discover Pro” in detail. Not only does the “Discover Pro” version of the MIB have a 9.2-inch display with a resolution that has increased from 117 to 155 dpi, it has also been completely redesigned. In contrast to the previous 8.0-inch system used in the Golf, the entire front is spanned by a glass surface (also applies to the new “Discover Media” system). All haptic operation is performed via the touchscreen and five capacitive panels on the left side of the new infotainment system. This vertical bar on the left comprises the functions: “Menu”, “Home”, “On/Off”, “Volume up” and “Volume down”—in other words the main commands, because the driver needs to have direct access to functions such as the volume control. The same applies to the capacitive panel “Home”, with which the driver can get back to the main menu – and thus the home screen – from any of the sub-menus in an instant.


In contrast to the previous version of the “Discover Pro”, the driver can now also configure the home screen. The navigation function is displayed in a large panel on the left of the screen, while there are two smaller panels arranged verticallyon the right. The driver can assign important functions to these two display panels, which are also interactive – for instance the radio or the media library in the top panel and his phone contacts in the bottom panel. Like on a smartphone, as soon as the driver touches the “Home” button—no matter which menu might currently be active—the system will return to the personalized home screen, as outlined above.

The range of equipment offered with the "Discover Pro" system also includes an amp with an output of 4 x 20 watts; a DVD drive; two USB ports (Apple compatible); two SD card slots; AUX-IN socket; a 10 GB SSD drive; the full range of music playback capabilities; a movie player; jukebox; podcast player; proximity sensor; and voice control as well as navigation.

Optional are a “Rear View” (reversing camera), DAB+, up to two extra USB sockets as well as two mobile phone interfaces. In the updated Golf the driver or front seat passenger can simply put their smartphone in a redesigned optional storage compartment with an interface for mobile telephones (“Comfort” mobile phone pre-installation). The highlight here is that the phone can be charged and coupled to the vehicle’s external antenna inductively in accordance with the Qi standard. Other optional extras include the Car-Net options “App Connect”, “Security & Service” (new in the Golf) and “Guide & Inform”, while “Media Control” is available as an optional extra for the infotainment functions.

App Connect. The latest generation of the modular infotainment matrix allows the Golf to connect to current Apple and Android smartphones via App Connect, because, along with MirrorLink (Android), App Connect can now also integrate CarPlay (Apple) and Android Auto (Google) into vehicle infotainment systems.

Security & Service. This is the first time that Volkswagen has offered the “Security & Service” package in the Golf. This gives the driver mobile access to assistance in a wide range of situations. The highlights include services such as “Automatic Accident Notification”, “Breakdown Call” and “Service Scheduling” (for making maintenance appointments with your garage). Breakdown Call allows the driver to use the infotainment system to contact the Volkswagen Emergency Call Center, which can then arrange for prompt assistance or medical attention, while the system already sends the vehicle data and its location to the emergency services when the driver calls for roadside assistance.

Over and above this, “Security & Service” offers functions such as online monitoring of “Doors & Lights” as well as information on “Parking Position” (by smartphone or web portal). Anyone who has a learner driver in the family will appreciate “Area Alert” (which automatically notifies you if the Golf is driven in or leaves certain areas) and “Speed Alert” (which is activated as soon as a certain speed is exceeded). Another useful feature is the “Online Anti-Theft Alarm”, which will send you a notification via the Volkswagen Car-Net app on your smartphone or by email if an attempt is made to break into the car.

Advance sales of the 2017 model year Golf will start at the beginning of December, with prices starting at the same base price, despite higher specifications. Volkswagen will also celebrate the world premiere of the new e-Golf with significantly increased range at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.



Not too much talk of the diesel version.

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