Tag: Golf

We roadtrip with VW South Africa and visit the Gerhard Volksie Museum!

VW Golf GTD

We visit the Gerhard Volksie Museum while road tripping with VW South Africa.

A few weeks back we embarked on a roadtrip with VW South Africa, encompassing historical landmarks and an interesting quiz. Our journey took place from JHB to Bloemfontein. This activation wasn’t really a launch, but more of a way to kick-back, relax and enjoy some great cars and have fun at the end of a long year.

The “Amazing Race” involved completing various tasks, finding the answers to certain questions and also capturing specific types of images, all while being as creative as possible. These activities needed to be completed on our way to bloemfontein as we were acquainted with VW’s new Golf range, the R, GTI and GTD.

With the first day spent behind the wheel of the GTD, it was good to reflect on what this car is all about. The statement of “ Diesel GTI” is a very bold one to make, and in my opinion, the GTD doesn’t live up to that title from a performance perspective. The performance figures are not bad at all however with 130kW and 350Nm, on top of that, the GTD pulls off nicely with a heap of low-end torque. It simply doesn’t have the exciting demeanor that a GTI possesses. It’s a much calmer experience, whilst the GTI is more of a boy racer.  

This doesn’t make the Golf GTD a bad car at all, in fact from a handling perspective, it’s right up there with a GTI. I feel many expected more from this car in terms of performance and when it didn’t give them what they wanted, they simple wrote it off. This isn’t a fair assumption in my book, if we take the GTD for what it is, it’s a fantastic vehicle. For starters, the aesthetics are on par with that of its more powerful siblings, it features the latest tech of the 7.5 which is a big improvement over the Golf 7. Overall, it’s a wonderful car to drive, especially on a long road. Smooth and comfortable are words that come to mind when it comes to the GTD. If you’ve experienced previous iterations of VW’s fast diesels you realise that the GTD is progression of that, with a GTI chassis fitted to it.  

So far so good, the Amazing race proving to be enjoyable. Things got livelier that evening as we headed to a local shabeen for a reflection on the day, with the rest of the group and much needed Chesa Nyama. As you can see, my pale British self has truly embraced South African culture.  

On our second day, we swapped the GTD for the R and headed towards the direction of Johannesburg. First things first though, we headed to a local Volkswagen museum. It seemed strange for all of us find a VW museum in the middle of nowhere, until we arrived and saw the vehicles on display. My word.

The Gerhard Volksie Museum situated in the Free State was one of amazement. Gerhard’s operation focuses on air-cooled VW’s such as original Beetles, Karmann Ghias and Kombi’s. The vehicles on display were fantastic, from fully restored Kombi’s to amazing Beetles in many colours. There was also some special treasures to be found such as an old-school ambulance with just 40,000kms on the clock and one of the last CITI Golf’s ever produced with a mere 1500 kms under its belt.

I personally took a liking to the many Kombi’s on offer, which were beautifully restored and ready to hit the road. Gerhard even mentioned that many of them would make it to Cape Town without skipping a beat – I’ve been negotiating with my wife ever since. To put the cherry on the cake, we all jumped at the option to sample a vehicle, I opted for the Kombi. I must say, I don’t think any other classic vehicle has put such a smile on my face. It featured on oversized steering wheel, a confusing 4 speed gearbox and no seatbelts, but yet it was such a pleasure to drive.

Our road trip came to an end with the last stretch of around 300kms in the Golf R – the most powerful of all the Golf variants on offer. I must be honest, the R maybe the fastest, but it certainly isn’t my favorite model in the range. Its quick and sounds great, but the four-wheel drive system has an ever so slight numbing effect, I would personally opt for a GTI if I had to pick from the three. it just offers more driving enjoyment and excitement for my hooligan tendencies.

Overall it has been a good year for the VW Brand, with the release of many models which have been a huge success for them. There have been hints of an even better 2018 with more new and exciting cars on the way, so we look forward to seeing what is literally just around the corner.

The Golf R32 – The best fast AWD Golf thus far?

Golf R32

The Golf R32 Driven Review

With October kicking itself off with gloomy and stormy weather and muscle tops and sunglasses replaced with coats and boots, it’s safe to say the overall “suns out guns out” atmosphere has changed drastically. The only real way I could do any road testing in what seems to be an endless torrential downpour was in a boat, this was until an unexpected conversation with a rather attractive lady owner of a black 2007 VW Golf R32…

The conversation led to the conclusion that I would take her number – because of course, and we would link up again for a day of rigorous road testing. The “date” had arrived and late on a Saturday, the inquisitive lady saw it fit to tag along during my escapades in her pride and joy. The car was a very clean example, with only 97 thousand kilometres on the clock, fully original with the exclusion of an imported Milltek full exhaust. Sadly I noted the tires were a set that I hate most in the world, Yokohama S-drives, which I dislike for their lack of grip when compared to rival tires, but nevertheless, it would prove to be an interesting day.

Driving Impressions

After being dragged out of my warm house and away from my snuggle buddy – Mr Cuddles a plush toy teddy, with only the flooded roads and full body wetness to look forward to, I set off to the prescribed meeting location.  After the obligatory “Hellos” and pretending to be interested in the happenings and day of others, I began about on a full walk around and examination of this specimen of German engineering. Rather grumpily climbed into the driver’s seat and was almost fondled by the optional buckets fitted to this vehicle. The seats are incredibly aggressive and hold one’s figure tightly and proved to be rather well suited to aggressive cornering. The interior is typical VW, the layout simple and uncomplicated. Everything functional and full of leather and soft-touch surfaces. Handed the keys, a simple twist to the ignition let loose a loud and aggressive six- cylinder burble, unmistakably Volkswagen’s famed 3.2-litre VR6 Motor. The exhaust drone was extravagant and let a touch too much noise into the cabin when driving around in town, and this didn’t help my mood, nor did the passenger and owner who selected to drown this out with the hard-hitting bars and cuss words all too familiar with a classic Snoop Album. Now I like Snoop, maybe even more than most, but I wanted to return to the warmth of my bed and fill my face with coffee and my gran’s baked treats.

Leaving the empty city roads behind, I flicked the references to shootings and marijuana off and flicked the DSG box into “S”. Given the road was very wet and slippery, knowing I had 4Motion All-wheel drive as my safety net; I began the dance of G-forces. The owner began to look more and more concerned as the speed climbed. With the choice of road being rather familiar now, I entered each corner rather rapidly and the steering was bang on, pointing the nose at the apex, relaying exactly where the front wheels were facing and as grip began to wash at the front, my organs began to feel the power moving around to the rear wheels. The grip is endless and very much confidence inspiring. Driving you out the apex is this deep and throaty VR6 delivering 184 kW all the way up at 6 300 rpm. The journey to the rev-limit is immense and this theatrical experience with the revs climbing and reaching impressive eargasmic levels of audio solace. The motor pulls strong on a wave of N.m delivering 320 torques from a lowly 2 500 rpm, and this translates to a linear and constant shove rather than the push to into your seat that a turbo car would deliver. The experience is fantastic as the engine screams to 7000 rpm before its time to bang in the next cog, it’s brilliantly agile and the extra weight of the differentials and electronic Haldex magic machines is not enough to unsettle the properly sorted MK5 chassis. The tricky dynamic stuff now done and the R32 having impressed, the true test was now in the typical let down of the fast Golf AWD.  The endless grip and clever Haldex trickery often leaves you cold when looking for fun rather than precision quickness. I’ve always maintained the MK6 and Mk7 R’s were like a night out with the choice of drink being Beck, non-Alcoholic beer. Look, you’ll have a great time but, you can’t be silly and dance on tables till you vomit everywhere and wake-up to the black eye the bouncer gave you. This did improve with the Mk7.5 with it being more fun, but still being likened to cheap vodka – great fun, horrible hangover. The hangover in its case being the Stupid R657 000 asking price.

The Mk5 R32 does the fun element very well, the VR6 adds so much character and when being manic with the handbrake on entry to wet corners and traffic circles, the 320 N.m do a great job of keeping all fours spinning, enough to pull cute AWD skids, moving the 90% front power bias around to the wheels with grip and this is rather amazing, scary for your passengers but rather epic. Even the humble undercover parking lot provides for some merriment, the V6 and a heavy throttle input almost always manage to scare a few parked cars into alarm blaring cries of fear. After all the fun and jolliness of skids and being kicked out of parking garages,  the return trip saw the pretty lady rather impressed with what I’d like to believe was the modicum of talent and overwhelming stupidity I possessed, and like a magician I announced my final trick was launch control at the sight of the red light.  This was a bit of a letdown given the lowly 3 000 rpm launch limit doesn’t allow for enough slip to make it properly brisk but 6.5 seconds is impressive given the car’s 10 years of existence, so too the top speed of 250km/h.

SUMMARY

The R32 is very impressive as an all-weather machine, its old school in its demeanour with no turbo lag, no invasive electronic nannies, just a great big engine, a loud exhaust and a clever way of delivering the power. Its Haldex based 4Motion AWD system feels less restrictive than the new safety-conscious models and the engine still very strong. The addition of an exhaust to this just makes it truly epic, I would still argue this is the best AWD golf thus far and to prove this point I’m prepared to have an actual fist fight in its defense – I’d lose but it’s the principle that counts.

GOLF MK5 R32 PRICING IN SOUTH AFRICA

The R32 can be had for around R200k, with the cleaner models with low mileage climbing into the R250 000 mark. The engines are strong and last forever and see over 300 000 km. The VW reliability comes standard, and so too does the 10l/100km when driving around town and double that when “On a night out”   

40 Years on – bigger, faster and filled with tech – Golf 7.5 GTI

Golf 7.5 GTI

VW Golf 7.5 GTI Driven

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has become an icon. Since 1975, the Golf GTI has brought practicality, quality, performance and safety, the latter I know well of after my mother spun a Mk5 Golf on the M6 Motorway some years ago.

The original goal with the Golf GTI was to take a practical, family oriented car and drop in a high performance engine, thus making it not only practical but also sporty. The 1975  GTI was the one that started it all, the original hot hatch.

MK 1 Golf GTI

Shoot forward 40+ years and we are the arrival of the Golf GTI 7.5. It’s bigger, faster and filled with tech. Even so, the same principles still apply, it is still family oriented, it’s still practical and flip, its still fast.

What’s Changed

A keen eye will notice the visual changes immediately. The newly designed front bumper, along with the full LED headlights, give the updated GTI a much more aggressive look.One which I much prefer over the Golf 7 GTI and more resembles the GTI Clubsport. The rear also features full LED lighting with the swishing indicator lights adding a nice touch. The Golf 7.5 retains its dual chrome exhaust tips, but on this model they are bigger, also like the Clubsport. They suit the rear nicely and don’t look lost, like they did on the previous model.

I felt that the Golf 7 GTI looked a little plain but the changes to the updated model, in my opinion, make a massive difference – the Golf 7.5 GTI looks like an aggressive performance hot hatch.

There are two big changes on the inside with one of these being the updated Discover Navigation Pro, which features a new 9.2-inch display. Not only is the display bigger, but it also has a higher resolution and can be controlled by hand gestures. It’s also flush with the dashboard and finished in gloss black, giving it a fantastic premium look. The second is the Digital Cockpit, which seems to becoming more of a common technology in premium vehicles of late. Simply, a full digital display replaces the standard dashboard dials which allows for much more information to be shown, such as navigation, music, car settings and even personal visual preferences. Overall, these subtle changes reflect a comfortable, premium feel.

Golf 7.5 GTI Interior

 

Driving

On paper, the performance enhancements to the Golf GTI 7.5 are minimal, with the same 169 kW output from the 2.0 TSI motor. Even so, l kept asking myself why the GTI felt so fast and why the chassis felt so connected. The front end grip and overall performance this car produces is something that will remain edged into in my mind.  

The steering is weighted nicely, if perhaps a notch too heavy, but this allowed for a fantastic driving feel. Drive the GTI fast in a straight line and you will be impressed, drive the GTI fast through a series of corners and you will really feel the car come alive. The front end provides so much grip that one could say it feels like the car is on rails, a very engaging experience indeed.

The beauty of this is that on another day, a quick switch of driving modes to comfort softens the suspension, relaxes the gearbox, tones down the engine noise and provides a much more easy, everyday experience. The Golf GTI has always provided practically with performance but thanks to technology, this is now ever more present.

With a starting price of R545 000 it may sound pricey, but one needs to consider what they are getting for that price. The Golf GTI is a premium product and this is easily seen through the build quality of the car, the improvements in interior and exterior styling, and the powerful 2.0 TSI Engine.

Our test vehicle was specced to over R600k so if you are budget conscious, you may want to pick your optional extras wisely. For me, the discover navigation pro is a must, along with the Digital Cockpit and Dynaudio system. The Adaptive Chassis Control is also a good option if you wish to adapt the driving comfort to your mood.

VW Golf 7.5 GTI Pricing in South Africa

R545 000

The VW Golf 7.5 GTI comes with 3 year/120 000km Warranty and a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan.

Our first drive of the Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

VW Golf 7.5 GTI

South African Launch: Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

 

Whenever a new Golf is launched, there is excitement beyond belief. First and foremost, it’s been widely regarded as the benchmark in its class and for good reason. Its brilliant! Whether you are starting a new job, transporting kids to and from school, or want a car so that you can have space for your grandkids, it’s the best all-rounder and has remained that way for the last couple of decades. The latest version, or “facelift” in normal terms may be a slight improvement on the current Golf 7, but those small changes make for strides in comfort, luxury and of cause, sportiness.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We flew out to Port Elizabeth to sample the latest version and more specifically, the GTI and my oh my. It’s like your hot friend that was already a looker but decided to go and get a trainer  for a full year, and has come back looking like a model for GQ magazine.

The changes to the new  VW Golf 7.5 GTI are small, but they certainly make you notice it. The “GTI Line” in red now gets broken up and hugs the new LED headlights. Traces of the honeycomb grille finish off the bottom of the LEDs and give the eyes a more aggressive look. The front and rear bumper have also been tweaked for a sportier appeal with the cherry on top being  the new lights with progressive indicators. Small changes as mentioned, but overall, a more svelte athlete.

Updated VW Golf GTI

In the interior, you are immediately greeted by the new LCD electronic display in the instrument binacle which can be adjusted to suit. The examples that we sampled featured  the Discover Pro Navigation, in which the maps and directions sit right in between the rev counter and tachometer for easy viewing. The Discover Pro Navigation also comes with a 9.2-inch screen for vehicle operation with full touch and gesture control. With my basketball player hands, I couldn’t master the system but my driving partner, being a lady with lady like hands, operated the system with ease and I’m sure that with enough practice, I’d soon get the hang of it. The system is iPhone ready with Apple CarPlay and is as easy as 1,2,3 to use. Android Auto has been enabled but South Africans will have to wait until their phones are ready, as the software on android devices has not been enabled yet.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We drove the cars from the airport and stopped over in Jansenville for some lunch. This was a  relatively short drive, thanks to the uprated 169 kW instead of the current 162 kW from the familiar 2.0-litre TFSI motor. Torque has stayed the same at 350 N.m but the vehicle feels more peppy and angrier than what the figures suggest. The GTI 7.5, as it’s locally known, has no problem with bumpier roads, even at more  illegal speeds and turns in like a GTI should. Seats are just the right mix of sporty and let’s-drive-to-Cape-Town-this-weekend comfortable. Even though I have a back that could have come from a 95-year-old war veteran, not once did I reach for the Myprodol.

Updated VW Golf GTI

After reaching the venue and reflecting on the very short drive of 247 kilometers, we settled in and I tried to find fault with the VW Golf 7.5 GTI as there must be at least one black mark and yes, I did find it. It no longer comes with a manual gearbox! The urban warriors having to deal with Sandton traffic have got to VW and convinced them that the manual was redundant and only DSG boxes are on the cards for sunny South Africa. Train smash for a stubborn mule like myself but in the long run, it’s the better decision.

Updated VW Golf GTI

With the whole range being refreshed, it called for some engine changes as well. The 1.2 TSI has been dropped in favour of the new 1.0 TSI in both Trendline and Comfortline packages. This motor should be very nimble at 81 kW and 200 N.m of torque. Next is the 1.4 TSI with the same torque figure but with a bit more juice at 92 kW. This has the option of the DSG gearbox and I’m sure from a comfort, power and pricing perspective, this will be the pick of the bunch. Next would be the GTI and added from July will be the GTD – the 130 kW & 350 N.m diesel 2.0 TDI, as well as the R version. We weren’t given the exact figures for the R but expect more from the flagship Vrrpha!

Once again, the standard has been set and to be honest, many cars will run the Golf close and one or two will be faster, but none can come close to what the Golf and specifically the  VW Golf 7.5 GTI can offer as an everyday package. Expect it to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Updated Volkswagen Golf R With More Power

Since the Volkswagen Golf’s introduction in 1974, it has undoubtedly been the benchmark in its segment. Now in its 7th generation, it’s better than ever and things are set to improve still with a mid-cycle update having been announced in November last year.

In my mind, the Golf is the Porsche 911 of its segment – with build quality to rival its VW Group counterpart and a breadth of capability few cars can match, does one really need more than a Golf? The answer is probably no. If you’re looking for frugal, there’s a diesel and small capacity turbo-petrols, and if you’re a sporty fellow, there’s the GTI. If none of that is enough and you feel like having more power than you’ll ever need, the Golf R has got you covered with its all-wheel drive traction and quad tailpipes. There really is a Golf for everyone.

Here at TheMotorist, however, we love a good hot hatch (Richard is the only one without one) so what we’ve been chomping at the bit for is the updated Golf R.

vw-golf-r-2017-2

First and foremost, the R sees a boost in power. It makes use of the same EA888 unit as before but where in the past our R’s and Audi S3’s had reduced power to cope with the hot-climate and feeble fuel, we have been given the go-ahead to have all the power. Offering almost identical outputs to the GTI Clubsport S, minus 20 N.m, 228 kW and 400 N.m allow the R to complete the 0-100 km/h dash in just 4.5 seconds… Now consider that the claimed 0-100 km/h time of the V8 M3 (E90) was 4.6 seconds and you start to realise that this a preposterously rapid Golf. Unlike the M3, though, it’ll catapult you just as briskly in the wet or the dry, come rain or shine. This is thanks to the crafty Swedes at Haldex who have been supplying VW AG with AWD systems since 1998.

A similar system to the one you’ll find in the Volvo S60 Polestar, the GenV AWD Coupling was developed especially for Volkswagen with versions of it seeing use in Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini and Bugatti products. What is so remarkable about this system is that it is significantly less complicated than both traditional 4X4 and intelligent AWD systems, yet just as effective. It makes use of an electro-hydraulic clutch actuator which rapidly distributes power between the front and rear axles as the integrated ECU sees fit. Essentially, as the system detects slip on either the front or rear axle, torque is then distributed accordingly to where there is grip in an accurate and Germanic fashion. This isn’t revolutionary in itself but just how compact the system is due to the fact that it requires neither a solenoid valve with filter nor a hydraulic accumulator is. Clever stuff!

vw-golf-r-2017-1

Other changes are as with the rest of the Golf range – redesigned headlights and taillights (both full LED) traffic-jam assist (not yet confirmed for SA) and a vast array of passive and active safety systems. The interior also sees a few upgrades with Active Info Display now making its first appearance in the Golf.

Expect to see the first units on our shores mid-2017.

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