IAA 2003: Volkswagen Golf V – More Photos and Information

Volkswagen AG has released the first detailed information on the German-market fifth generation Golf. The press release below applies to the German-market version only. While specifications for the U.S. market haven’t been announced at this time, it is widely speculated that we will see the Golf V and GTI sometime in the fall of 2004. Engines for the U.S. market are rumored to be an all-new inline 5-cylinder with around 150hp and an all-new 16v 2.0l Turbo with 200hp. Six-speed transmissions will be standard in manual, tiptronic and DSG configurations depending on the model and spec.

No photos of the GTI have been released at this point. Several of the German magazines have been reporting that Volkswagen will show a “concept” version of the GTI at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 9th, 2003. VWvortex will be at the Frankfurt show and will have live updates and impressions starting September 9th. Till then, the full German press release on the Golf V follows below…



– Start phase with 135,000 new Golf models in only three months

– Fifth Golf generation continues a unique success story

Wolfsburg, Germany – The new Golf is, like its predecessors, absolutely incomparable and distinctive in respect of its visual and technical refinement and dynamics. The first Golf generation dating from 1974 had been endowed with this uniqueness from its inception. When the number 1 was presented to the press at Munich in May 29 years ago, the original generation already bore the typical features that would immediately make it a bestseller: the dynamic C-pillar resembling the drawn string of a bow, the unequaled variability in the segment at the time, the lively engines and, last but not least, the extremely safe, neutral chassis complete with front-wheel drive were impressive all along the line.

And its popularity never lets up: for almost three decades, the Golf has continually been the best-selling car in and from Germany. From a purely statistical point of view, approximately 2,100 customers worldwide have bought a Golf every day over the last 29 years. The Golf is regarded as the epitome of “the car”, as the benchmark for the competition, as the only vehicle in the compact class with a truly classless status across social boundaries.

The competitors have multiplied, but the Golf is still the number 1

The vehicles in the Golf class have in recent years won an increasingly larger share of the market in Western Europe. This rose from 31.7 percent to 36.9 percent between 1976 and 2002. Due to the fragmentation of the segment – for example, due to the success of the so-called A-MPV such as the Volkswagen Touran – the proportion of fastback vehicles decreased from 63.6 percent to 47.5 percent during the same period. However, the absolute sales volume has remained constant. The fourth generation Golf maintained its market share – except from the natural curve during the phase-out period. It remained the undisputed leader in its segment with a share of between 20 and 22 percent.

What makes the fact that the Volkswagen has been able to maintain a constant lead all the more remarkable is that other A-class variants have constantly been pushing their way into the Golf class for years now. When the first Golf generation came out, there were about ten direct rival models in Europe. In 2003, there are about 130 competitors in eight sub-segments of the class, each vying for a share of a market that is dominated by the Golf.

The fourth generation Golf seamlessly continued the success story of the series. The Golf to be replaced in the autumn held a 35 percent share of the worldwide sales of models of the Volkswagen brand. In Western Europe, the Golf accounted for 46 percent of total volume. The new Golf will, it is hoped, continue to increase these shares from 2004 onwards.

The new Golf has all the ingredients to continue in the successful footsteps of its predecessors: a clear plus in terms of dynamics, spaciousness, safety, quality and fascination make it an all-round talent for millions of people from all walks of life.

In this regard, a crucial factor is that the brand, with the models Phaeton and Touareg as well as the top-of-the-range versions of the Passat, has moved up-market while at the same time continuing to strengthen the volume segments and systematically conquer new sub-segments. Crucial to this strategy is the Golf and the millions of Golf customer all over the world. Current plans envisage the production of 135,000 new Golf models in the fourth quarter of 2003. Sales of Germany’s most important car are expected to exceed 600,000 units from 2004 – the first full sales year.

There is no such thing as a typical “Golf driver”. However, all Golf drivers appreciate the value of perfect detail solutions, excellent technology and high aestheticism

It is impossible to reduce Golf drivers, as a target group, to a common denominator. For the new Golf will again reach an incomparably large cross-section of education and income levels. And herein lies the secret of the Golf. Nonetheless, there are decisive aspects for all Golf drivers, whether male or female. A sociodemographic study in the run-up to the market launch of the new Golf showed that, among other things, a “simplification of life with the car”, “authenticity”, “interior comfort”, and hence “comfort” in general, “safety”, unlimited “suitability for everyday use” and “individuality in details” are key criteria for the purchase of a Golf.

Golf drivers also appreciate the value of perfect detail solutions and high-quality material optics, the combination of excellent technology with fascinating aesthetics, intuitive operation and effortless driving. The fifth generation Golf meets these expectations with superior handling dynamics, an inimitable, dynamic and timeless design, top quality, high build precision, well thought-out ergonomics, a high level of passive safety, lots of space and innovative drive train technologies.


– Golf marks the start of a new phase of a far-reaching design campaign

– The Golf’s design is distinctive like a fingerprint

Wolfsburg. Following the launch of luxury-class models Phaeton and Touareg, Volkswagen will, with the new Golf, begin the next phase of a far-reaching design campaign. Traditional volume models and new niche models will exhibit a fascinating plus in terms of dynamics and emotionality. The models Phaeton and Touareg presented in 2002 set impressive new trends in the luxury class. With the Golf, the design team now includes the most important brand model in the new design line.

Since its debut almost three decades ago, the Golf has been as distinctive as a fingerprint. One of the secrets of its worldwide success is that Volkswagen created with the Golf, as the direct successor to the Beetle, an absolutely “counterfeight-proof” original. This design has been updated and perfected, and has reflected the stylistic approach of the brand over four generations. The fifth generation Golf continues to embody this uniqueness whilst representing the largest evolutionary leap both visually and technically. The design team has created a Golf that is even more dynamic and evokes new emotions.

The arrow-shaped contour of the body front end of the new Golf in overview

Redesigned right down to the last detail, the body front end cuts through the wind in an aerodynamically optimised manner. Here again, a distinctive feature is the twin round headlights which taper strongly towards the centre with their transversal turn signals in the style of the Phaeton. The wing surfaces, which are now distinctly arched upward, rise above the headlights. As an integral part of the bonnet, the headlights together with the radiator grille create a hinted V-shaped design feature that further accentuates the dynamics of the new Volkswagen.

The powerful rear end of the new Golf in overview

The rear end is powerful, too: the dynamic shoulder section underscores the powerful appearance of the Golf. The distinctive tail lights with their twin round design unmistakably reflect the Volkswagen design. They are half-integrated in the clearly structured boot lid. Optically, the large rear window provides clear visibility, and, stylistically, it lends the vehicle an elegance typical of Volkswagen with its glass body that extends as far as the C-pillars. Sporty and aerodynamic final touches are provided by the roof spoiler which is integrated above the boot lid. Grippy: the VW badge. To unlock the boot lid, the badge is swung upward. As the recessed handle moulding is concealed, fingers stay clean at all times.

The distinctive side section of the new Golf in overview

The silhouette of the new Golf is characterised by five main elements: the distinctly rakish, wedge-shaped line below the side windows, the continuous side window graphics together with the door frame, which no longer reaches as far as the roof, the clearly modulated edges in the area of the rear doors and C-pillar, the characteristic angled C-pillar and the elongated roof section.

The C-pillar is worthy of special attention. As the traditional stylistic feature of the Golf, the C-pillar has increasingly characterised the model series and contributes significantly to the dynamics of the new Golf generation. From any viewing angle, the C-pillar resembles the string of a drawn bow. It imparts strength to the Golf body. The side faces look like an arrow being accelerated forward by the string of the bow. The high aestheticism of the C-pillar embedded between the rear door and the rear is perfected by very narrow shut lines.

The design features collectively evoke emotions which give the new Golf a more agile and dynamic appearance than any generation before it.

Equipment / Technology

Extensive comfort and safety features as standard

New chassis, innovative engines, the highest-quality body in the segment

Wolfsburg. On its market debut, the volume model will be available in two and four-door versions and in the equipment lines Trendline, Comfortline and Sportline. All equipment lines have in common the same comprehensive comfort and safety package including six airbags, five head restraints (front active) complete with three-point belts, a newly developed safety steering column and foot controls that retracts during a crash. New: the accelerator pedal is arranged in an upright position for ergonomic reasons.

Perfection is characterised by attention to detail. The instruments, for example, are ergonomically designed and easy to operate, all function levels are clearly separate from one another and all buttons and switches can be intuitively operated. In comparison to the predecessor model, every detail has been improved. For example the centre console at the centre of the instrument panel: the controls of the audio/navigation and ventilation/air conditioning are now on a higher level, so they are better placed within the driver’s field of vision and ensure optimal ease of access. The controls of the ventilation and air conditioning system are located directly above the centre tunnel, which has been distinctly raised in the area of the selector mechanism. Above this is a button pad for functions such as the heated rear window, recirculating air mode and seat heating. The new audio systems and navigation systems with large central display, as presented for the first time for the Touareg and Touran, have been integrated above them. Located at the very top are the hazard warning light switch, the air outlet and an additional storage shelf / tray.

Highly innovative technology is often concealed behind the individual functional elements. In the case of the optional Climatronic, for example, the Automatic air conditioner changes over to recirculation mode when reversing (separately adjustable for driver and front passenger). When the windscreen washer system is operated, an intelligent control suspends the fresh air supply momentarily. The seat system, for example, has been completely redesigned to provide maximum comfort. As the first vehicle in its segment, the Golf is optionally available with an electrical 4-way lumbar support (integrated in the electric seat) or an auxiliary heater. In addition to the standard 60:40 folding rear seat back, the front passenger seat backrest can be optionally folded forward to create a long, continuous load surface.

The equipment of the Golf Trendline (excerpt)

* 6 airbags (driver, front passenger, side and head airbags)

* Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors

* Front passenger airbag can be deactivated

* Easy Entry System (2-door model)

* ESP with Dual Brake Assist

* Height-adjustable driver seat

* Electric window lifters, front

* Belt tensioners, front

* 5 three-point inertia reel belts

* 5 head restraints (front: crash active)

* Tyre/steel wheel sizes 195/65 R15 / 6Jx15

* Split-folding rear seat backrest

* Electromechanical power-assisted steering (regulated as a function of road speed)

* Black body mouldings and side protection strips

* Bumper, radiator grille and door mirror housing painted in body colour

* Green heat-resistant glass

* Central locking with radio remote control

Equipment of Golf Comfortline supplementary to Trendline (excerpt)

* Overhead console with spectacles box

* Decorative inlays in “anthracite”

* Footwell light

* Cruise control system

* Rear-view mirror with automatic anti-dazzle function

* Front comfort seats with manually adjustable lumbar support, height-adjustable on both sides

* Light-alloy wheels in size 6.5Jx15

* Light assistant system with rain and light sensors

* Front centre armrest with storage compartment

* Rear seat system with centre armrest and through-loading function

* Drawers below the front seats

* Seat covers in high-quality loop velour

Equipment of Golf Sportline supplementary to Trendline (excerpt)

* On-board computer (MFA) with ambient temperature display

* Overhead console with spectacles box

* Decorative inlays in “titanium”

* Light-alloy wheels in size 6.5Jx16

* Gearshift lever and handbrake lever in leather

* Seat cover “Siempre”

* Sports chassis

* Sports seats for driver and front passenger with manual adjustable lumbar supports, height-adjustable on both sides

* 3-spoke sports steering wheel in leather

* Body mouldings and door handles in body colour

The body of the new Golf – The new benchmark in the A segment

The body itself is wider (1,759 mm / + 24 mm), higher (1,483 mm / + 39 mm) and longer (4,204 mm / + 55 mm) and offers considerably more space (+ 54 mm cabin length), particularly in the rear compartment (+ 55 mm legroom / + 24 mm headroom at the rear and + 8 mm at the front) and luggage space (350litres / + 20 litres). This clear plus closes the gap to the next higher class and reinforces the Golf’s claim to be classless. The same applies to the unique quality level in the segment: the dynamic rigidity of the body has been increased by 15% in torsion and 35% in flexion. The static torsional rigidity of the body has been improved by no less than 80 percent (!), which is the best value in the segment.

The high rigidity was not achieved by adding body weight, rather through systematic lightweight construction. Particularly effective lightweight construction measures worth emphasising are the improved join techniques involving laser welding and the optimised layout of the member structure. This has improved the acoustic characteristics of the body fundamentally. In other words, the new Golf is not only highly stable and safe, but also very quiet.

A worldwide innovation in volume production vehicle: the modular doors on the new Golf

The new door modules on the Golf represent a worldwide innovation in body construction. Until now, the complete doors on all volume models had to be replaced if “irreparable” panel damage occurred in this area. The whole door had to be replaced even if its inner structure was still intact. This was a correspondingly laborious and, for the customer, costly process. Not so with the new Golf: for the first time in a volume production vehicle, the outer skin panel can be replaced separately, thus reducing the cost of damage repairs considerably. From a structural viewpoint, the door inner panel, which comprises two so-called hybrid bars, serves as a load-bearing structure. The outer skin panel is bonded onto these bars. In addition, the inner and outer panels in the sill and topshoulder areas (at window edge level) are bolted together. The outer skin panel can thus be easily detached in order to remove dents of any kind completely.

The safety chassis of the new Golf – Extremely dynamic, safe and comfortable

Volkswagen has configured the new, dynamic safety chassis so it is just as sporty as comfortable. A much-improved suspension-strut-type axle provides perfect wheel location at the front and a newly developed multilink axle is used at the rear. Thanks to the multilink axle (four-link suspension), handling and driving comfort have been decisively improved. Active safety also benefits from the new axle configuration. As inclined dampers with oval auxiliary springs are also used in the new Golf, the through-loading width in the luggage compartment has been enlarged. The optimised front axle provides better handling dynamics in corners through a reduction in lateral inclination and the improved response of the anti-roll bars. In addition to that, the more precise wheel location and optimised suspension response contribute to a significant improvement in overall comfort.

Handling and comfort have been optimised by a likewise entirely new electromechanical steering system which not only offers power assistance as a function of road speed, but also contributes significantly to straight-line stability. The fuel consumption of the Golf has also been reduced by approximately 0.2 litres through the new steering.

The Golf is equipped as standard with the latest generation of ESP and Dual Brake Assist. A, likewise newly designed, brake system with optimised cooling provides the basis for excellent deceleration values. All in all, the Golf chassis offers a unique synthesis of driving comfort across all classes while at the same time achieving the best steering and handling performance.

The engines of the new Golf – Innovation through petrol and diesel direct injection

The drive train area is also characterised by technological leadership. Here, the magic formula is direct injection. For example the TDI: the 2.0 TDI with a power output of 103 kW / 140 bhp and a maximum torque of 320 Newtonmetres is the trendsetter in terms of agility, comfort and thriftiness. The torquey 4-valve four-cylinder engine is handled by a new six-speed gearbox or by an optional six-speed direct shift gearbox – available at a later date – which is used for the first time in the Golf R32 DSG.

The direct shift gearbox has been specially adapted in respect of its design to the sporty and consumption-oriented requirements of European customers. As a key distinguishing feature of the DSG as compared to classical automatic transmissions, a torque converter is not used as a starting element in the DSG. For the first time, the DSG strikes a perfect balance between the agility of a manual gearbox and the comfort of a conventional automatic.

The 1.9 TDI with 77 kW / 105 bhp and a maximum torque of 250 Newtonmetres is deployed as a second turbodiesel in addition to the 140 bhp version. Another new feature is the deployment of the diesel quick-start system as in the 2.0 TDI. Under all climatic conditions, this practically ensures an immediate start without a long glow phase.

The first available petrol direct injection engine of the fifth Golf generation no less innovative: the 1.6 FSI with 85 kW / 115 bhp has already proved its worth in the Touran and, like in the Touran, comes as standard combined with a six-speed gearbox. The driver can leave the task of gear-shifting to a comfortable and efficient six-speed automatic gearbox which is optionally available. The shift programs adapt automatically to driving conditions (e.g. driving uphill or towing a trailer). Alternatively, gears can be selected manually by means of a Tiptronic function (+/-). The extremely sporty shift program “S” provides even more agility.

The second petrol engine to be deployed in the introductory phase is the improved 1.4-litre four-valve engine with 55 kW / 75 bhp. Technical improvements in the new Golf are the low weight and friction pistons, the structurally optimised crankshaft and the likewise optimised exhaust manifold and pre-catalyst converter concept. These measures have made it possible to reduce the weight of the engine by two kilograms and further improve specific fuel consumption.

All engines of the Golf meet the EU 4 standard. Additional four engines will be available shortly after market launch: two FSI engines (1.4 FSI with 66 kW / 90 bhp and 2.0 FSI with 110 kW / 150 bhp), a 1.6-litre engine with 75 kW / 102 bhp and an SDI (2.0-litre engine with 55 kW / 75 bhp) with a unit injection system. The sporty top-of-the-range engines will be introduced in a third phase.


– Economic factor: in Germany alone, the Golf provides several thousand jobs

– Precision: Golf will be produced in Germany and Belgium during the start-up phase

Wolfsburg. The Golf is a key factor for the attractiveness of Germany as a production location. Should Wolfsburg, home to Volkswagen AG and the world’s largest automobile production plant, be referred to as “Golfsburg” in the headlines during the launch phase of the new model from August 25, this is not so much a marketing idea as a reflection of the city fathers’ gratitude. For the Golf is the main economic engine in this city. At the parent plant in Wolfsburg, approximately 20,000 employees are directly involved in the production, development and distribution of the best-selling model. In and around Wolfsburg, 100 suppliers and businesses of every description are involved in the production of the Golf.

The Golf is also produced in Mosel (Saxony) as well as in the Belgian city of Brussels and will at a later date be produced in the South African city of Uitenhage

The new Golf is produced in halls 1 (Bodyshop), 9 (Paint shop), 12 (Assembly) and 54 (Final production) on state-of-the-art production systems and using modern assembly sequences and technologies, such as laser welding. The production change-over for the new generation was completed at a very early stage, thus ensuring an optimal production ramp-up . The Golf is also produced in parallel at the Mosel Volkswagen plant in Saxony. On top of that there are two international production locations for the Golf: the Brussels plant in Belgium and – with a time delay – the Uitenhage plant in South Africa.

Irrespective of where the Golf is produced, the production process sets new standards. The proportion of high-strength body panels for example has again risen significantly. The net result is a significant plus in terms of body strength, crash safety and comfort whilst optimising weight. For example the laser-welding process: 140 special robots ensure the high body rigidity of the Golf, among other things, by means of laser-welded seams with a total length of 70 metres, as compared to five metres in the predecessor. Take quality assurance for example: as one of the last of many checks, electronic and electrical components are checked in the so-called “Try Out Room”. The final step is a 10-minute test on the “running-in stand”. After that, the rule is: the Golf runs and runs and runs and runs.

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