Q&A: Walter de Silva on the Golf Mk7, Golf Lineage & the Idea of a New Scirocco

The 2013 New York Auto Show marked the North American launch for the Golf 7. Though not always a key show for introductions, the Golf’s presence afforded us a rare opportunity to catch up with Volkswagen Group design boss Walter de Silva and chat with him about the new car and a few more burning topics.

VWv: You mentioned in your presentation that the Golf 1 and the Golf 4 were important milestones in the lineage of the Golf. Can you expand upon this and also where this fits with the Golf 7?

de Silva: From a design point of view, the Golf with the 911 is the only car that after 40 years that still has the same philosophy. The 911 celebrates 50 years this year and with the Golf is 40 years.

The Golf 1 and 4 for me are the best Golfs designed in the past. The first one was from Giorgetto Giugiaro and the Golf 4 from Hartmut Warkuss. This one from myself.


VWv: What of the Golf 1 and the Golf 4 did you use as inspiration in your design?

de Silva: The Golf 1 is logic, because Giugiaro defined this architecture in 1974 that was really formative. The Golf 4 of Warkuss was the perfect synthesis between the Golf 1, the Golf 2 and the Golf 3. He introduced the strong C-pillar, the window mold balance. The Golf 1 introduced the one shoulder line that was very clean and big corners between the front and side areas.

If you put these two cars together and you do an analysis, the result is this car (the Golf 7). Of course, after we designed the car. Volkswagen design has done a great job. These are the more pure cars in the seven generations of Golf.

More champfer around the windows. This element came from the Golf 1. We use a lot of inspiration, but the car is new and the car is modern. You can see the quality and the perfection of this car.

VWv: How has the MQB architecture changed things?

de Silva: The platform is very interesting for us because in the future we can have a lot of derivatives from the Golf that you can see. MQB is a great opportunity because it is a really modular platform. It means that you can move all of the components. You can move the wheelbase. You can move the track. You can move the seating position. You can move the pedal and the steering wheel in a modular way. This gives us more freedom in the limits. With this we can create much more derivatives than before and control the cost of the design.

We did a lot of proposals in parallel, not just for Volkswagen but for other brands within the marque. You have derivatives in the brand, interbrand and in the market. For us this is fantastic because we really don’t have any limit to do proportion.

With this platform we are also working a lot with concept models of the car to show within the group and to show to customers the future possibilities of this platform. In addition we have reduced a lot of weight of the car. When you drive the GTI you feel less weight immediately.


VWv: Speaking of historically style-oriented Volkswagens, what of the next generation Scirocco?

de Silva: We are working on a next generation Scirocco but nothing is decided.

The Scirocco is a coupe for Volkswagen and it is in discussion at the moment. We want to improve the sportivity in our brand like Audi have done and SEAT has also done.

If we decide to do a Scirocco it must be completely different. Completely different.

Scirocco is evolution. It was always a new and different body style. We don’t want to repeat the body style of the Scirocco. We want to change it.

It’s too early to say any more.