As Wolfsburg baby blows out 40 candles on its cake, Diesel Car celebrates the Golf’s milestone by picking out its top three Volkswagen Golfs.
Of course this had to be here – it’s the car that began an automotive icon. While everyone will remember the legendary GTi it’s important to remember the diesel, too. Before the Golf diesels had largely been the preserve of bigger saloons, the kind of fodder that occupied the local taxi rank. The MkI was one of the first family-sized hatchbacks that offered sufficient refinement to make diesel a viable alternative to the mass market, opening the door for diesel to become the most popular fuel in Europe.
While the Mk2 Golf refined much of what people liked about the Golf, the MkIII was not quite so well received so the arrival of the MkIV in 1997 was warmly received by Golf fans. It looked great and with a range of TDi engines was quick, torque and surprisingly frugal. It proved popular too, selling in vast quantities across the globe. It survived in Europe for six years, but lasted even longer in the USA and South America, where it remained in production until 2006 and 2008 respectively.
Possibly the most advanced Golf in 40 years, the MkVII arrived in 2012 and uses VW’s MQB platform. With the arrival of the GTD this year diesel drivers are offered a truly rapid machine with 182bhp and 280 ft. lbs of torque. It’s a little longer and little wider than the Golf it replaces, but it’s also lighter and stronger. It will be joined later this year electric eGolf and the GTE – a hybrid GTi. A plug-in, a hybrid and super fast & frugal diesel. What a way to celebrate the big 4-0!