Wolfsburg, 5. September 2012 – it’s the seventh edition of the vw golf – and its presentation is once again a triumph of normality, at least at first glance. As with almost every previous evolutionary step of the bestseller, one immediately notices: here is a typical golf, the further development of a preserved and businesslike form, entirely in the style of the manufacturer’s current design language. Since the design can speak for itself, we will leave it here with the remark that the golf looks flatter and wider-legged (13 millimeters) than before, and 56 millimeters longer. The advantages are a 14-millimeter-longer interior and – thanks to the smaller frontal area – lower air resistance. The drag coefficient is now 0.27 and is among the best in its class, contributing to lower fuel consumption.
Significantly lighter …
In any case, it is efficiency where the new golf makes the biggest leap forward. Unlike the generation change from 5 to 6, which was actually only half, this time vw has apparently pulled out all the available and affordable stops to make the car more fuel-efficient. Particularly noteworthy are various measures to reduce the vehicle’s weight, such as a body-in-white that weighs 23 kilograms less than before thanks to "progressive design. Further weight savings are achieved in the electrical system (-6 kg), the various assemblies (-40 kg), the chassis (-26 kg) and the body (-37 kg). These are ideal values – depending in part on the equipment – which add up to a total of a good 100 kilograms.
It is interesting to take a closer look at the "body", for example, where the following savings result: -0.4 kg instrument panel, -1.4 kg module transformer (below instrument panel), -2.7 kg air conditioning, -7.0 kg front and rear seats (depending on the version), -23.0 kg body, -2.5 kg miscellaneous. Vw has obviously done a lot of detailed work, even small partial successes ultimately add up to a pleasing reduction in weight. The entry-level model, the 1.2 tsi, weighs 1205 kilograms in the basic version, the 2.0 tdi with 150 hp 1354 kilograms.
… But no exotic materials
The weight reduction in the body is remarkable in that very expensive materials such as aluminum, magnesium or carbon fiber materials are out of the question according to volkswagen. Of course, the golf won’t be really cheap, and the company knows from its own experience with the 3l lupo how expensive lightweight construction can be punished by customers. But weight can also be saved with steel. Calculation methods such as the finite element method have become better and better over the decades, and it is now possible to simulate load paths more accurately than in the past and thus draw conclusions about material strengths or additional structural reductions.