The Volkswagen Golf is arguably the most-important vehicle in the company’s lineup. They’ve been building them for 40 years. They’ve sold more than 30-million of them worldwide since.
The 7th generation Golf, which has been available in Europe for about a year, is now coming to America. The U.S. launch is being spearheaded by the 2015 GTI, which is fitted with a 210-hp, 2.0-liter, turbocharged in-line four. Typically, OEMs wait until the standard version of a vehicle—in this case, the Golf with either a 170-hp 1.8-liter gasoline engine or a 150-hp 2.0-liter diesel—is well established before bringing out the special variant, but not VW. The car that gave rise to the hot-hatch leads the way.
What’s more, there are more versions to come, including a full-electric Golf and the 290-hp Golf R, explains Kevin Joostema, general manager of Product Strategy and Marketing at Volkswagen of America, in this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”
In addition to which, Jeff Sabatini of Car & Driver (and once-upon-a-time a member of this editorial staff) and Mark Phelan of The Detroit Free Press join me to discuss not only the Golf, the relevance of hatchbacks, BMW’s commitment to carbon fiber, Fiat Chrysler’s commitment to gaining market share, but also to talk with Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. vice president, Performance Vehicles & Motorsports.
Campbell happened to show up in the studio with a 2014 Corvette C7.R, which will be soon on its way to France to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans next month.
Campbell talks about why GM goes racing, not only because of the visibility it provides as they race stock cars, dragsters, and open-wheel cars, as well as amped-up Corvettes, but because it allows the development of better engineers who then work on production cars, as well as provides a technology conduit back to consumer vehicles, as well.
This is the fastest hour you’ll ever spend in front of your computer: