The Volkswagen Golf 8 is big step forward. The Golf 7 was released in 2012 and we’ve been waiting for VW’s most popular car to be designed from the ground up with electrification in mind. The exterior honors the legacy of the Golf which was first released in 1974, but the interior is a modern cockpit, the likes of which we usually only see in concept cars. This minimal interior is clean and full of plastic, a decision that was made to keep the costs and weight low. This doesn’t mean that it looks budget, it’s a design concept that will either hit or miss. Let’s find out if the Golf 8 is too futuristic for you.
The exterior of the Golf 8 is striking, if you consider that platforms are getting new iterations every 5-8 years there is a lot riding on this platform. Car2X is standard which we think is a very big deal. Car2X allows cars on the road to communicate with each other in real time. For example, it lets cars using the same technology know what is happening with road conditions ahead. There aren’t many cars on the market with this technology, in fact, the Golf 8 is the first model in Europe to offer it standard at no extra cost.
The Golf 8 will launch with five hybrid versions (eTSI & eHybrid) The eTSI version is the only vehicle in its category to offer three 48V mild hybrid drives generating 81 kW, 96 kW and 110 kW. The eHybrid is a plug-in hybrid with two output stages: with 150 kW and as GTE generating 180 kW. There are 8 engines totally to choose from and all have an electric component, which is perfect to ease people into electrification. If you want to go fully electric you’ll have to look to the ID3.
It is clear that Volkswagen future proofed this car, but did they go too far? For the exterior I think the lines are well proportioned and it offers a strong presence. It’s the interior where I’m with a lot of questions.
The Innovision Cockpit.
This modern, completely digital cockpit comes standard and it’s always online through an eSIM. The Voice Control is new and responds to natural voice commands. In the future compatible smartphones will be able to act as a key. And for those who love shopping on amazon you can talk to Alexa!
The center display is 10.25” the Infotainment system is an 8.25” touchscreen (standard) and it can be upgraded to 10.25 so you have two identical displays. The multifunction steering wheel has enough buttons that you should be able to keep your hands on the wheel for almost everything except climate (which you’ll be able to do by voice). You’ll also have a head up display, which I love, it allows you to keep your eyes on the road at all times. You can see your speed an directions all the in windshield!
The Infotainment system is highly customizable, many companies have said “we took inspiration from the smartphone”. The difference might be which type of smartphone they were inspired by. Audi’s MMI or Mercedes MBUX is more closed and restricted like Apple. VW took inspiration from the adaptability of Android rather than the ‘this is the best & only way things should work’ Apple mentality. Many manufactures offer the ability to change where you put the icons to suit your needs. VW allows you to completely change the layout.
We’re reserving judgment on the voice, we didn’t have great success in English or German. We had an early unstable version and we did crash the system a few times with our enthusiastic button pressing.
There is an attention to detail with this digital cockpit feels quite high as the color profiles changes across both displays and the ambient lighting. In fact, some of the areas like the armrest which I questioned as “dirt traps” actually lit up very nicely.
The Golf 8 Infotainment system will have different variants which all form part of the new,
3rd gen of the modular infotainment matrix (MIB3). It’s great that this MIB3 is offered standard across but we’re unclear what’s exactly offered in the base model, we’re going to have to wait to find out how the navigation system in the base model is different from the high-end navigation offered at the top.
All Infotainment systems of the Golf are linked to an online connectivity unit (OCU) featuring an eSIM. This combination gives you access to services offered in the Volkswagen We ecosystem. The list of services is short now, parking being the most useful, but expect a stead roll out.
IQ.DRIVE offers Travel Assist that offers drivers with intelligent, active steering, accelerating and braking up to 210 km/h. Pair this with C2X which will let you know if there are any hazards ahead and the system will also help prevent head-on collisions with oncoming traffic.
IQ.LIGHT are LED matrix headlights. Little details like being able to focus the beam on the road so you’re not blinding on coming drivers is my favorite. Your Golf will also recognize your key and save your driver settings, you’ll be able to save the settings to the cloud and if you change cars, your settings go with you.
As a Canadian the last feature that I’m a massive fan of is the warm hands feature, I hate cold steering wheels.
What comes Standard with the Golf 8?
Lane Assist and Front Assist are both are standard. The basic version includes Lane Assist, a lane-keeping system and Front Assist (which helps prevent head on collision), LED headlights, LED tail light clusters, automatic air conditioner, an Infotainment system with 8.25-inch touchscreen, We Connect mobile online services and functions, multifunction steering wheel, Keyless Start (keyless comfort start function) and Car2X communication (local data exchange with other vehicles and road traffic infrastructure).
Golf 8 Looking ahead
The list of technology which makes the VW Golf 8 future proof is rather long, IQ.DRIVE, IQ.LIGHT, C2X all paired with a minimal digital cockpit. When you dig a bit deeper you’ll fin small details that don’t fit with today’s ecosystem. Like the fact that there are no full size USB ports anywhere inside the car. You’ll only find USB type C, and I a tech blogger I know lots of people are still using MicroUSB device and I only have two Type C to Type C cables in my army of gear. It’s understandable that VW did this since this model will serve as the base for the next half a dozen Golf’s which will be released.
The question remains: Is the Volkswagen Golf 8 too futuristic?
The interior will be too minimal and futuristic for some, but the list of features that come standard are significant. Everyone who buys a Golf 8 will have safety features build in at no extra charge. C2X might seem useless since the Golf will be the first in Europe to offer it standard, but it will come and our roads will be safer for it. There is also the 8 different engines which are all electrified. The cocoon of plastic won’t be for everyone, but smarts and safety are for sure.
We’re excited for the press drive which should be in December when we will find out everything that there is to know about the new Golf 8!