By on November 10, 2016

2018 Euro VW GTI Golf

No, you aren’t losing your mind. This isn’t a completely new form of transportation or an abstract piece of rolling art. What you are seeing is Volkswagen’s venerable hatchback after its mid-cycle update.

This mutilated Golf may be confusing at first, but the more you look at it, the more familiar it begins to appear. The cabin, however, has a surprise in store.

Golf “7.5” specifications for the United States are unconfirmed at the moment, but the rest of the globe is getting updated bumpers and LED headlights that replace the old xenon units. Other exterior changes include absolutely nothing — nada, zip, and zilch. However, if you opt for a GTI or Golf R, you can get even more slightly different front bumpers and some imperceptible detailing around the fog lamps.

Those are the kind of important touches that let people know that they are definitely looking at a car.

Alright, so VW didn’t actually change all that much with the car’s exterior. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the 2018 and 2017 models. Golf styling doesn’t change much between generations, so we shouldn’t expect too much from a refresh. At least, not on the exterior, as it looks like they were too busy changing things on the inside.

2018 Euro GTI Golf interor

The cockpit has lost its analog gauges completely. What it has now is an entirely digital display, reminiscent of what you might find in the Audi A4. Another digital monitor joins the center stack in the form of a redesigned infotainment system.

Volkswagen is giving the base Golf a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder with cylinder deactivation and a “variable turbine geometry.” It comes in BlueMotion flavor and regular flavors. The standard motor churns out 148 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The fuel-sipping BlueMotion — a trim that never seems to make it to North America — offers up twenty fewer ponies for enhanced economy.

Unlike the BlueMotion, the performance upgrades found on the Euro GTI will probably make their way to the states. VW is amping up the standard GTI to 227 hp, while the GTI Performance trim gets 242 hp. Both are a notable upgrade to their current U.S. counterparts, which deliver 210 and 220 hp, respectively.

The Golf is also becoming safer and more convenient. Traffic Jam Assist will be made available on all models making use of a dual-clutch transmission. This feature allows the car to creep along with traffic and stop on its own to keep the driver from having a mental crisis in bumper to bumper traffic. Volkswagen is also introducing automatic collision detection and pedestrian monitoring with brake assist. There is even parking and trailer assist, in case you want help backing a trailer safely.

Using your Golf as a tug might be all the rage in Europe, but I don’t expect a lot of American are making much use of VW’s Trailer Assist technology.

Still, we don’t know if the North American-spec Golf will bother to have trailer stabilization, let alone what else might not be making it across the pond. While you can probably count on a more powerful GTI and a lot of the new driver assists, don’t bet on the BlueMotion. We’ll learn of the remaining details closer to its U.S. market launch next year.

Expect to start seeing the 2018 Golf on European roads, looking identical to the previous year’s model, this February.

2018 Euro Golf R

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

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44 Comments on “Volkswagen’s Golf Refresh Has Created an Unrecognizable Monster...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I suspect after 10 years all those screens will be working brilliantly with no issues because VAG.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Are we getting that mustard yellow color?? Love it.

    • 0 avatar
      BlueEr03

      They will give us red, blue, and all of the shades of gray between black and white. That is all.

      • 0 avatar
        neil733

        Only if you want a base model.
        Here in the UK, and even in Germany (I checked the websites) if you want a Golf GTE (the PHEV version) you can have all the shades of grey between black and two different whites, plus a blue that is so dark it was probably supposed to be black but didn’t have quite enough pigment. It might have a modern colour TFT instrument cluster, but the outside is only available in greyscale.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    My father-in-law rented an I3 1.0L turbo Golf Blue Motion from Sixt while I was with him in the Netherlands. Except for the highly bolstered seats, it was a pretty good car. Even got 4.7 l/100 km (over 50mpg). I’d take one if they sold them here.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    VW always updates powertrains mid-cycle, and then carries those powertrains over to the subsequent model.

    It’s about time for the dash. The last version looked a bit too 8-bit.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Its a good looking, conservative, timeless exterior design. It screams that form should follow function. I love it. Too bad its a VW. If I thought I could trust it to be as reliable as the domestics and Japanese choices I’d love to have one.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I know, KC. I wish to heaven that Toyota would do a bolt-for-bolt knockoff of the Golf someday, right down to the suspension geometry. I’d be the first in line.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      Newer VW’s are fine. In 08 I bought a new Rabbit for my daughter. It now has 150,000 miles on it and the only malfunctions have been two burnt out light bulbs. In 2012 I leased a new tdi Sportwagen and put 50000 miles on it without issue. When dieselgate happened I traded it for a new 2016 golf sportwagen that now has 20,000 miles. Again no issues and it drives/handles way better than anything from American or Asian companies.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        TOTitan, you may be right that newer VWs are fine. But in regard to reliability, surveys like CR prove even the best VW models are still not as fine as most Toyotas.

        Just as important, there’s that little matter of VW being enveloped in chaos because their leaders engaged in a conspiracy to deliberately engineer vehicles that flout the law. Without getting into the moral aspects of that story, as a strictly practical matter it leaves me mistrusting the company to live up to any of the advertised attributes of its machines, such as crash safety. I just don’t trust them with my money.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “Again no issues and it drives/handles way better than anything from American or Asian companies.”

        Blanket statement is blanket.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Not much difference, but it looks a little bit better.

    I wonder if they are going to to continue to sell the Mk 7.5 Golf in North America with all red incandescent tail lights? That’s the important question, and is why I wouldn’t get a current Golf or Golf wagon if I was looking at one of them (no amber turn signals, unlike the Mk 6 Golf/Golf wagon)

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      According to the vortex, the LED amber strip doesn’t meet the DOT footprint requirements, which explains the n/a spec all red tails.

      Lighting regulations are loooooooooooooonnnng overdue for an overhaul in the states. Luckily, here in Canada, they allow for lighting that meets either DOT or ECE regulations.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    That interior pic shows plaid seats in what appears to be a high trim level.

    Currently, in the USA plaid seats are only available on the GTI S base trim level. I hope VW adds it as a possibility on at least the SE, though I think that’s unlikely.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      In Europe the GTI doesn’t have any trim levels (i.e. S, SE, Autobahn), so you can have the plaid seats with any options you choose.

      I wouldn’t hold my breath for a plaid interior GTI with digital dash and the large touchscreen in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      Forget having any real choice in how U.S. VWs are configured. VW of America wants as few options as possible. Already, about 75% of Golf configurations from 2016 are no longer available for 2017. Gone are any 2-door models, the base model, SE or SEL trims for the standard Golf hatchback, lighting or driver assist package availability for Sportwagen SE, DCC suspension or driver assist package for the GTI S or SE, or GTI SE or SEL models without the performance package. I’m probably forgeting a few deletions.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Yes, VAG is basically moving to:

        1) Golf with base engine
        2) Golf with base engine with some bells but no whistles (basically a popular equipment package disguised as a trimline)
        2) Golf GTI (they have stopped referring to the GTI as just the GTI in the US and have added back the Golf nomenclature)
        3) Golf GTI with performance pack
        4) Golf GTI with performance pack and all the bells and whistles.

        Trims will basically be dependent on how much power you want.

        • 0 avatar
          la834

          That’s not what they’re moving to; that’s what they already have. First #2 (you have two of them) is the new Wolfsburg Edition. Last three are the Golf GTI S, Sport, and SEL. There’s also an SE with PP and most of the bells and whistles, but not the adjustable suspension or some of the driver-assist features that were optional last year.

          Add the Golf R, the e-Golf, and some wagons and you have the complete U.S. Golf line.

        • 0 avatar

          But no manual trans with the uprated but not GTi Golf. Manual for base stripper…or GTi.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Collision detection: The automatic braking has failed; yup, you’ve had a collision.

    Pedestrian monitoring: The car is out of warranty; yup, you’re a pedestrian.

  • avatar
    ant

    Switching from analog dials to tv screen instrument panel is like going from a computer keyboard to a touch screen key pad.

    It’s only logical that all courtroom stenographers have switched over to ipad type devises to do their typing, as it’s a more modern technology, and therefore it only follows that it’s superior.

    Likewise, these new fresh modern tv screen instrument panels are the only way forward. Embrace the future I say. There is no other option.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      The sad part of these new screens is all they do is emulate analog gauges. At least allow some customization.

      • 0 avatar
        LeMansteve

        It’s a very uncreative approach. You can literally do ANYTHING with a screen that large. You are no longer limited to a needle inside a circle.

        They are probably emulating gauges for familiarity. That’s what people are used to seeing. I would expect small changes over time.

    • 0 avatar

      My girlfriend has a hair dryer with a 3″ touch screen on top. All it does is toggle between 3 settings when you tap it. I am told it is a good hair dryer anyways, and it was gift, so she isn’t the one who paid extra.

      http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/1/3/1/5/1/2/2/webimg/596038577_tp.jpg

  • avatar

    Well, your US base model having 148bhp means you’ll never have a slow Golf.

    *Clap*

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      We never get the European drivetrains in non-GTI or R Golfs. I’m expecting the current U.S. powertrains to carry over unchanged – 1.8T with 5 speed stick and torque-converter 6-speed slushbox.

      I wouldn’t mind the 1.4T used in some Jettas to be in the Golf too. Same torque as the 1.8T, almost as fast, and considerably better fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      We never get the European drivetrains in non-GTI or R Golfs. I’m expecting the current U.S. powertrains to carry over unchanged – 1.8T with 5 speed stick and torque-converter 6-speed slushbox.

      I wouldn’t mind the 1.4T used in some Jettas being in the Golf too. Same torque as the 1.8T, almost as fast, and much better fuel economy. Who needs diesel?

      • 0 avatar
        trecoolx

        The 1.4T would be a great alternative to the departed diesel. I doubt VW would include it in the Golf, as they have positioned it above the Jetta, so a downsized motor wouldn’t look the status.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Well it would be slower than the base Golf we have now (which is equipped with the 1.8L with 170hp).

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The headlights are to be offered as LEDs and the shape of the DRLs has changed to a hockeystick vs. horseshoe. There are also images elsewhere of a GTE model.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Call it SCIROCCO and it will sell. Not everyone plays GOLF anymore.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    “I wonder if they are going to to continue to sell the Mk 7.5 Golf in North America with all red incandescent tail lights? That’s the important question, and is why I wouldn’t get a current Golf or Golf wagon if I was looking at one of them (no amber turn signals, unlike the Mk 6 Golf/Golf wagon)”

    Which is why there’s a hot trade in Euro LED tail light upgrades (which I have on my R). Not inexpensive though.

  • avatar
    rea98d

    Are the headline and first paragraph meant to be sarcastic? Because that thing looks like every other hatchback pod car VW has been selling for the last 20 or 25 years. Nothing unrecognizable about it.

  • avatar
    MrF

    Volkswagen can go straight to hell.

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