Next-generation Volkswagen Golf to Offer Electric Assist, but Just a Tad

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Audi is bullish on 48-volt mild hybrids, and its Volkswagen sister division is no different in wanting to see larger batteries take some of the load off of its internal combustion powerplants.

The automaker announced Thursday that its upcoming eighth-generation Golf will offer a low-cost alternative to purely gas- or diesel-powered motoring. The mild hybrid system appearing on that vehicle, due next year as a 2020 model, will soon spread throughout the VW lineup, the automaker claims.

VW’s 48V system also works with diesel engines, which should give stringent European regulators something to smile about (and perhaps extend the longevity of an engine type with a soiled reputation).

Like other belt-driven starter generators, the system allows for easy stop/start functionality, with electric power transferred to the engine’s crankshaft via the serpentine belt during acceleration. Think of it as a light electric boost. While the small battery (in hybrid terms) isn’t capable of propelling the vehicle under electric power alone, VW claims it allows for gas-free coasting on the highway, furthering the system’s fuel economy benefits.

The 48V battery replenishes itself through regenerative braking, just like a conventional hybrid.

The automaker calls the new mild hybrid a “starting point” in its quest to spread electrification through its model lineup. Don’t worry — VW didn’t neglect to mention there’ll be “extra dynamism” available in the new car, all thanks to this gas-saving feature.

As VW Group hasn’t given up on diesel just yet, the company also previewed a new 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder yesterday. The engine’s targeted at front- and rear-drive Audi applications, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it to arrive on these shores. Output ranges from 136 horsepower to 204 hp. As mentioned earlier, it’s available in mild hybrid guise.

The quintessential fun hatch, VW’s Golf stands to see a styling revamp when the new model rolls off the line next year. While it’s expected to borrow some cues from 2015’s Golf GTE Sport concept (like the flagship Arteon), you’ll surely be able to pick it out from a crowd. Messing with the Golf is like messing with the Jeep Wrangler. Go too far and you risk offending the faithful.

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Apr 27, 2018

    Another facelift next year? They just facelifted the Golf for 2018!

    • Hreardon Hreardon on Apr 28, 2018

      The MK 7.5 has been on sale in Europe for over a year. The MK 8 is due to start production next summer, with a launch in September and on-sale most likely in November 2019 - for Europe. VW is pushing up the timeline a bit due to their profitability drive: there are a host of optimizations and new assembly techniques they want to put into production as soon as possible. Usually the US lags at least 12 months behind the EU launch, but this time around may be different. Word on the street is that VW wants to remove Golf production from the Puebla factory to make room for more CUVs. That would push manufacture of Golfs for the US market elsewhere - possibly back to Germany in an effort to satisfy union demands. In any event, don't expect to see a MK8 here in the US until 2020 at the earliest.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Apr 30, 2018

    Great. More weight and more expensive crap to fix when it inevitably breaks.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff I a,so had a 1969 Thunderbird with the 429 V8, and it was a smooth highway cruiser. I sold all those cars when I got commissioned into the Army. I regret selling those cars and miss the simplicity of them. I do have an 1985 FJ 60 Land Cruiser and it is real easy to get to everything in the engine bay. My 16 year old son inherited it. The Mavericks are pretty popular here in Az.
  • John Hummer owners don't care. Like shingles.
  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.