It will take little more than a wave of the hand to see some big things have been added to the 2018 Volkswagen Golf – starting with a new gesture control system that will control the compact mainstay’s infotainment system.
The model Volkswagen is showing off is the first big update of the Euro-spec Golf since it was introduced for the 2012 model-year. We’ll likely see the American version rolled out at the New York Auto Show next April, but many of the key features, like gesture control and, possibly the new 1.5-liter turbo-four engine, should make it to the Stateside model.
VW is also phasing in a more advanced, 7-speed DSG gearbox, as well as a variety of new safety, infotainment and convenience features, including Active Traffic Jam Assist and a larger touchscreen.
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Visually, the German maker is making only modest changes to the mid-generation VW Golf. That starts with a new front fascia that replaces the old HID lamps with LED headlights. The rear fascia is replaced, as well, and, as one might expect, VW has switched to LED taillamps. And there are new wheels and colors.
But while there isn’t much to the exterior update, the new Golf has a long, bullet-point list of mechanical and electronic updates.
Inside, the gauge cluster has gone digital, the 12.3-inch Active Info Display can be configured in a variety of ways, with five “information profiles,” VW explains in a news release. Choose the Navigation profile, for example, and the speedometer and tach move to the sides, making room for a larger map display in the center.
There’s also an essentially all-new infotainment system, and even the base display grows larger. The entry package is a 6.5-inch screen, with a mid-range eight-inch display and a 9.2-inch glass in the top-line Discover Pro. That’s the package that will also give you new gesture control capabilities.
VW isn’t the first to let you change stations or adjust the volume with a flick of the wrist and a waggle of the fingers. BMW got there with the all-new 7-Series launched little more than a year ago. But the 2018 Golf moves this technology into the mainstream.
“Gesture control can be used in various different menus,” the maker explains. “All it takes is a swipe gesture to move the horizontally arranged menu items left or right, allowing the driver to scroll through the main menu, change radio stations, flip through the playlist or browse through the Picture Viewer and albums in the media library.”
Not sure what you can operate with a gesture? No problem? Just look for the “light flares,” and you’ll hear a subtle sound effect when your command has been recognized.
For a mid-cycle update, VW is making some significant changes under the hood, as well. That includes a new turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine with fuel-saving active cylinder management that makes about 148 horsepower. The Golf GTI gets some added power, as well, the top-line Performance model bumped up to 246 hp.
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Then there’s a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that will “gradually replace” the old six-speed DSG gearbox, VW says.
VW is adding several safety systems for the first time on the European Golf, including Automatic Accident Notification and Breakdown Alert. There’s also an added driver assistance feature, Traffic Jam Assist, that will allow partially automated driving in stop-and-go conditions.
The European model will be in showrooms shortly. The American model, after a NY Auto Show debut, should be here by autumn 2017.
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