The 2018 VW Golf R.

The Volkswagen Golf has grown into an extended family over the years, from the standard compact hatchback to sporty models such as the GTI and Golf R, the battery-powered e-Golf, and the functional, flexible SportWagen and AllTrack models. And the entire line-up will undergo some notable updates for 2018.

The public will get a first, formal look at the refreshed line-up at this week’s New York International Auto Show, but VW is already offering the inside story to media gathering in the Big Apple. And what it has in store for buyers includes some modest styling tweaks, as well as new safety and infotainment technologies.

Long one of the world’s best-selling cars, the Volkswagen Golf could use a little boost, especially in the U.S., where VW is struggling to move past its diesel emissions scandal and where passenger cars – especially compact models – have been losing momentum in a market fixated on SUVs.

The highlights of the 2018 Golf family story?

  • Optional new LED headlamps will be available as standard gear on some high-line trim levels.

    All models adopt some exterior changes that include sharper lines, as well as new bumpers and a new grille. Bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights are now standard, but full LED headlamps are also available as an option across the board;

  • Front Assist – VW’s version of Forward Collision Warning – now adds pedestrian detection. Other Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, include Blind Sport Assistance, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise and Rear Traffic Alert. The technology is optional on most models, some gear standard on high-line trim levels.
  • The new VW infotainment system, Discover Media, is now an option across the board. Using an 8-inch touchscreen, it originally appeared as an option on the battery-electric e-Golf. Meanwhile, the reconfigurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit becomes standard on the Golf R.

The updated e-Golf will remain a 2018 model.

(VW gets EPA approval to sell off left-over 2015 diesels. Click Here for the story.)

As for individual models, the 2018 Golf hatchback retains the familiar 170 horsepower turbo-four engine, paired with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Depending upon trim level, there are numerous new features, such as the 17-inch alloy wheels on the SEL, as well as that Discover Media system.

(To see more about how important the U.S. market is to Volkswagen, Click Here.)

The Golf SportWagen and Golf AllTrack also rely on the 1.8-liter turbo-four, but the engine is paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, and all-wheel-drive is now an option on the wagon model. The AllTrack S makes those LED headlamps standard.

The sportier Golf GTI adds some high-line trim features to base models for 2018, including VAQ differential. The powertrain for the hot hatch carries over: a turbo 2.0-liter four, making 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque on all models.

The Golf R, however, bumps the performance quotient up quite a bit with its carryover 2.0-liter turbo-four making 292 hp through either a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Exterior lighting will also be all-LED for 2018.

(Click Here to see how the diesel scandal has impacted VW profits.)

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