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Auf Wiedersehen Golf. Volkswagen Phases Out Its Best-selling Hatchback

Updated: May 2, 2023

The current 8th generation of the ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf has been confirmed as being the last. At least in terms of being fitted with an internal combustion engine, as VW presses ahead with its dedicated EV future.

Rumour has it that the German automotive behemoth will resurrect the Golf model name in a reimagined electric guise sometime going forward, yet with regards to the Golf we all know, love and identify with as an ICE-powered (petrol and diesel) hatchback, the end is indeed, nigh.

Which is an almighty shame on so many levels, should the rumours prove true. After all, the humble Golf has been responsible for spawning various fascinating facts and figures during its enduring timeline.

It was, for the most part, a transcender of automotive class. Like the original Mini.

That said, bona fide blue bloods such as the Princesses’ Diana, and in more recent times, Kate, count prominently amongst previous Golf owners. As does a former Pope, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and current PM, Rishi Sunak to name-clang just a handful.

And then there was the whole Beastie Boys episode.

A rap ensemble who were instrumental in ensuring that the Volkswagen logo remained firmly fixated in our psyche during the 80’s. Thanks to the rappers’ somewhat nonsensical predilection for VW bonnet badges worn around their necks.

But back to the actual story…..

The VW Golf: An Obituary

Similar to the abovementioned Mini (in one form or another), pretty much everyone can recall a personal memory or experience of a Volkswagen Golf. Most families will have had a Golf at some juncture. Some of you might have been brought back from the hospital in a MKI 1.6L. Others might have had one as a first car. Or a stop-gap vehicle, while ‘between cars’. As the erstwhile hatchback has been an omnipresent sight on our roads since the mid-1970’s.

Whether as an entry-level five-door runabout, or as a thrills-per-ride fuel-injected hot hatch.

After all, Volkswagen - and therein, the Golf - single-handedly invented the GTi. But that’s another story, for another blog. Having said that, we’ll concentrate our timely trip down memory lane from a GTi perspective.

And who can forget the all white VW Golf Clipper.

A car that epitomised 1980’s yuppiedom as much as red braces and Filofaxes. And habitually driven by those who couldn’t run to a Porsche 944.

Indeed, it was the MKII Golf GTi that gave us visions of supermodel, Paula Hamilton discarding every trapping of 80’s excess as she walked down a London mews street.

Save for the keys to her era-defining GTi.

The VW Golf (As We Know It) Will Soon Reach The End Of The Road

Singling out the performance versions of successive Golf models, we now take a brief look at the GTi’s which have come and gone. And it’s fair to say that the first two generations of VW Golf set an exceedingly high bar. One which the MKIII Golf failed to live up to, in the eyes of the purists and ever-burgeoning fan base.

Yet its difficult birth also ushered in a raft of special edition Golf models which captured the driving public’s imagination. Like the ‘Rolling Stones’ model, and perhaps most memorably, the ‘Colour Concepts’. The Golf’s slightly less ‘out there’ take on its other colourful ‘Harlequin’ special editions. The car that wore a technicolour dream coat, as it were. The Golf Colour Concepts were after all, GTi’s of sorts.

Both the fourth and fifth generation of Golf introduced us to the fire-breathing 3.2-litre VR6-engined R32 models, while the MK6 Golf brought with it the dawn of the Golf ‘R’.

The seventh coming of the Golf presented the GTi Clubsport S.

Or to be precise, the face-lifted Mk7.5 did.

And then there was/still very much is the Mk8 Golf GTi. What we now understand to be the last of its kind.

Evo magazine has described it as a ‘potent and engaging hatchback, but isn’t the indomitable package it once was.’

It also suffered from a host of software issues too apparently. Very much a sign of the times for the most non-analogue generation of the GTi family.

It will be electrics of a different kind which plot the Golf’s future coordinates though, should the redoubtable hatchback return in fully-fledged EV clothing. But if it does, will it not assume an altogether new identity?

So, Why Is The Golf Facing Up To Its Unexpected Demise?

The Volkswagen Golf is ‘the answer to everything’ according to someone who knows a thing or three about cars in general. Namely BBC Top Gear’s former presenter, James May.

Who went on to add; “It’s the only car that really needs to exist.”

Some 35 million people have bought a Golf globally since the hatchback’s inception in the mid-1970’s, which gives credence to May’s otherwise sweeping gesture.

A bold statement, however not entirely without merit, obviously.

As a practical, versatile, affordable and of course to paraphrase Volkswagen’s marketing folk, 'reliable', vehicle, the Golf in all of its iterations earned its moniker as the ‘car of the people’.

However, the people are demanding something more than the Golf can deliver in 2023. Possibly the ID.2.

Ostensibly since the Golf is a hatchback, it doesn’t quite find itself in the price range for vehicles which are super quick. And controversially, since it’s an EV, fun isn’t necessarily well starred from the outset.

Think about it.

What sets a hot hatchback apart from the pretenders to its throne?

At the very heart of a hot hatchback, if we’re focusing on the best-selling Golf GTi, is the free revving of an internal combustion engine. Animatedly working through the gears and playing to the lightweight nature of the beast. The key ingredients being lack of pounds, plenty of planted power, keen engine symphonics and poised handling attributes.

And then you have your typical EV.

No noise, heavy, a lack of transmission. Resulting in no gear shifting.

Akin to the shock demise of Take That in 1996, who knows what will arise, phoenix-like from the ashes of the internal combustion engined Golf in the days, weeks, months and years which lie ahead.

If not an ID.2.

But like Barlow and the boys, we very much doubt this is the last we’ve heard from the Golf.

Even if the ninth generation is more indicative of the silent classes, as opposed to being the go-to car favoured by the chattering classes of yore.

WCC Do Golfs To A Tee

Here at WCC we work on a lot of Volkswagen Golf’s.

And we mean, a LOT (extends hands to yay big).

With our experienced technicians carrying out a range of servicing, diagnostics, warranty work, retrofitting of security and driving aids, general repairs and MOT’s on every generation of VW Golf on a weekly basis.

If you’re a Golf owner, try us today.

If you’re not, and never have been, then perhaps you NEED to scratch this car itch sooner rather than later.

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