Five generations, 34 years and over 26 million vehicles after the original first went on sale, the sixth generation of the Golf has been unveiled.

The new model continues the evolution of an icon.  The new Golf is the safest, most technically advanced and most dynamic iteration yet.  Not only does the new Golf promise great value, but it aims to set benchmarks in quality, style, safety and the reduction of emissions.

Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board, Volkswagen AG, commented: ‘This sixth generation of Golf cars will completely redefine the quality and comfort level of its class over broad categories, offering more customer value than ever before.'

Instantly apparent in the sixth generation of Golf is a sharply defined look that draws on the new design direction established by the Scirocco.  Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand led the team responsible for the shape of the new car, overseen by Volkswagen Group's head of design, Walter de Silva.  ‘It is more accentuated than its predecessor with precisely defined lines and edges and with finely proportioned flared surfaces and recesses,' commented de Silva.

The new look aims to combine the elements that define the Golf across five generations while bringing them up to date.  The result is a clean, elegant design that's easily recognisable as a Golf yet remains an all-new shape.

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The same elements of simplicity and attention to detail were applied to the vehicle's interior.  A new level of quality is established in the Golf with the adoption of materials and equipment usually associated with a vehicle in a higher segment.

Clearly defined white backlit dials sit in recessed, individual cowells behind a three-spoke steering wheel with the option of controls for entertainment and communications functions.  High quality, soft touch plastics are integrated with tasteful aluminium and chrome highlights.  The new look is combined with advances made by Volkswagen engineers in reducing wind noise, including a completely new design of door and window seals, a new damping film that supports the windscreen and a new engine mounting system.  The result is new levels of acoustic damping to make the new Golf the quietest yet.

Aiding this refinement are advanced new petrol and diesel engines.  The new 2.0-litre TDI 110 PS common rail diesel engine emits just 119 g/km of CO2 while returning 62.7 mpg on the combined cycle.  Other diesel variants are available with 90 PS, 140 PS and 170 PS outputs linked to a choice of six-speed manual or DSG gearboxes.  Many of the petrol engines adopt highly efficient TSI technology with outputs of 80 PS, 102 PS, 122 PS and 160 PS.

For the first time, Volkswagen's Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) will be offered on the Golf.  This is available on the Passat CC and standard on the new Scirocco, and allows the driver to select from normal, comfort or sport modes to define the desired suspension, steering and accelerator response settings for any particular journey.

Automatic Distance Control is also offered, which monitors the area around the vehicle through a series of sensors and will, if necessary, reduce the vehicle's speed should an obstruction be identified.  In extreme cases the vehicle can be brought to a complete stop using the system.

Building on the technical advances are new levels of safety equipment including the addition of a knee airbag for the driver to bring the total number of airbags fitted as standard to seven.  A new head restraint system designed to reduce whiplash injuries and rear seat belt detection sensors are joined by new, more advanced Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) software.

Prices and specifications for the new Golf will be announced closer to the vehicle's launch towards the end of the year.  The new Golf goes on sale in the UK in January.