2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk8: prices, specs and release date

New Volkswagen Golf Mk8 is now available with an entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine starting from £23,300

  • New entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine now on sale
  • Golf Mk8 available in Life, Style, and R-Line trim levels
  • GTI, GTD, GTE and R performance models to launch later in 2020

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk8 range has been expanded with the introduction of a new 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s the sixth engine option to be offered in the new Golf.

The 1.0-litre engine produces 108bhp and can cover 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds with a top speed of 126mph. Claimed fuel economy is 49.6-53.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 121-129g/km. The same engine will be available with mild-hybrid assistance and a DSG automatic gearbox as standard at a later date.

The range-topping R-Line trim, along with the GTI, GTD and GTE performance models of the Golf, will also be introduced this summer. The flagship Golf R is expected to arrive before the end of 202-, as will an estate version of the standard Golf.

Standard equipment and trim levels

The Golf Life trim level is priced from £23,300, and includes front and rear parking sensors, automatic LED headlights, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors and 16-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety tech includes adaptive cruise control, a dynamic road sign display system and lane assist.

Interior equipment includes a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless smartphone charging and customisable ambient interior lighting with 10 different colours to pick from.

The Style trim level costs from £25,495 and adds larger 17-inch alloy wheels along with upgraded LED headlights. The interior gets additional ambient interior lighting colours, wood-style trim and plusher ‘Art Velours’ trimmed seats.

The R-Line trim starts at £26,165 and includes VW’s Innovision digital cockpit as standard, consisting of a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch infotainment screen. Wireless smartphone charging and mirroring are also included. Front sport seats are standard, with ‘Sardegna’ cloth trim alongside 30-colour ambient interior lighting. Front and rear LED lights are also fitted.

Optional extras for the Golf Mk8 model range include more powerful Matrix LED headlights costing £875. VW’s Dynamic Chassis Control system adds adaptive suspension, with adjustable modes for £950. A head-up display costs £625 with a keyless entry system priced at £400.

The newest engine offered in the Golf Mk8 is a 108bhp turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol producing 108bhp and it’s capable of getting the car from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 126mph. This engine is only available in the entry-level Life model. Fuel economy is comparable to the larger engines in the range, with claimed economy of 49.6-53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 121-129g/km.

The 128bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is capable of 49.6-52.3mpg depending on the size of alloy wheels fitted. A more powerful version of the same engine is also available. It produces 148bhp, and is capable of a claimed 47.9-51.4mpg depending on the options fitted. Both versions are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The Golf Mk8 also features a new turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is available in two power outputs. The base 113bhp version starts at £24,875 with a six-speed manual gearbox and is capable of a claimed 62.8-67.3mpg. Emissions-reducing AdBlue fluid is now injected into the exhaust in two locations instead of one, reducing its CO2 figure and boosting its appeal for company-car drivers.

The more powerful 148bhp variant is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and is capable of claimed fuel economy of 60.1-62.8mpg. This engine is only available in the more expensive Style trim level starting at £29,170.

Styling, interior and technology

While there’s never been a Golf that has represented a massive change from its immediate predecessor, Volkswagen has given the Mk8 model a distinctly sharper look compared with the seventh-gen model. The front end has the biggest changes, with a lower nose, slim headlights (which are LEDs as standard) and fins on the new air intake for higher trim level models.

Towards the back of the car, the familiar Golf window-line kink remains, while the back end has been redesigned. The tail-light clusters are more intricately styled than the teasers suggested, and there’s a hint of the Volkswagen T-Roc SUV about them. VW’s redesigned badge sits above new ‘Golf’ lettering.

As expected, the new Golf will increase slightly in size over the current model, with a longer wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) that will be beneficial for passenger and boot space. Overall, the car is 26mm longer than before, but 36mm lower to give a sportier stance.

Interior

On the inside, the new Golf gets an extensively revamped interior, with the eighth-generation model boasting an array of new technology and a much more upmarket feel. The dashboard has been completely redesigned, with physical buttons replaced by a central infotainment touchscreen display and a digital dial cluster, which both measure around 10 inches. The Active Info display in front of the driver (showing relevant driving, navigation and media information) is standard across the range, which is a first for the family hatchback class.

The central display appears to be a one-piece design that joins seamlessly with the digital dial cluster, in keeping with recent VW models such as the Touareg SUV. Slimmer air vents sit lower in the dashboard beneath the central infotainment screen.

Technology

VW has already said that the Golf Mk8 will be the first of its cars to be fully online. In fact, the company mentions that the only analogue aspect of the car will be the steering wheel - everything else will be digital and many of the buttons inside have been replaced by touch-sensitive panels.

There’s also state-of-the-art connectivity, with Amazon Alexa voice assistance, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Smartphone connectivity, online radio and Car2X software all available. The latter allows the Golf to communicate with other cars and local infrastructure so drivers can be warned about local hazards such as broken-down cars, roadworks, emergency vehicles and if they’re about to join a traffic jam.

The new Golf Mk8 also benefits from a full suite of driver assistance technology too, becoming a benchmark for safety. Even on the entry-level Golf, you’ll get LED lights, lane keeping assist, turn assistance, Car2X and a pedestrian protection system. Higher-spec models get ParkPilot parking aid and other safety features, but these should be available as optional extras on the S spec. VW has confirmed that the car is capable of driving itself on motorways.

A range of high-end equipment will be offered, including three-zone climate control, a Harman Kardon stereo system and Matrix LED headlights (providing full-beam power without dazzling other drivers). The Golf can also feature a head-up display shown on the windscreen, and can save individual driver settings in the cloud.

Engines, performance and chassis

Sitting on an updated version of the VW Group’s MQB chassis, the new Golf will be around 70kg lighter, due to more lightweight materials. It will also be equipped with new suspension technology improving its handling and driving dynamics.

There’ll be petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the new Golf. Two petrol engines will be available: a 1.5-litre engine with 128 or 148bhp that’s been carried over from the outgoing model and a 1.0-litre engine with 89 or 108bhp that will arrive later. All come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the 148bhp 1.5-litre eTSI mild-hybrid models have a seven-speed automatic gearbox. A 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine will suit higher-mileage drivers; it’s available with either 113 or 148bhp and the choice of both gearboxes.

2020 Volkswagen Golf Estate

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf Estate has been revealed with an array of new tech and a revised engine line-up including diesel and a petrol mild-hybrid powertrains. There is also a rugged looking 'Alltrack' model, which gets a raised ride height and VW's '4MOTION' four-wheel drive system.

As well as carrying over the fully digital dash from the Mk8 hatchback, the new Golf estate also gets Car2x connectivity, and the same touch-sensitive controls. Practicality is improved over the old model, with a 611 litre boot, that expands to 1,642 litres with the rear seats folded flat. 

Mk8 Volkswagen Golf GTI, GTD, GTE, GTI Clubsport and R performance models

The Golf GTI, GTD and GTE have been revealed and are scheduled to arrive in showrooms by summer 2020. All three cars get very similar styling, with more aggressive body parts, LED lights and an optional LED lighting strip in the front grille. All models get an intricate ‘X-shaped’ five-piece foglight design located in the lower front honeycomb grille, which doesn’t feature on the standard Mk8 Golf.

Each model also gets different alloy wheel designs and trim colours to make them distinct from each other; as before, the GTI will have red contrast detailing, the GTE blue and the GTD silver.

Inside, all performance Golf models get VW’s dual digital display screen, with tartan seat upholstery and ambient interior lighting. The GTI, GTD and GTE also get the option of an electronic differential to improve the car’s traction, along with adaptive suspension and VW’s ‘Dynamic Chassis Control’ system. Driver’s can also pick from three unique driving modes, with each sharpening the car’s dynamics.

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI

VW’s latest iteration of the Golf GTI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 242bhp. A manual six-speed gearbox is standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic on the options list.

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTD

Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine producing 197bhp, the new 2020 GTD is the most powerful diesel Golf ever produced. VW says it's the most efficient as well, with the latest emissions-reducing AdBlue tech helping to make it greener. The new car also ditches the six-speed manual gearbox, with the only option being a seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic.

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTE

The latest Golf GTE combines a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to produce 242bhp. Power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic gearbox. A 13kWh battery pack offers a pure-electric range of around 37 miles at speeds of up to 80mph.

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport prototype

The hardcore 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport has been revealed. It gets an extra 54bhp, boasting a total of 296bhp from a tweaked version of the same 2.0-litre petrol engine as the standard GTI. Styling changes include a more aggressive front bumper, a larger rear spoiler and a model-specific rear diffuser.

The Clubsport also features a number of chassis upgrades, including a new electronic differential, more powerful brakes and a unique tuning setup for the steering and suspension. A DSG automatic gearbox is standard, with 0-62mph taking under six seconds. 

2020 Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen Golf R prototype

The range-topping Golf R has been spotted testing in recent months. Various leaks suggest it will have 329bhp, a 27bhp increase over the old car. It will have four-wheel drive, with similarly subtle styling to match the outgoing car.

Want to know more about the current generation VW Golf? Check out our review, or see our picks for the best hatchbacks you can buy in 2020.

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