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EVOLUTION
OF AN ICON
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF
With over 33 million units produced worldwide, the Volkswagen Golf is one of the most iconic cars ever. Here's a look at how it has evolved over the years.

Text | Anthony Lim
Photos | Volkswagen & Low Fai Ming
2nd April 2018
1974 Golf Mk1 debut
The Golf Mk1 was introduced to replace the Beetle as the 'People's Car' and marked a new era for volume models. A new vehicle layout was created with the conversion from an air-cooled rear engine to a water-cooled front engine, and from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive.
golf mk1
1976 First Golf GTI
The Golf GTI Mk1 was one of the first small hatchbacks to adopt mechanical fuel injection.
One million Golf cars
first golf gti
1979 First Golf Cabriolet
The debut of the first Golf Cabriolet would go on to herald over 680,000 drivers of this iconic car until 2002.
First Golf Cabriolet
1982 Five million Golf cars
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1983 Golf Mk2 debut
The Golf Mk2 boasted an extended wheelbase and interior dimensions over its predecessor. It was also the Mk2 generation that introduced the regulated catalytic converter in 1984 and the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) in 1986.
golf mk2
1986
First Golf with all
-wheel drive (Golf Syncro)
The all-wheel drive system on the Golf Syncro was the prelude to the 4MOTION system known and loved today. Less than 30,000 Syncro models were built during 1986 and 1989.
first golf with all
1988 10 million Golf cars
1989 First Golf hybrid concept car
Golf citySTROMer
The Golf citySTROMer was the first electric Volkswagen to enter serial production and was the forerunner to the e-Golf.
First Golf hybrid concept car
1991 Golf Mk3 debut
The Golf Mk3 was applauded for its fresh design, as well as its major advances in the area of car body construction. It was also the first in the series to have front airbags (in 1992). With significantly improved crash safety and a new exterior look, the Golf went on to win the 1992 European Car of the Year award.
Golf Mk3 debut
1996 First Golf GTI with turbo engine
ABS became standard for all Golf models
First Golf GTI with turbo engine
1997 Golf Mk4 debut
Electronic Stability Control was introduced in the Mk4 in 1998 and standardised on all Golf cars in 1999. The Mk4 went on to be the best-selling car in Europe in 2001.
Golf Mk4 debut
2000 20 million Golf cars
2002 First Golf R32
The R32 was the first production car to come with a dual-clutch transmission, which paved the way for Volkswagen's direct shift gearbox (DSG).
First Golf R32
2003 Golf Mk5 debut
This was the first time that the Golf's bonnet followed the contour of the head lights, like a sports car.
Golf Mk5 debut
2004
Fifth Golf GTI
(with TSI/turbo direct injection petrol engine)
Fifth Golf GTI
2006
Volkswagen announces the Golf Plus, an MPV version of the Golf Mk5.
MPV version of the Golf Mk5
2007 25 million Golf cars
2008 Golf Mk6 debut
The Mk6 took the title of World Car of the Year, and was the first Golf to come with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It also came with Adaptive Cruise Control, a regenerative braking mode, and a Park Assist system.
golf mk6
2010 First Golf R with 2.0 TSI engine (EA113)
The Golf R was confirmed to be the R32's replacement in 2009.
First Golf R
2012 Golf Mk7 debut
The Golf Mk7 won Car of the Year 2014 in Europe, as well as in Japan, making it the first ever non-Japanese car to win. It also featured a City Emergency Braking function.
golf mk 7 debut
First Golf GTI Cabriolet
The Golf GTI Cabriolet was the first open-top model in the history of the GTI.
first golf gti
2013
30-millionth Golf produced
- a Golf TDI BlueMotion
First Golf TGI BlueMotion with natural gas drive
This moved the Golf one step closer to becoming one of the few vehicles in the world to offer all relevant drive types at the time - petrol, diesel, and natural gas.
30 millionth
New Golf Variant
The Golf Variant is also known as the Golf Estate in other markets around the world. A version with the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is known as the Golf Alltrack.
new golf variant
2014
First e-Golf
The e-Golf has an all-electric range of 130km to 190km.
First Golf GTE
first egolf
The GTE makes the Golf the world's first car to offer all relevant types of drive systems. It has an all-electric range of 50km and is capable of reaching up to 130km/h using the electric motor alone. It also uses a triple-clutch system, which is made up of two drive clutches and a disengagement clutch between the TSI and electric motor.
40 years of the Golf
First Golf 1.2 TSI engine introduced to Singapore
40 years
2015 32,590,025 units of the Golf by end of 2015
2016
33 million produced around the world
- that's one Golf every 40 seconds
2017 Facelift of the seventh generation
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