Part of the reason VW brought the Euro models to the event is because it wanted to show us what it can do, plus what we will be seeing here in the not-to-distant future. The MK7 GTI is the seventh-generation of the GTI hatch in Europe. It’s built off VW’s new MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, which will be the platform for many new models worldwide. The GTI will be coming to the U.S., but we’re not sure if it will offer this level of performance. Fun to drive is a major understatement here. The GTI is so well tuned it feels like an extension of your body. Turning, stopping, accelerating are all accomplished briskly, cleanly, and without drama. If the U.S. Spec model is anything like this one, sign us up.
Price: Est. $35,000-$40,000 (British pound conversion)
Performance: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4; 230 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque
Prediction: Performance seekers will be lined up to buy one
2014 MK7 Golf Euro Spec
The Golf, like the GTI, will be based on the MQB platform, and is bigger, lighter and roomier than the U.S. Golf it will replace beginning next year. We drove the turbodiesel model, which delivers decent performance along with what will surely be impressive fuel economy numbers (European figures are 47 city/65 highway, with 57 mpg combined). The Golf TDI offered plenty of interior amenities, and provided a comfortable, predictable ride that customers looking for German-feel cars will appreciate. It’s hard not to love the hatchback design, and the new model will offer good passenger and cargo space. The use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel will make it attractive to those who might otherwise be considering a hybrid. This is also the seventh generation for the Golf in Europe, and has sold a staggering 29 million cars in its 40-year history.
Price: Est. $18,000 to $28,000
Performance: 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel I4; 150 horsepower, 236 lb-ft of torque.
Prediction: Diesel enthusiasts will find this a solid buy.
If you had to pick a favorite car for this event, it would be a hard decision. The Scirocco R most likely would win. The bad news is VW has not said if this model will make it to the New World. We sure hope it does…again. For those too young to remember, the VW Scirocco did have a presence in the U.S. in the mid-seventies, and epitomized Volkswagen’s image of building fun, cute, sporty vehicles. In 1988 the Scirocco left America, but stayed on in Germany until 1992. A third generation reappeared in Europe in 2008, but never made it here. And that’s a shame. This coupe would play well in the American market. The R is the performance trim, and lets you know it. The R was quick, the brakes were sharp, the exhaust was throaty, and the overall impression was stellar. We loved the downshift rev matching and the quick turn in during cornering. It would be tough to find a competitor in the segment that could outperform it. No wonder we are so envious of our automotive friends across the pond.
Price: Est. $42,900 (British pound conversion)
Performance: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4; 265 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque
Prediction: If you bring it, they will come
Although not actually a car, car-net is VW’s entry to the connectivity game. Owners now can enjoy many of the same features found in GM’s OnStar, or Hyundai’s blueLink, and other manufacturer’s telematics system.
Car-net allows you to use both an app and a computer to operate a variety of features and functions. Safe and Secure features automatic airbag deployment notification as well as emergency roadside assistance. Family Guardian is a geo-fencing feature that alerts you via text or email if your vehicle has strayed outside of preset boundaries. Remote Vehicle Access lets the car’s owner remotely lock and unlock doors, find out if a door or trunk is or has been opened, honks the horn and flashes the lights if desired, helps you find the vehicle location, and also provides a live agent for directions if you have the navigation system. Diagnostics and Maintenance will schedule a dealer visit, search for a dealership, and get you a diagnostic report. Car-net is available on the following VW models for 2014: CC, Eos, Beetle coupe and convertible, and Jetta, Passat and Tiguan models on trim level SE and higher. It’s not available on the Touareg yet because of different architecture, but it is planned for a future installation. Prices are $199 per year, but owners can pay monthly, or on a month-by-month basis. Car-net doesn’t do anything unique from other manufacturers, but it’s good to know that VW vehicles now are more competitive. There are plans to expand car-net in the future, and we can’t wait to see what’s coming.
All photography by BJ Killeen/Team Killeen or courtesy of Volkswagen