How the Volkswagen Golf Evolved to Make the New ‘R’ Break Its Own Nurburgring Record

Did you hear? The title of the fastest hatchback on the legendary Nürburgring circuit has been awarded to a new hatchback. The new Volkswagen Golf R “20 Years” made headlines by setting the fastest lap time for an R model on the German circuit Nürburgring Nordschleife. With a power boost, the new Anniversary Edition improved a Golf R’s previous lap record on the 13.02-mile-long circuit.

The official lap time for the Golf R “20 Years” was 7:47.31 minutes, four seconds faster than the previous record. The “Schwedenkreuz” and “Döttinger Höhe” track sections were a walk in the park for the “20 Years” Golf R, thanks to upgraded exclusive standard equipment, optimized driving dynamics and standard 333 PS.

It is indeed impressive from a car that is barely big enough for Sunday groceries. We celebrate this incredible lap time as we take a little history lesson on the origin of golf. It’s been 45 years since the VW Golf was introduced in 1974. Soon after, it became a compact car with such deep popularity that the phrase “Golf Class” was coined. volkswagen produced over 35 million units of the Golf.

Volkswagen Golf Origin Story

The Volkswagen Golf came to succeed the Volkswagen Beetle in March 1974, and it was a worthy successor indeed, crossing sales of 6.99 million units in its very first generation. Volkswagen’s chief designer, Klaus Bischoff: “The switch from the Beetle to the Golf was revolutionary. With the change from the air-cooled rear engine to the water-cooled front engine, a completely new vehicle configuration was created at the time.

The round has become angular – a paradigm shift. In its second generation, the Golf has become larger and also more aerodynamic. It brought with it a list of technological advancements including ABS and power steering, and it was also the first Golf with all-wheel drive.

Volkswagen also introduced a regulated catalytic converter in the 1.8-litre injection engine for the first time. That was five years before Germany issued a mandate on catalytic converters. In 1989, the first diesel engine with catalytic converter followed in November – a world premiere. VW sold a total of 6.3 million second-generation units.

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Modernization of Volkswagen Golf

The third generation was very different from the first two but instantly recognizable as a Golf. While the transition from the first to the second was aimed at achieving larger dimensions and more powerful engines, the third concerned design. The car also entered a new era of safety with front airbags in 1992 and side airbags in 1996.

It was also around this time that cruise control was introduced, along with a direct injection (TDI) diesel engine. The design of the modern Golf began to take shape with the fourth generation. Not only did it look fresh, but VW also introduced a quality standard to the segment. At the same time, safety improvements continued with the introduction of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in 1998.

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, a special GTI model with 182.5 PS, the Golf GTI “Edition 25”. In 2002, one of the coolest Golfs, the Golf R32 arrived with a top speed of 156 mph. By 2003, 4.99 million units of the Golf IV had been produced, including all derivatives.

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Volkswagen Golf has no intention of stopping

The Golf was the best-selling car in Germany in 2003 for about three decades. The fifth generation had “sporty” written all over it. Additionally, it had laser-welded bodywork, rear side airbags, four-link rear suspension, seven-speed DSG, rain sensors, and a panoramic sunroof. During the fifth generation’s lifetime, 3.4 million units, including derivatives, were sold.

Laser-welded bodywork helped this generation Golf earn a perfect five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. It was around this time that VW introduced knee airbags and a variety of assist features such as park assist, hill start assist, start/stop system and LED taillights, among others. The 2009 Golf was the most advanced Golf to date. VW sold 2.85 million units of the sixth generation.

Volkswagen Golf VII: a taste of electrification

The Golf was a modern machine of this generation and looked the part. It was lighter, had lower fuel consumption, had a new digital display and even more assistance systems. The all-electric e-Golf2 in 2014 had a range of around 119 miles. Shortly after, the Golf GTE3 with plug-in hybrid engine (PHEV) was launched.

Volkswagen Golf VIII: 2019-present

The new Golf uses the latest version of the VW Group’s MQB platform and is indeed the sleekest Golf design to date. The eighth-generation Golf is also the first VW to feature Car2X technology which uses information from cars and infrastructure via sensors to produce data based on local traffic and conditions. It also gets Travel Assist, which uses a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane assist to enable “assisted driving” at speeds of up to 131 mph. It’s also the best Golf ever for driving enthusiasts.

Source: Volkswagen

Michael C. Ford