Special Coverage

Auto Show

PARIS – Volkswagen AG plays up practicality and fuel efficiency here at the Paris auto show as it introduces its new Golf hatchback, Golf GTI concept and a variety of new powertrain improvements.

While bragging the new Golf’s 110 PS TDI can average 53 mpg (4.5 L/100 km), VW says the vehicle also “can park itself nearly automatically” thanks to a park-assist function. Additionally, the Golf is available with an array of other electronic features such as an automatic-distance cruise-control function, enhanced electronic stability program, a dynamic chassis-control system and seven airbags, including a knee bag.

VW says all key body elements of the car’s exterior, such as the front grille, were redesigned. But the look is definitely evolutionary, not revolutionary.

The interior boasts new details such as brushed chrome accents and round instruments and a steering wheel derived directly from the upscale Passat CC.

Acoustic properties were given special attention to make the new Golf extra quiet inside, VW says, including a special sound-damping film in the windshield and new seal design for the doors and windows.

Two 2.0L diesel engines will be available at launch, as well as four gasoline engine variants.

With the exception of entry-level versions, all gasoline and diesel engines will be available with either a 6- or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

VW also shows off a concept version of the GTI that will go into production next year. Even though power is increased to 208 hp, fuel consumption is improved to 31 mpg (7.5 L/100 km), VW says.

Additionally, the auto maker touts its Passat Blue TDI, slated for launch in European markets in 2009. VW says it is a harbinger of a new series of models to come that will meet the most stringent U.S. emissions standards and Euro 6 mandate coming in 2014.

In the case of the Passat version shown in Paris, a selective catalytic reduction converter is combined with the urea AdBlue additive to reduce oxides of nitrogen in the exhaust.