Volkswagen celebrates Golf's 50th birthday


The Mk6, which arrived in 2008, was effectively a substantial facelift, using a stiffened version of the Mk5’s PQ platform, with additional refinement and on-board technology. The quickest version dropped the 3.2-litre VR6 in favour of an uprated version of the GTI’s 2.0-litre turbo four and the ‘32’ badging was dropped, so it just became the Golf R. 

The Mk7 arrived in 2013, arguably marking the high point in the Golf lineage. The first car based on the now-ubiquitous MQB platform, it set a new benchmark for ergonomics and build quality, with the same dynamic polish as the two preceding generations. 

“The best hatchback in the world just got better,” wrote our testers. And it seemed the public agreed, because more than six million examples of the Mk7 Golf were built – making it the best-selling generation since the Mk2.

Mk7 VW Golf GTI Clubsport

It was a success that the Mk8 struggled to follow. Launched in November 2019, it was meant to kick-start Volkswagen’s digital revolution. Software glitches and a global pandemic meant it stalled, and a mid-life facelift was pushed into development.

That car, the ‘Mk8.5’, hits the market later this year, bringing a new-generation infotainment screen, adding long-range plug-in hybrid powertrains, and returning proper buttons to the steering wheel.



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