History of the Volkswagen Golf
From the initial design to the latest model, a brief timeline of the VW Golf.
First brought to the market in the 1970s, the Volkswagen Golf has gone on to span six generations and has sold more than 1,500,000 models in the UK, making it the eighth most popular car ever sold in the country. Volkswagen’s first successful replacement for the iconic Beetle, the Golf was first launched in Europe in 1974 and in America as the VW Rabbit in 1975. The Mark 1 Golf featured front wheel drive, a large rear hatchback door and a simple unibody structure and was an instant hit on the UK market.
The second and third generation Golfs were launched onto the market in 1983 and 1991 respectively. The second generation featured a slightly larger wheelbase than the Mark 1 but retained its ancestor’s overall look, while the third generation included the first turbocharged direct injection diesel engine in a Golf and a slim 2.8L VR6 engine. The first Golf estate and a new Cabriolet derived from the Mark 3 both joined the model range in 1993, with the latter replacing the original Mark 1.
1997 and 2003 saw the introduction of the Mark 4 and Mark 5 generations. Described as smooth and stylish, the Mark 4 was available in both two door and five door formats, while the Mark 5 featured a 2.5L five-cylinder engine and was marketed as the Volkswagen Rabbit in North America.
The VW Golf Mark 6 was debuted at the Paris Motor Show in 2008. Designed by the firm’s chief designer Walter de’Silva, the Mark 6 Golf was fuel efficient and was much quieter than the previous models. Available with both five and six speed gearboxes, the new VW Golf was launched on the market in 2009 and has achieved great success.
More recently VW has transformed several of the Golf models into electric CityStromer models. The manufacturer have also developed 20 Golf Variant twinDRIVE plug-in hybrid vehicles and the VW Golf blue-e-motion.