2014 Volkswagen Golf Preview: Lighter, Larger, More Efficient Page 2

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2013 Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion (European model), 2012 Paris Motor Show

2013 Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion (European model), 2012 Paris Motor Show

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Diesel plans

Rather than the smaller 1.6-liter BlueMotion diesel, the 2014 VW Golf for the U.S. will continue to offer the TDI model with the current 2.0-liter turbodiesel (which should nonetheless please the legions of Volkswagen diesel fans).

At some point during the life of the new Golf TDI, that engine will be fitted with urea aftertreatment to comply with new and more stringent Euro 6 emissions standards, now scheduled to take effect in TK.

The U.S. Golf TDI will likely be updated to match, simplifying VW's diesel production--although it's unclear if the more complex exhaust treatment will raise the cost of Volkswagen's TDI models in the U.S.

Electric e-Golf: 'compliance car' only?

A year or more from now, Volkswagen will introduce the first all-electric car it's ever sold in the States.

The electric VW Golf is a battery electric version of the new model, althoughe-Golf prototypes have been tested for several years now, using the current generation of Golf.

The Volkswagen e-Golf is designed primarily to keep VW in compliance with an expanded set of California Zero-Emission Vehicle requirements

At a technical roundtable last week, VW brand head Hackenberg was asked whether the e-Golf was a viable, high-volume entry or merely a "compliance car" to meet the California rules.

Reflecting considerable skepticism about the prospects for fully electric cars, Hackenberg said, in effect, "Well, we'll see if people want to buy them."

First hybrid is Jetta instead

There will also likely be a VW Golf Hybrid model, perhaps in 2016 or later.

But the Golf will have to wait until after the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, the company's first mass-market hybrid, goes on sale late this year.

That car is claimed to deliver an EPA combined gas-mileage rating of 45 mpg from its 150-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the 20-kW (27-hp) electric motor mounted between the engine and seven-speed DSG (dual-clutch) automated gearbox.

And it will offer buyers an intriguing choice of two different ways of improving fuel efficiency: Jetta TDI diesel versus Jetta Hybrid.

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid Golfs: later

As for the new Golf, VW hasn't confirmed a Golf Hybrid for the U.S. market so far--though the group's smallest hybrid powertrain will likely migrate eventually into most of the vehicles built on the new Golf architecture (known as MQB), including the new Audi A3.

There could also be a plug-in hybrid version of the new Golf, to follow the Golf Hybrid, though the first VW Group car to offer its plug-in hybrid powertrain in the U.S. will likely be the new Audi A3 e-tron.

That Audi model won't debut until 2014 or so, and no firm plans for its introduction have been announced. Audi has already launched a test fleet of dozens of prototypes, which are being used for now only by Audi employees across the country.

VW Group chief Martin Winterkorn discussed the hybrid and plug-in hybrid plans for VW, Audi, and Porsche at some length during last week's Paris Auto Show.

Volkswagen provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to cover the Paris Auto Show.

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