Volkswagen has sold over 29 million Golfs since its original European launch in 1974. That gives you some idea of how important a new model is to the company--and the buying public.

The all-new 2014 Volkswagen Golf will be launched at this month's Paris Auto Show, and though it looks little different from the outgoing model, there have been plenty of changes under the skin.

Chief among these is the Golf's construction. While the new car is longer, wider, and larger inside than the old car, Volkswagen has managed to cut weight by up to 220 lbs.

That's the result of nothing more than improved production techniques and better use of materials, allowing the new body to be not only lighter, but stronger too.

It's also more aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of 0.27. Those lower, sleeker lines don't lie, and it beats the previous Golf's 0.31 Cd figure.

VW has made improvements to the interior too, which while not strikingly different in design, is now more driver-focused and loaded with technology. A 5.8-inch touchscreen is standard, with an 8-inch screen fitted to those with integrated navigation. Naturally, the ambience has also stepped up a notch with abundant aluminum and leather finishes.

While European models will launch with 1.2 and 1.4 gasoline models (the latter equipped with cylinder deactivation to save gas), and 1.6 and 2.0 diesels, U.S. sales are likely to kick off with a turbocharged 1.8-liter and naturally, the excellent 2.0 TDI found in current Golfs, Jettas and Beetles. You can be sure VW will squeeze a few more MPG from each engine, too.

We also know the 2014 Golf will be offered as an electric car, expected to appear in late 2013. Few details are known just yet, but it should build on technology developed using VW's current Blue E-Motion prototype.

Click on the link for more new cars from the 2012 Paris Auto Show.


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