If the carbon footprint of a regular Volkswagen Golf isn’t small enough for you, the latest Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion might just be your thing. But a word of caution before you continue reading this story – if you’re a ravenous petrolhead who considers carbon emissions and fuel economy to be as relevant as a pair of chopsticks in a steakhouse, you might want to look away now.
Simply put, this car is a tree-hugger’s dream come true. The claimed figures are astonishing – emitting just 85g of carbon dioxide per kilometre and returning an unbelievable 31.3km per litre of diesel, this model doesn’t just blow the 1.4-litre petrol Golf (116g/km, 20km/L) away in terms of efficiency, it even beats the mighty Prius (92g/km, 25km/L).
Theoretically, you could drive the Golf BlueMotion from Singapore to Penang and back (over 1,400 kilometres), and still have enough range left to go on an island-wide sightseeing tour (about 140 kilometres long).
How is this automotive sorcery possible? For starters, under the bonnet is an improved version of VW’s 1.6 TDI turbo-diesel, with efficiency-boosting changes such as lower-friction internals, quicker warm-up and more efficient exhaust gas recirculation. The gearing of the 6-speed manual transmission (there’s no DSG auto option) has also been “stretched” to help save fuel.
Even the exterior is a fuel saver, thanks to wind-cheating aerodynamics courtesy of an almost closed radiator grille, reworked underfloor panels, a special roof spoiler and a 15mm-lower ride height. And the factory-fitted 15-inch tyres have unusually low rolling resistance, of course.
How does this extremely eco-friendly Golf drive compared to the regular Golf? They’re quite alike, actually. There’s obvious diesel chatter at idle, but it’s in no way intrusive, and the engine provides ample torque that is “urgent” enough to cope with day-to-day driving. The manual gearchanges are sweet, by the way.
Resist the urge to wring its neck and the car behaves like the Golf we all know and love – confident, composed, comfortable. The TDI motor cannot match a TSI petrol motor in terms of smoothness, especially at low revs, but get your speed up and it’s pretty hard to tell the difference. The 15-inch tyres are cushy over bumps, but the ride becomes “crashier” if you opt for the larger 16-inch or 17-inch footwear.
Being a manual-only model, the new Golf TDI BlueMotion is unlikely to land in Singapore. But if there’s enough interest from tree-huggers (who can afford one of these at today’s prices), the local VW dealership might bring the car in.
2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion 1.6
ENGINE 1598cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbo-diesel
MAX POWER 110bhp at 3200-4000rpm
MAX TORQUE 250Nm at 1500-3000rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed manual
0-100KM/H 10.5 seconds
TOP SPEED 200km/h
CONSUMPTION 31.3km/L (combined)