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Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed which models will make up the Golf 8 range when the next-generation version of the popular German hatchback arrives on local soil.

The new (already extensively teased) Golf is set to be fully revealed on 24 October 2019.

Speaking to CARmag.co.za, a VW SA representative revealed the local line-up of the eighth-generation hatchback would again include a Golf 1,4 TSI variant (rather than the 1,5 TSI expected to be offered in some other markets), the popular Golf GTI derivative and the range-topping Golf R model.

That suggests no diesel engines – such as the new 2,0 TDI Evo already detailed for Europe – are on the cards (initially, at least) for South Africa. Of course, this makes sense considering SA's outgoing seventh-generation range includes no oil-burners.

While VW SA could not share exact timing for the local launch of the new model (the first units will go on sale in some European markets in December 2019), the company did interestingly confirm the GTI would be the first Golf 8 derivative to arrive in South Africa. That, together with the fact VW SA in August 2019 told CARmag.co.za “the Golf 7 range will be available well into next year [2020]”, suggests local Golf fans are in for a bit of a wait. 

The Wolfsburg-based firm earlier said the new Golf would feature "more digitalisation and connectivity than ever before, packed with innovations and sporting a highly expressive design".

“In the new model, the strengths that have made the Golf a worldwide best-seller have been further perfected. In addition to the new range of efficient engines, further enhanced suspension technology provides a boost in terms of agility," the German firm said in a press statement.

“The new Golf is also a trendsetter in terms of its digitalised and connectivity-oriented interior world, its assisted driving features and its online-based functions and services. Its exterior design is more dynamic than ever before, and yet it is instantly recognisable as a Golf from all sides. On the inside, fresh colours and fabrics define the look of the new compact model, as well as a new digital cockpit.”

The latest Golf will again be produced at the company’s plant in Wolfsburg.

Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed the Golf GTI TCR will be offered locally in limited numbers, with sales expected to start in the first quarter of 2020.

The German firm made the announcement at the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami. Some 300 units of the five-door hot hatch (effectively serving as a swansong for the Golf 7 range) have been set aside for South Africa, with pricing for each set to start at under R700 000.

Revealed in January 2019, the front-wheel-drive VW Golf GTI TCR employs the Wolfsburg-based brand’s familiar turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder, but in this case tuned to deliver 213 kW and 370 N.m, up on the standard GTI’s 169 kW and 350 N.m.

Fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, Volkswagen says the special model is capable of sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in 5,6 seconds – a full eight-tenths quicker than the standard GTI. Maximum speed, meanwhile, is 250 km/h, although the automaker says this can “optionally be increased to 260 km/h”.

The standard equipment list is expected to include a front-axle differential lock, perforated brake discs, driving profile selection, front sport seats (with a new microfibre/fabric design), seat belts with red edging and an “exclusive” sports steering wheel.

From the outside, you’ll notice the 18-inch “Belvedere” forged wheels (or “Milton Keynes” alloy items in the same size as an alternative), black side-mirror caps, new sill extensions, fresh front splitter, TCR-style roof spoiler and a diffuser at the rear. In addition, the TCR logo is projected onto the road when the front doors are opened.

VW says the Golf GTI TCR can be further customised with options such as a new honeycomb decor foil for the side panels, carbon side-mirror caps, a black-painted roof, as well as various 19-inch alloy wheel designs.

Volkswagen in Germany has officially reclassified South Africa’s climate from “hot” to “moderate”, a move that allowed the firm’s local arm to upgrade to the full-fat 228 kW Golf R.

When the refreshed seventh-generation version of the all-wheel-drive hot hatch launched in SA back in July 2017, its familiar turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine offered 213 kW, detuned from the global 228 kW output since the country was classed as a “hot climate” market (despite the closely related Audi S3 Sportback churning out the full figure).

But in February 2019, the SA-spec Golf R was upgraded to the 228 kW offered in many other markets. And now the local arm of the Wolfsburg-based firm has confirmed it was this reclassification (interestingly also applied to the Australian market) that allowed it to make the move.

“This [the reclassification] is the reason we were able to bring the Golf R 228 kW to South Africa,” a Volkswagen SA spokesperson told CARmag.co.za.

Does that mean South Africa is in line to receive other (previously forbidden) hotter powerplants? Well, not quite yet...

“At this stage, there are no other specific engines we are evaluating due to this reclassification,” the spokesperson told us.

Still, we can’t help but think the reclassification is good news for local fans ahead of the launch of the new Golf 8 and its GTI- and R-badged performance variants…

CARmag.co.za recently broke the news Volkswagen South Africa had discontinued the Golf GTD. And now we’ve received information from the local arm of the German brand on the reasons behind the decision.

“Customer uptake of the GTD has been slow. The model has been phased out in order to rationalise the Golf range and focus on our best sellers, GTI and R,” VW SA told us.

Interestingly, although we know the German brand is gearing up to start building the upcoming Golf 8, VW SA added the “end of the production of the current Golf is in 2020”.

As we pointed out in our original story, the Golf GTD was recently removed from the Wolfsburg-based firm’s local website.

It had slotted into VW SA’s range below the Golf GTI, with its 2,0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine offering 130 kW and 350 N.m to the front axle via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The automaker claimed a combined fuel economy of 5,9 L/100 km, a 0-100 km/h time of 7,4 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/h.

The GTD-badged Golf launched in South Africa in July 2017 at the price of R506 700, fitted as standard with 18-inch "Sevilla" alloys, sports suspension, dark red LED tail-lamps (with dynamic turn signals), LED headlamps, leather sports seats (with a heating function up front) and an eight-inch touchscreen system.

It scored 84/100 in our subsequent road test (a single point behind the GTI), became the target of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority and even took on its V6-powered Amarok sibling on the drag strip. Before its recent removal from VW SA’s website, it was listed at R529 200.

The local Golf 7 range thus now comprises only petrol models, in the form of two 1,0 TSI variants, a single 1,4 TSI derivative, the aforementioned GTI and the flagship Golf R (the latter now boasting the full-fat 228 kW output).

The Volkswagen Golf GTD has been quietly removed from the Wolfsburg-based firm’s local website, suggesting it has been officially discontinued in South Africa.

The Golf GTD slotted into VW SA’s range below the Golf GTI, with its 2,0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine offering 130 kW and 350 N.m to the front axle via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The automaker claimed a combined fuel economy of 5,9 L/100 km, a 0-100 km/h time of 7,4 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/h.

The GTD-badged Golf launched in South Africa in July 2017 at the price of R506 700, fitted as standard with 18-inch "Sevilla" alloys, sports suspension, dark red LED tail-lamps (with dynamic turn signals), LED headlamps, leather sports seats (with a heating function up front) and an eight-inch touchscreen system.

It scored 84/100 in our subsequent road test (a single point behind the GTI), became the target of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority and even took on its V6-powered Amarok sibling on the drag strip. Before its recent removal from VW SA’s website, it was listed at R529 200.

The local Golf range thus now comprises only petrol models, in the form of two 1,0 TSI variants, a single 1,4 TSI derivative, the aforementioned GTI and the flagship Golf R (the latter now boasting the full-fat 228 kW output).

Of course, it’s likely Volkswagen has already ceased production of the Golf GTD in Europe, where it has seemingly become a victim of the more stringent WLTP standards. In addition, the German brand is gearing up to start building the upcoming Golf 8


CAR magazine’s distinguished annual Top 12 Best Buys were presented at a gala dinner in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening. Look out for our upcoming April 2019 issue for the full article and rationale behind each decision.

Top 12 Best Buys is our definitive guide to the very best cars in South Africa. As a reminder, here is our judging criteria:

Only vehicles that the majority of the eight-member CAR editorial team has driven: We factor in the findings of road tests and driving impressions we’ve published up until this March issue. Don’t see your favourite in the running? The CAR team might not have driven it yet, with a number of important vehicles (such as the new BMW 3 Series and the fresh Mercedes-Benz GLE) launching locally just too late to meet the deadline.

Ranges, not individual models: Except in the Budget and Performance Car segments, we consider an entire range, not merely one outstanding example. Also, remember that we measure cars against their direct rivals in their classes and then rule on their relative levels of excellence.

We consider all the facets: We look at package, personality, performance and, most importantly in the more value-led categories, price.

The bun fight … and then the vote: We set aside a day for the team to debate, argue and arm wrestle over the contestants. Then we draw up a list of six finalists per award and vote.

So, here are all the winners…

Budget car (under R170 000): Suzuki Swift 1,2 GA
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2nd: Kia Picanto 1,0 Street
3rd: Suzuki Celerio 1,0 GA

Small car: Volkswagen Polo Vivo/
2nd: Ford Fiesta
3rd: Volkswagen Polo

Midsize car: Volkswagen Golf


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2nd: Audi A3
3rd: Toyota Corolla Quest

Premium midsize car: Audi A4
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2nd: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
3rd: Volkswagen Arteon


Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
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2nd: BMW 5 Series
3rd: Porsche Panamera

Performance car: McLaren 720S

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2nd: Ferrari 488 Spider
3rd: Porsche 718 Cayman GTS PDK

Small SUV/crossover: Renault Duster

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2nd: Ford EcoSport
3rd: Honda BR-V

Midsize SUV/crossover: Volkswagen Tiguan

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2nd: Kia Sportage
3rd: Mazda CX-5

Premium midsize SUV/crossover: Volvo XC60

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2nd: BMW X3
3rd: Audi Q5

Large SUV/crossover: Kia Sorento

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2nd: Ford Everest
3rd: Toyota Fortuner

Luxury SUV/crossover: Range Rover Sport

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2nd: Volkswagen Touareg
3rd: BMW X5

Double-cab bakkie: Ford Ranger

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2nd: Toyota Hilux
3rd: Volkswagen Amarok

Company of the year: BMW Group South Africa

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