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Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion Review

Eco minded Lem Bingley jets off to Amsterdam to review the latest Golf Bluemotion, but can the car deliver on its promise of 88.3mpg?

BlueMotion Technology badges can be found glued to the bootlids of most models in VW’s new Golf line-up, signifying the presence of fuel-saving technology like automatic stop-start. But there’s only one actual BlueMotion model in the UK range, a fuel miser through and through, perched at the top of the organic compost heap when it comes to planet-hugging, tree-licking greenness.

We burned a tonne or two of aviation fuel jetting to Amsterdam to take a freshly plucked BlueMotion Golf for a spin. Have Volkswagen’s highly efficient engineers created an engaging family hatchback with a broad green streak – or a hessian sandal too far?

The Golf Bluemotion is the company's most frugal model.
The Golf Bluemotion is the company’s most frugal model.

Design

Volkswagen’s seventh-generation Golf has been selling strongly and is fast becoming a familiar sight on British roads – for those who can tell it apart from the previous model. Despite a relatively cautious updating of the familiar Golf shape, the new car is crisper, lower, wider and longer than before.As before, the car sits on lowered sports suspension, hunkered down by 15mm, which helps to cut aerodynamic drag.

It’s also lighter, which obviously helps the BlueMotion model achieve its goal of using less fuel. In all, 26kg has been shaved from the running gear and 37kg from the body structure, compared to the previous Golf BlueMotion.

As before, the car sits on lowered sports suspension, hunkered down by 15mm, which helps to cut aerodynamic drag. Other visible telltales include a prominent spoiler at the top of the tailgate, a front grille blanked off with a broad strip of glossy, blue-striped plastic, and subtle BlueMotion badges on the front wings.

The Bluemotion has a lower ride height than the standard Golf, helping it slip through the air more easily.

Practicality

The interior of the Golf BlueMotion is standard seventh-generation Golf, providing a comfortable and high-quality cocoon for driver and passengers.

The BlueMotion model is available in both three- and five-door editions, with the extra rear doors alleviating the need to twist and fold your way into the back of the car. Room for knees is generous for this class of car once seated.

You'll be hard pressed to spot the differences between this Bluemotion and a standard Golf.

Performance & Handling

The first dedicated BlueMotion model, a miserly VW Polo that arrived in 2007, was extraordinary to drive and not in a good way. Noisy, rough-riding and boasting alarming gaps between gears, that pioneering Polo made you suffer for ever tiny drop of diesel saved.The new Golf BlueMotion feels remarkably unremarkable to drive

Those early day are long gone, and the new Golf BlueMotion feels remarkably unremarkable to drive. There’s no automatic option, but the six-speed gearbox offers evenly spaced ratios and the diesel engine only sounds coarse or gruff when worked especially hard.

The 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine produces 110PS (108bhp), with 250Nm (184lbft) of torque from just 1,500rpm, yielding a 0-62mph time that is far from shabby at 10.5 seconds. Top speed is 124mph.

Like all Golf models offering less than 120bhp, the BlueMotion model employs torsion-bar rear suspension rather than a fully independent setup – a cheaper and lighter solution that can’t compete in bumpy corners. Few drivers will ever notice the drawback in a BlueMotion car. The low-friction, high-pressure eco tyres will see to that, gently letting go at the front when pressed too hard, triggering intervention from the stability system to reign the car in.

The Golf Bluemotion drives unremarkably, which is a huge compliment, seeing as some eco cars are disappointing behind the wheel.

Economy & Environment

The BlueMotion Golf is all about economy, and the latest model offers an impressive 15 per cent improvement over its previous incarnation. As a result, the official CO2 rating has tumbled from 99g/km to just 85g/km. The combined cycle economy figure is an intergalactic 88.3mpg.

Fuel consumption in the real world will depend on how the car is driven. Our best feather-toed eco-driving efforts came in at an indicated 66mpg and 74mpg, over the same 30-minute route but with different drivers.The BlueMotion Golf is all about economy. The combined cycle economy figure is an intergalactic 88.3mpg.

The car’s spoilers and other aerodynamic tweaks such as underfloor panels have cut the car’s drag factor from 0.29 to 0.27, helping it to slice more cleanly through the air. The BlueMotion Golf also saves fuel through a detailed roster of engine tweaks. These help it to warm up more quickly and to spend less energy pumping its own internal fluids around.

In common with other models in the Golf line-up, an automatic stop-start system eliminates fuel waste at a standstill, while the alternator does most of its work when the car is braking or slowing down.

We managed 74mpg in our tests, but Golf says it can deliver 88.3mpg.

Equipment & Value

Prices for the BlueMotion Golf start at £20,335 for the three-door car, or £20,990 for the five-door. BlueMotion is a trim level in its own right, broadly similar to the base model “S” specification but with the addition of 15-inch alloy wheels, plus the dropped suspension and spoilers. The base spec includes Bluetooth and aircon. The BlueMotion Golf’s stiffest competition will probably come from the ordinary 1.6 TDI in S trim, which costs a substantial £1,215 less.

As a result, the BlueMotion Golf’s stiffest competition will probably come from the ordinary 1.6 TDI in S trim, which achieves a CO2 score of 99g/km and costs a substantial £1,215 less. The same 99g/km score can also be had in better equipped SE trim from £20,055, or £280 less than the BlueMotion model.

Buyers will need to visit the BlueMotion car’s options list if they want metallic paint (£525), 16-inch alloys (£410), fog lights (£240), cruise control (£240), park assist with sensors (£595), a reversing camera (£165), or a multi-function steering wheel with leather trim (£400).

Go on, save the world. Buy one. Or just buy the 1.6-litre TDI, which is almost as frugal and a bit cheaper to boot.

Safety

Like all new Golf models, the BlueMotion model boasts a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, with seven airbags and ESP fitted as standard. There’s also an automatic post-collision braking system, tyre pressure monitoring, and an XDS electronic traction control system, again in common with other Golfs.

Verdict

Volkswagen’s achievement in squeezing 85g/km and 88.3mpg out of a car the size of the Golf is deeply impressive, all the more so because the economy gain comes without detectable pain behind the wheel.

Choosing the BlueMotion car may create a strong stabbing sensation in the area of the wallet, however. Buyers will need to be deeply committed to saving fuel to choose the BlueMotion Golf over the cheaper but still frugal 1.6 TDI.

Key specs

Model tested: Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 110PS (108bhp) from 3,200 to 4,000rpm
Torque: 250Nm (184lbft) from 1,500 to 3,000rpm
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds
Top speed: 124mph
Combined cycle economy: 88.3mpg
Emissions: 85g/km
Price: from £20,335

Score: 

 

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