THE wait is almost over and first examples of Volkswagen's eagerly awaited new mark eight Golf hatchback will hit Britain's roads in around two months' time.
VW dealers have now started taking orders with first deliveries expected in April - but, initially at least, the available choice is limited to seven variants with two trim levels and two petrol and two diesel engine options.
Life and Style are the two trim levels available at first, but they'll be joined by R-Line models at a later date.
The petrol line-up consists of two 1.5-litre TSI engines with 128 and 148bhp both with a six-speed manual box, while diesel options include 113 or 148bhp two-litre units, the former with a 6-speed manual and the more powerful mated with a seven-speed DSG transmission as standard, and only available in the Style trim.
More engine options will arrive over the coming months as production in Wolfsburg ramps up. These will include one-litre, three-cylinder TSI petrol engines as well as eTSI 48V mild-hybrid petrol units in one and 1.5-litre configurations. The hybrids will only be available with a seven-speed DSG transmission.
Other models will follow throughout the year including the Estate, GTE, GTI, GTD and R variants but, in the meantime, the seven-model range comprises three Life models and four in Style trim, priced from £23,875 to £29,170.
Volkswagen says that the new Golf is the most connected model it has ever produced and all models feature cutting-edge Car2X technology which facilitates wireless communication between the new Golf and other Car2X-equipped vehicles on the road, as well as so-called ‘street furniture', allowing the car to more effectively pre-empt hazards such as stationary traffic ahead, approaching emergency vehicles and more.
As Europe's top-selling car, the Golf will bring this tech to millions of people, says VW.
In the UK, VW is predicting that the entry level Life 1.5 TSI 130 PS 6-speed manual model will be the top-seller - but it's far from being a stripped-down, entry-level version and comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors with memory feature and keyless start with keyless entry available as a £400 option.
Inside, the cockpit incorporates a 10.25-inch active info display in the car's instrument binnacle, as well as a 10-inch touch-screen navigation and infotainment system with DAB and FM radio, as well as USB and Bluetooth connectivity with Wireless App-Connect and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. Driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, a driver alert system, dynamic road sign display, lane assist and front assist with extended pedestrian protection measures.
Priced from £25,470, the Style trim level adds a number of additional exterior and interior niceties including bigger alloy wheels, upgraded LED headlights, sports seats with premium fabric and climate control air conditioning