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2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI First Drive

More Power, Size & Clean-Diesel MPG

KJ Jones
Dec 8, 2014
Photographers: Courtesy of Volkswagen, KJ Jones
Let’s take a moment to think back to the mid-’70s to late ’80s, the proverbial “old days,” as far as diesel cars are concerned, as diesel engines were not found in passenger cars—foreign or domestic—as much as they are today. Yes, it truly does seem like centuries ago at this point.
As our older readers probably remember, Mercedes-Benz was one of the only brands that had any real success with diesel cars during this period, through sales of its inline five-cylinder, 3.0L-powered, 240D and 300D sedans. Volkswagen, another German automaker, was also making inroads in diesel technology during that time and, in 1976, it introduced a naturally aspirated, four-cylinder, 50hp, 1.5L indirect-injection engine that would be used in the first-generation VW Golf, which was sold in the U.S. as a “Rabbit.”
Think about that for a moment. At this point, it was more than 40 years ago that Volkswagen, motivated by the goal of achieving both sporty performance and, more importantly, outstanding fuel economy (the U.S. was in the thick of an oil crisis during this time) for its compact passenger cars, dubbed the Golf as the flagship for its small diesel powerplant.
Photo 2/10   |   Now in its seventh generation, the five-passenger ’15 Golf TDI is Volkswagen’s flagship for its all-new, EA288 turbodiesel engine, and MQB modular chassis.
Of course, Golf and Volkswagen’s diesels have evolved through the years and, in 2015, both the car and its drivetrain have once again experienced changes that have taken Golf into a new generation.
One of the major changes for the seventh-generation Golf is its diesel engine: the 150hp, 236-lb-ft-of-torque EA288. The all-new, turbocharged Clean Diesel 2.0L is up 10 hp compared to the 2014’s engine and achieves a reported 45 mpg on the highway…a gain of 3 mpg compared to the previous year’s TDI.
The seventh-gen Golf also introduces VW’s Modularer Qyerbaukasten, or Modular Transverse Matrix architecture (which, by way of several levels of translated German, simply becomes “MQB” for short), a new chassis structure the company says “gives the new Golf a more upscale appearance while retaining classic design cues from the Mk1 and Mk4 models.” The ’15, while bigger than its predecessors on the inside (increased cargo area, rear-seat legroom and shoulder space), is also longer, wider, and lower than years prior, and it weighs in lighter as well (3,080pounds/six-speed manual and 3,126 pounds/six-speed automatic).
The all-new “A7” Golf TDI hit U.S. dealerships in August 2014. A few weeks before making its debut, we had the pleasure of driving the seventh generation of VW’s best-selling hatchback (in SE trim, MSRP $26,595). The following photos and captions detail our experience driving the Golf through the beautiful country setting of Middleburg, Virginia.
EA288 2.0L Turbodiesel Engine
This is the 2.0L, four-cylinder, direct-injection EA288 engine that’s found under the hood of ’15 Golf TDIs. Sharing nothing design-wise with the previous EA189 engine (with the exception of cylinder-bore spacing), this cast-iron powerplant boasts 150 hp—10 more horsepower than its predecessor—and puts out 236 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharger’s intercooler is incorporated with the intake manifold, which helps create crisp throttle response and lower emissions. The unique, aluminum-alloy cylinder head features camshafts that are integrated into a separate housing, and each variably phased cam operates only two valves per cylinder (intake and exhaust), instead of separate cams that cycle intake valves and exhaust valves independently. With the EA288’s exhaust after-treatment module positioned close to the engine, emissions are reduced by up to 40 percent. The EA288 is the first engine in Volkswagen’s revamped diesel lineup and will be the standard used for all future four-cylinder U.S.-market Volkswagen diesels.
Photo 3/10   |   Vw Tdi Ea288 2 0l
Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: Inline four-cylinder
Power: 150 hp at 3,500 to 4,000 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft at 1,750 to 3,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Fixed turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.19 x 3.76 inches
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automated manual
Photo 4/10   |   2015 Vw Golf


Herndon, VA 20171



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