No electronics diet for the new Volkswagen Golf

August 30, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the first week of September, Volkswagen will roll out its new Golf model, the generation seven. While the designers went to great lengths to reduce the overall weight, this does not apply to the electronic equipment. Te vehicle – or at least the options list - is packed with electronic controls, driving assistants and a new infotainment generation.

In a time when the entire automotive industry is in 'intensive search' mode for the new holy grail – the fuel efficiency – it is interesting to see how newly designed volume vehicles perform. And with weight being the key to better fuel efficiency, the designers of the new Golf at least did not continue the old path of adding more weight with every new generation. The Golf VII is as much as 100 kg lighter than its predecessor.

The weight reduction however goes at the account of optimized cell design and mechanical details at the first place. The electronic equipment made just minor contributions to Volkswagen's new dietary strategy. The weight of the entire electric equipment just shrunk by a mere 6 kg, Volkswagen said. This includes the cable harness, typically the second heaviest part in a car after the engine. The HVAC added another 2.7kg to the reduction.

It would have been difficult anyway to apply the overall weight reduction diet also to the electronics compartment. The compact car comes with many electronic bells and whistles formerly seen only in vehicles at least one class higher on the automotive prestige scale. For instance, a host of assistant systems makes the driver's life easier (at least as long as they work properly). The list includes an fatigue sensor, a safety brake assistant with so called City Emergency Brake function which automatically performs an emergency brake down to a speed of zero kmph, and the new post-crash brake system recently introduced by supplier Continental which is designed to avoid multiple collisions as a consequence of an accident (see  Automatic post-crash braking technology reduces risk of secondary accidents ). While some of the assistant systems sit on the options list, this safety feature comes as a standard, Volkswagen says.

The car also features a new infotainment system with touchscreen sizes between 5 and 8 inches. Volkswagen will offer a handful of