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First Drive: Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI BlueMotion 5dr

£22,305 when new

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I have inadvertently clicked on this link, and now I’m trapped.

Then you will be forced to sit through a few moments of mind-bendingly astonishing statistical revelations about the brand new Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion. But, to make it more palatable, I will introduce zombies.

Who doesn’t love zombies?

Quite. But, should the world be overcome by hordes of the ravenous undead, this Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion is probably your best bet. We’re going on the completely untested assumption that these limb-dragging irritants will be drawn to petrol station forecourts, enticed by the 3 for 2 deals on packets of Marvels and Skittles. And if there’s one thing this new Volkswagen Bluemotion hates, it’s petrol station forecourts.


It can claim some pretty impressive numbers. It emits just 85g/km of CO2 (where the original, 2007 Golf Bluemotion emitted 119g/km), but returns a whopping 88.2mpg on the combined cycle. Obviously, that’s a Volkswagen claim, but with a 50-litre tank, there’s the theoretical possibility of a trip from London to Le Mans and back on a single tank, with some fuel to spare.

That’s over 900 miles on a single tank!

Correctomundo. Naturally, we couldn’t achieve 88.2mpg on our short test drive, but through a mixture of roads and ‘normal’ driving, we still managed to hit over 70mpg, and all the while the figure was increasing. Drive it carefully, and you’ll forget what forecourts look like.

How is this witchcraft possible?

Zombie-craft, you mean? Well, the new 1.6-litre TDI (EA 288) has been fitted with low friction piston rings and low friction bearings on the camshaft, a quicker warm-up phase, exhaust gas recirculation, a cylinder pressure sensor, two-stage oil pump and a water-cooled intercooler nestled inside the intake. Even the manual six-speed gearbox has been modified: there’s a longer 6th gear, and low viscosity oil.

Then there’s stop/start, low rolling resistance tyres, lower suspension (by 15mm), some optimised airflow, and a rear spoiler.

OK, this might not be scintillating, but it is interesting. Basically, through a few tweaks and some old school tuning, the Golf Bluemotion is a very frugal thing. And the most interesting part about all of this is… it drives just like a Golf. Not an eco Golf. Sure, the 1.6-litre TDI was a bit grumbly on hard acceleration, but otherwise it felt very flexible, capable and once up to speed, refined. You hardly notice it’s there, which is good when evading hordes of Zombies.

But wouldn’t a faster car be better at evading hordes of Zombies?

True. A Lamborghini Aventador Roadster would certainly get you out of trouble quicker, because this Bluemotion Golf takes 10.5 seconds to go from 0-62mph, and will top out at 124mph. But, in town, it never feels underpowered nor gutless, and is punchy enough for overtakes and so forth. Honestly, it’s a great little motor. Underneath of course, it’s the same excellent MQB chassis, so normal Golf rules apply - lovely ride comfort, nice progressive steering, a bit handy through corners and hewn from rock. The interior doesn’t whiff of eco either.

Should I buy one?

Depends. If you’re after a V12-powered performance machine, then probably not. But if you are after a frugal, family hatchback that’s a faithful companion, then yes. It’s like a big, friendly dog, only with less drool and hair.

The numbers

1598cc, 4cyl, FWD, 108bhp, 184lb ft, 88.2mpg, 85g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds, 124mph, 1265kg, £20,355

What do you think?

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