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You might assume the e-Golf - the first Golf to do without an internal combustion engine - to be less efficient than a designed-as-an-EV-from-the-ground-up car like, say, the Nissan Leaf. The VW, after all, was designed with an old-school, hydrocarbon-popping engine in its nose, then retro-fitted for all-electric service. But that would be to underestimate the mildly terrifying genius of VW’s now-ubiquitous MQB architecture. See, MQB had electric plumbed in from the very beginning: the MkVII Golf was designed from the off as both conventionally engined hatch and electric car. It rolls down the same production line as the diesels and petrols, the car designed to incorporate a battery and e-motor as neatly as a fuel tank and four-pot. The e-Golf’s battery pack - a 24.2kWh lithium-ion effort, its power fed to the front wheels through a 114bhp electric motor - is finagled away beneath the rear passengers’ feet, impacting on neither legroom nor luggage space. It’s slippier than a normal Golf, too, with a drag coefficient of just 0.28Cd.
All of which means, according to VW, a car that’s 30 per cent more energy-efficient than a Nissan Leaf; one that, if not quite suitable for the Carlisle-to-London commuter, is a realistic week-to-week prospect for most of us, most of the time. VW reckons you’ll get 118 miles from a charge. In a mix of passably sensible urban and dual-carriageway stuff, we managed around 100 miles. Crank up the aircon and try a triple-digit autobahn charge, and you can halve that figure.
Officially, the e-Golf takes just over 10 seconds to reach 62mph, and will top out just 25mph above that. Thankfully, in real-world, around-town driving, the Golf feels quicker. There’s a fabulous slug of torque from standstill, while VW boasts its electric drivetrain will turn your twitch of right foot into torque at the wheels five times faster than a conventional petrol engine. Which equates to seriously pokey responses: spot a gap, prod accelerator, be there. It’s not quite driving as we know it, but it’s rather addictive all the same. Beyond that, the e-Golf feels like… a Golf: smartly built, good to drive, yet wonderfully quiet. It doesn’t make the same statement as the i3’s space-age aesthetic, but the e-Golf is still every bit as convincing.
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