From revolutionary to bestseller: let’s look at the eight coolest models of the eight generations of the famous car, after which an entire class of cars was named. Yes, we are talking, as you have already understood, of course, about the legend of the German car industry – Volkswagen GOLF.

From the past to the future, from the GOLF 1 to the GOLF 7. Let’s even take a look at the GOLF 8th generation!

45 years ago, the first VW GOLF rolled off the assembly line, almost immediately giving its name to an entire class of vehicles. Today it has become the crown jewel of Europe’s largest automaker.

When the cross-mounted, front-wheel-drive, water-cooled model appeared back in 1974, it was a breakthrough, instantly pushing the outdated Beetle to the shelf of history.

At that point, Volkswagen was at a crossroads, and things were not going very well. But then the engineers created such a great lifeline… and it was on!

Over the decades of evolution, new shapes, new engines, new transmissions and new model variants have been added, but what has remained constant is the success of the model.

VW GOLF 1: a million in two years

Volkswagen took a radical, revolutionary approach with the 1st generation GOLF. The new car got the architecture with a transverse arrangement of the engine at the front, front-wheel drive and water cooling. It looks simple and ordinary now, but in those years, without exaggeration, it was a real revolution in the automotive field.

After only two years, more than one million cars of this class have been produced, which speaks to the excellent production process.

In 1976, the first sporty version – GTI – appeared. In 1979, another bestseller for countries with hot climates came off the assembly line – a convertible.

Such variety even now is a wonder, but 40 years ago it was. If you want – take it!

An amazing approach to promoting the product and expanding the variability within the model. You can’t even find that today, even with VW.

VW GOLF 2: luxury and durability

In the summer of 1983 the model was replaced by the GOLF 2. The model was logically redesigned, becoming modern, in keeping with the madness of the ’80s. More plastic, more sport, more lightweight dodgers.

Conveniences have been added, too. Inside, there is more space for passengers and a refined variety of model styles. In addition to diesel, turbo- diesel and all-wheel-drive versions of the model, prototypes with electric drive also appeared on the road for the first time. Although the concept did not go further (we repeat, it was the 80s).

Compared to its predecessor, the GOLF 2 was much more luxurious and comfortable. The second model sold even better than its predecessor. By then, the public had only just tasted the series’ incredible longevity: thanks to its good build quality and exemplary rust protection, the GOLF 2 is still part of the urban landscape decades after production ended.

And okay in Germany. In Russia, with our salty winters in metropolitan areas “GOLFs” with round headlights can still be found and feel much better than many foreign cars of the 90’s and even early 2000’s.

VW GOLF 3: the first GOLF with an airbag

In 1991 the GOLF 3 appeared on the market. And it became more modern, but it did not leave its ancestors. It remained recognizable and desirable. The style has finally consolidated, and Volkswagen will never turn away from it, as long as generations of the model are alive.

It has continued to grow in breadth and expand inside, but now it has begun to add new safety standards: for the first time there is a GOLF with an airbag. Until now, the characteristic round headlights have been squeezed in for the lights in a rounded rectangle format.

The lineup expanded again: the GOLF 3 was a station wagon for the first time, a sportsman with a six-cylinder engine, and a direct-injection diesel began to be offered for the economy pedants.

VW GOLF 4: Six-speed transmission as the new standard

The GOLF 4 is not without reason – it’s a charged R model32.

In 1997, a new generation of GOLF 4 is at the launch. “The four crossed the Rubicon of class and set a new standard of quality. The first generation GOLF of the new generation was available with a six-speed transmission, the engine power was increased, increased significantly.

The special model “25 Years GTI” is made in a variation of 180 hp. The R32 with its 241 hp engine appears. All in all, just under 250 units were produced. The Unicum became the fastest production GOLF in history.

VW GOLF 5: laser welding and more variety

2003. The time of the GOLF 4 is coming to an end, and the GOLF 5 follows. Laser welding is now a Volkswagen theme. The body panel joining technique has made the new GOLF extremely torsionally rigid.

It was on the fifth generation that the GOLF broke the barrier of 20 million copies. It also met high safety standards. For example, there were up to eight airbags on board.

The GTI sporty came with the first direct-injection gasoline engine, but also with a turbocharger. The model range has expanded: new variants are the GOLF Plus, the Cross GOLF and the new Variant wagon.

VW GOLF 6: economical, but with timing chain problems

Infamous chapter: there were problems with the TSI GOLF 6 engines with the timing chain.

In 2008 it was time for the GOLF 6. It strengthened its quality standards and achieved a five in the EuroNCAP crash test with its laser-welded body. The switch to direct injection made the consumption even lower.

But here’s the trouble – with the TSI engines there were problems with the timing chain. The reputation was tarnished, and VW was forced to solve problems with cars over six years old.

VW switched from pump-injector technology to Common Rail in turbo diesels, which has reduced fuel consumption here as well, with improved dynamics.

VW GOLF 7: a modular platform at the core

In the fall of 2012, the GOLF celebrated its 7th premiere. The seventh GOLF is based on a modular cross-platform architecture, which ensures lower production costs for the models in the range.

For the first time, the new generation sheds up to 100 kg of weight compared to its predecessor. Of course, the weight very much depended on the configuration. The Start/Stop system also came in for even greater economy.

In addition to gasoline and diesel, an electric-powered variant (this time a production model) appeared in the summer of 2014, and a plug-in hybrid in the fall.

VW GOLF 7 Facelift: the first compact car with gesture control

In the fall of 2016, VW revised the GOLF 7 and in early 2017 released the updated GOLF 7 for two- and four-door versions, as well as the GOLF GTI, GOLF GTE and GOLF Variant.

On board was an innovation previously seen only in luxury BMWs: gesture control for the infotainment system.

New to the GOLF’s drive list is a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with cylinder deactivation technology and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG), which has consistently replaced all earlier generation six-speed DSGs. Not much has changed on the outside. In the new GOLF, fully LED headlights have replaced the xenon lights, but for now they are standard only in the more expensive models.

VW GOLF 8: digital dashboard and autonomous driving

A GOLF 8 with a new logo and more new high-tech is expected in late 2019 or early 2020.

By 2020 there will be a new generation of GOLF. The eighth generation GOLF will be technically very different from its predecessors for the umpteenth time, but the design remains familiar to every fan of the brand.

In the new generation, the VW logo has been revised. Although the GOLF 8 is built on a single but slightly modified “MQB Evo” platform, it will offer many

new features compared to the current model: an extra-large head-up display, a completely new infotainment system with voice control and personalization options, and the car’s Level 3 autonomous driving.

There are also some technical issues that are currently forcing VW to postpone the planned launch of the GOLF 8 until late 2019 or early 2020. In addition to a mild hybrid with a 48-volt electric system, VW plans, of course, top-of-the-line versions. The GTI should get 245 hp, 300 hp, and the R-ka even 330 horses.