How Golf got bigger but not bland
BERLIN -- Adding a few inches in length, width and height, generation after generation, makes a car roomier, but the added interior comfort usually results in a boring exterior.
Volkswagen used some clever tricks to avoid this dilemma, making the seventh-generation Golf that debuted in Berlin last week longer, wider and sexier than its predecessor.
The Golf looks sportier because it is lower to the ground than its predecessor. VW did this by lowering the car's roofline and its floorpan just over an inch, without affecting the Golf's headroom.
The latest version of Europe's best-selling car will make its public debut at the Paris auto show this month, but won't go on sale in the United States until 2014. It was created under the direction of Walter de' Silva, VW's design chief.
"There is nothing I would change in this Golf," de' Silva told Automotive News Europe at the car's unveiling here last week. "We worked hard on design for over two years, and we found the right direction very early in the process. Since then it has been an endless, almost manic, effort to refine every single detail."
Another quickly noticeable feature about the redesigned Golf is that the sides are clean and simple, something de' Silva said was not easy to achieve.
"Keeping that side view clean was a true battle," he said.
"There was always someone in the company who wanted to add something here or there to reinforce the car's personality, but I fought to protect this simplicity."
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