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VOLKSWAGEN’S new Golf – unveiled to the world this evening – will ‘talk’ to other vehicles in what is viewed as a significant advance on safety and traffic technology in smaller family cars.

These are the first official pictures of the new Golf – the eighth generation – being launched in Wolfsburg, where it has been built for 45 years.

Due in Ireland in March, it is the first Volkswagen with Car2X communication fitted as standard. Car2X lets vehicle systems communicate or ‘talk’ directly with each other and their surroundings so they can warn of hazards and traffic conditions. It is made possible by what they call ‘swarm intelligence’ from traffic via Car2X and can signal trouble from up to 800 metres away. Drivers are notified on a special display.

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It is part and package of a new car which they say is digitalised, connected and more intuitive to use and drive. Virtually all displays and controls are digital.

That partly explains why the automaker is claiming the Golf is making the ‘greatest leap forward’ since its debut more than 45 years ago by bringing elements of premium motors into the small-family market.

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There has always been a huge Golf following in Ireland. Indeed, it is estimated that as many as one-in-five small-family hatchbacks on our roads bears the Golf name. So thousands of owners could be interested to see what lies in store with this new-era version.

Irish trim lines will be called Golf, Life and Style, R-Line while standard spec will include LED headlights/tail lights, keyless start, digital cockpit, We Connect, We Connect Plus mobile online services and functions, automatic air con, Lane Assist, turn-off assist and front assist.

Volkswagen said at the launch that there will be two plug-in hybrids, three ‘mild hybrids’, two conventional petrols and two diesels.

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The plug-ins include a 204hp model and a sporty GTE (245hp). Both debut a new 13 kWh lithium-ion battery they claim allows a pure electric driving range of up to 60km – temporarily turning the car into a zero-emissions vehicle.

The mild hybrids (48v lithium-ion battery) in the three eTSI versions develop 110hp, 130hp and 150hp.

The petrol and diesel powerplants cut consumption by up to 17pc, Volkswagen say. There are two 4cyl petrols (90hp, 110hp) and two 4cyl diesels 115hp, 150hp.

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The have really gone all out to slash NOx in the diesels by using twin-dosing technology (two SCR catalytic converters) to reduce the emissions of dangerous gas emissions by up to 80pc further.

There will be eight versions, with the 1.0 TSI 110hp Evo being the main-selling petrol and the 2.0 TDI 115hp doing the diesel honours.

And so a new Golf era begins . . .

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