Roadtest: VW Golf Bluemotion

VW Golf BlueMotion-1When talks started of the imminent arrival of the seventh-generation VW Golf last year, we always knew there were going to be a number of ‘must-have’ derivatives: think GTi, GTD etc. But unquestionably, one of the most waited for was the Bluemotion.

Why the Bluemotion: and what, exactly, is it? Bluemotion is VW’s ultra-frugal flag-bearer — similar to Econetic at Ford — which delivers eye-catching, real world fuel figures, and tax-saving CO2 emissions.

Powered by a 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, with 184lb/ft of torque, the Bluemotion’s headline-grabbing figures are combined fuel figures of 88.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 85g/km.

How does it achieve such impressive numbers? Well, in addition to the stop/start and battery regeneration systems fitted as standard to all Golfs, the Bluemotion benefits from a mouthwatering combo of engineering tweaks.

VW Golf BlueMotion-2It’s fitted with ‘super’-low rolling resistance tyres, and aerodynamically it sits 15mm lower than the regular Golf: it’s not just sport versions of cars which can benefit from a lower suspension. And in addition to the frontal area of the car being reduced, it also carries a drag-reducing roof spoiler. Oh, and there’s different underbody panels to improve airflow over and under the car, ‘optimised’ engine and brake cooling systems, and a revised grille.

The Bluemotion also has the advantage of longer gear ratios in a six-speed manual gearbox: this, in turn, is now lubricated by thinner-viscosity to reduce drag on the gears. How’s that for detail?

Available in either three- or five-door form, costing £20,335 and £20,990 respectively, the Bluemotion is, to all intents and purposes, no different to any other model in the excellent Golf range.

VW Golf BlueMotion-4All the positives — easy-to-drive, bulletproof residuals, practicality, solidity, handsome, refined and with a tactile cabin second to none — are carried over into the Bluemotion.

The big question: just how close is it to actually get to the quoted fuel figure of 88.3mpg? On the 40-mile test route in the three-door,  — with sensible driving and no silly, over-the-top attempts at fuel-saving — we achieved 77mpg. Impressive, eh?

Forget those figures, of course, if you’re going to be driving the Golf like a rally car — rapidly and heavily on-off with the accelerator — or transporting another four adults and an overflowing boot.

There are aspects of sheer, simple physics which will contribute to getting anywhere near close to the 88mpg figure. A light right foot; not carrying any excess, unnecessary weight either in the car or boot; and as few occupants as possible will boost the fuel figure.

VW Golf BlueMotion-9cThe reality is, however, that if the former is the type of driving you need to do, then you’d be far better considering the 2.0TDI Golf.

Oh, and don’t think the Bluemotion’s a snail-paced slouch: it isn’t. It’ll hit 124mph, where legal, and cover the 0-62mph sprint in 10.5secs.

Overall, the Golf Bluemotion’s an impressive piece of kit.

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Jim McGill

About 

Jim McGill is an award-winning motoring and motorsport journalist with more than 25 years' industry experience. He contributes to a number of newspapers and magazines, including The Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Scotsman, Sunday Herald and AA Magazine.

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