Volkswagen Golf GLS
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
Considered by many to be the definitive small hatchback,
the Mark 1 Golf was a definitive success on the market
place both here in Australia and overseas. Powered
by an all-alloy, single overhead cam 1.6 litre four-cylinder
engine that was, for the time, rather large for the
size of the car, the Golf was a good performer.
a healthy 53 kW at 5600 rpm and 119 Nm of torque,
the Volkswagen engine was arguably the least affected
by the Australian emission control regulations. Transversely
mounted, it drove the front wheels through the integral
differential and gearbox unit.
At the time, the Golf’s
engine and gearbox layout was state of the art, minimising
engine/ drive train space to help maximise passenger
and luggage space. The GLS was available as either
a four-speed manual or as a three-speed automatic.
was by MacPherson struts while the
was through a torsion beam axle with
coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers.
the Golf was basically a sensible family car with lots
of room for its size and moderate fuel usage, what
really made it special was that it was also a driver's
car, affording a great ride, ample performance and
an engine that proved highly tractable. The Golf would
accelerate to the 100 km/h speed limit in 12 seconds,
and covered the standing start 400 metres in 18.5 seconds.
Top speed was a strong 165 km/h, and as such it had
enough performance to shame many six-cylinder family
cars around at the time. Coupled with this good straight-line
performance, the Golf GLS was also an excellent handler
and a delight to drive fast. Hard cornering would provoke
the mildest of under-steer, but the front end could
be brought back into line by lifting off the throttle
just a tad.
The front disc brakes
and rear drums
were servo-assisted, and the rear brake pressure
was controlled by a limiting valve that helped prevent
rear wheel lock-up.
The attractive, functional, and aerodynamically
-sound body was designed by the Italian
Giugiaro, more noted for his work with Alfa Romeo.
It was available in either three-door or five-door
configuration, the latter fitted with a hatchback that
lifted on hydraulic struts to give access to a large
0.35 cubic metres of storage space.
of the car was even further enhanced by its ability
to drop the rear seat to extend the load carrying space
to 1.08 cubic metres.
Some criticism was leveled at
the Golf for its rather spartan interior and hard ride,
but these were both typical attributes of German cars
and reflected the German philosophy of car building.
Overall the Golf was an energy-efficient and space-efficient
design that won the hearts of countless thousands of
happy owners throughout the world, and set the way
for the Golf to continue as Volkswagens best seller
to this day.