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A new VW Golf swings into Singapore

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The new Golf's arrival comes at a crucial time for Volkswagen.

Singapore

A FACELIFTED version of the Volkswagen Golf goes on sale on Saturday, with three models forming the line up. They have been given a mild makeover on the surface, but come with new infotainment systems and more oomph under the bonnet.

The range-topping Golf R (priced at S$211,900 inclusive of Certificate Of Entitlement), has a 290 horsepower (hp) engine with a new seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox. The iconic Golf GTI (S$175,900) now has 230 hp and has gained such features as a radar-based blind spot monitoring system, and an infortainment system that can be controlled by a companion smartphone app.

At the more quotidian end of the market, there is a new Golf 1.0 TSI (S$105,900). Its 1.0-litre engine supplants the 1.2-litre engine that powered the most basic Golf in the past. Although smaller and more fuel efficient, the new engine produces more torque for better acceleration - the 1.0 TSI hits 100km/h in 9.9 seconds, or 0.3 seconds more quickly than the 1.2 TSI.

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The new Golf's arrival comes at a crucial time for Volkswagen. The brand recently discontinued the Jetta, a popular saloon that made up more than one-third of its total sales here. VW risks losing customers to other brands unless the new Golf can fill that hole in its line-up.

It's a task it was designed for. "The Golf is the essence of Volkswagen," says Ricky Tay, the managing director of Volkswagen Group Singapore.

For the Golf, being an ambassador for its own maker is par for the course.