There used to be a conflict. Many drivers have now understood the strong benefits of all wheel drive, especially during winter, but green-minded people and hypermilers disliked it because of the higher fuel consumption coming from the added weight and extra transmission losses. Engineers must find a technology to minimize the fuel penalty, and it looks like they did it. This new Golf 4Motion is not a full time 4WD. It has the Haldex system which is now in its fifth generation, and it’s lighter, faster and better than ever before.
In straightforward driving conditions, the Golf 4Motion is front-driven but in an extreme situation, up to 100% of the power can be diverted to the rear wheels. And all that in less than one second. This is a formidable safety asset for anyone driving several months of the year in poor weather.
The Volkswagen Golf 4Motion is intended for European markets, and it’s only available with diesel engines. A 105-hp 1.6-liter or a 150-hp 2-liter with fuel economy down by about 15% compared to the standard Golf. Some city dwellers will find it high, but people living in the mountains will see it as a very small price to pay for the added safety and drivability. The Golf 4Motion asks for a €1,800 premium in Germany.