A collage made up of Golf models throughout the years

Celebrating 50 years of Golf

At Volkswagen, we carry people in our name and in our hearts. 50 years ago, we entered new ground with a car inspired by real life and real people. Since then, more than 37 million have been sold across the eight generations of the vehicle. Join us in celebrating half a century with the Golf, the iconic car that’s as much at the heart of the Volkswagen brand today as it was back when it launched in 1974.

Birth of an icon

At the end of the 1960s, Volkswagen were looking for a successor for the most successful Volkswagen to date, the Beetle. The expectations were high, the new vehicle needed to be stylish and dynamic, but also comfortable and safe, not to mention spacious, yet compact. No easy task. 

 It was an automotive revolution when, in 1974, Volkswagen presented the first Golf. Unlike the Beetle, it had a front-wheel drive and a large boot lid with a folding rear seat backrest which meant the overall concept of the car was variable. 

In addition, the ground-breaking, straight-line design, created by Giorgetto Guigiario helped Volkswagen adopt a completely new style, which continues to this day.

The Golf quickly became a true Volkswagen,” and the first million units were sold as early as 1976. The compact car grew to become the most successful European car in history and the best-selling Volkswagen of all time.


Designed for life

No matter which of the eight generations of the Golf we refer to, the combined secret of success was and still is the sum of all its parts and characteristics. This is because the Golf has always been a perfect companion for everyday life, embodying versatility, functionality, reliability, and quality. 

Over the decades, the portfolio has been expanded to include further variants, such as the Golf GTI and the Golf Cabriolet. With each new model generation, state-of-the-art technologies, safety concepts and convenience features have been introduced into the compact class.

Safety, technology and comfort are not reserved for bigger cars

Throughout its lifespan, the Volkswagen Golf has democratised features such as the monitored catalytic converter and anti-lock braking system, airbags, cruise control and electronic assist systems as well as mild and plug-in drives.

The Golf GTI

You can’t mention Golf and not mention GTI. When first presented at the 1975 International Motor Show, the industry was astonished to see 110 horsepower in such a discreet package.

The sporty saloon with injection technology and a kerb weight of just 810 kilograms offered incredible performance at the time, with a top speed of 182 km/h and acceleration for 0mph to 100km/h in just 9.0 seconds.

The GTI became a cult car from the outset and established the ‘GTI Class’ named after it as the first and most successful, model of a sporty compact car. To this day, the three letters are considered magical in its fan’s community. 

A look back through the icon’s proud history

Future Drive

Golf 2024

2024, Golf’s 50th anniversary year, sees the evolutionary development of the eighth Golf generation, with impressive visually refined features, new assist systems and powertrains, and next-generation infotainment systems and software.

Also new is the intelligent IDA voice assistant with ChatGPT integration. The new Park Assist Pro for remote parking using a smartphone fits into this smart picture. The new plug-in hybrid drives offer extra power and an electric range of around 100 kilometres. The GTI has also become even more powerful. The Golf generation of 2024 is recognisable by its newly designed front with new LED headlights. An illuminated Volkswagen badge in also available as an option for the first time.

Golf 2024 is a pinnacle of Volkswagen engineering, a proud legacy, and a testament to every Golf that has led us to this moment.

A white VW Golf parked in front of a café

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