The most economical Golf of its time returned a combined fuel economy of 6.5 lt /100km, equal to 36.2 mpg US and was able to complete the 0-100km/h (62mph) sprint in 19 seconds while reaching a top speed of 141 km/h (88 mph).
Over the years the Volkswagen Group invested in this particular engine technology and today, buyers of the current, sixth generation of the Golf can choose from a variety of diesel powerplants ranging in output from 105HP to 170HP. And the results are quite impressive when you compare the original Golf D from 1976 to its modern day successors.
Despite the fact that the Golf Mk6 has grown significantly in size (3,705mm / 145.9 in. versus 4,199mm 165.3 in. long) and become far more safe and much better equipped than its forefather, whichever diesel version you pick, it’s faster and more fuel efficient than the original Golf D.
The pin-up child of the current range of diesel-powered Golfs is the Bluemotion that is equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged unit producing 105-horses at 4,400 rpm and 250Nm (184.4 lb-ft) between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. It returns a combined fuel economy of just 3.8 lt/100km (99 g/km CO2), equal to 61.9 mpg US (3.4lt/100km or 69.2 mpg US on the highway), while completing the 0-100km/h (62mph) sprint in 10.9 seconds. Top speed is rated at 190km/h (118mph).
For those willing to sacrifice some fuel efficiency in favor of increased performance, VW offers the Golf GTD, which is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo diesel pushing out 170 ponies at 4,200 rpm and 350Nm (258 lb-ft) between 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. When equipped with a 6sp manual, the 2011MY Golf GTD goes from 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds en route to a top speed of 222 km/h (138 mph), while returning a combine fuel economy of 5.1 lt/100km (139 g/km CO2), equal to 46.2 mpg US.