It was only a few short days ago that MotorMartin was looking at the second generation Golf and discussing how it had changed over the previous edition in the posting, News: COUNTDOWN FOR THE GOLF UPDATE IN NOVEMBER: THE SECOND GOLF – THE DNA OF A WORLDWIDE SUCCESS STORY and so it was no real surprise that Volkswagen shared with MotorMartin information regarding their MkIII as their countdown to the latest Golf update continues. The third Golf came onto the market in August, a quite incredible 25 years ago. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear: Volkswagen ushered in a new era of safety with this model with some innovative new ways of thinking. On the one hand, the Golf MkIII was the first of the series to have front airbags, starting in 1992, while major advances in car body construction, Volkswagen have confirmed to MotorMartin, also resulted in significantly improved crash safety. The third generation, however, also made a great design leap: it was the first Golf with a wedge shape that was as dynamic as it was aerodynamic. 

Volkswagen have explained to MotorMartin that the roots of the Golf MkIII date all the way back to 1985. While Mikhail Gorbachev was taking over leadership at the Kremlin in Moscow, and 17- year-old Boris Becker was sweeping his opponent from the court in the final at Wimbledon, in Wolfsburg the development of the third Golf was officially launched. In February 1987, Chief Designer Herbert Schäfer submits nine different models of the next Golf to the Board. In the ensuing months, the results are discussed and further refined until the very best design emerged in December and it could move beyond the drawing board and so in 1991 the Golf MkIII is ready for series production. 

Herbert Schäfer explained to MotorMartin that: “In the first step from Golf MkI to MkII we made the car bigger, provided more powerful engines, and improved its handling. In the third generation, design now takes precedence. We have found a look that typifies the Golf: it radiates quality and safety.”

Thanks to the significantly wider track, Volkswagen say, the car has a powerful stance on the road and, as opposed to the previous generation, the wheels are flush with the aerodynamically styled vehicle body offering a drag coefficient 0.30. Impressive.

Although no detail, shape or radius was taken from its predecessor, this is clearly a Golf. Volkswagen’s customers clearly thought so as the MkIII went on to sell 4.83 million before its next regeneration. 

Volkswagen have shared the following short film with MotorMartin from their excellent YouTube channel which highlights a lot of the thinking behind the updates that the MkIII received all those years ago.

product film Golf MkIII:

Keep checking back on for the next post in this short series taking us through the evolution of the timeless Volkswagen Golf.

Where will you go?

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