MotorMartin has been thoroughly enjoying himself counting down the different models of Golf as they have continued to move inexorably towards the very latest design (classic?) which is soon to be revealed to the World. All of which brings us up to 1997, when the Golf MkIV was created under the direction of the Volkswagen Group Head of Design Hartmut Warkuß (1993 to 2003). Volkswagen have shared with MotorMartin, that the fourth generation is considered a style icon – particularly because of its graphic clarity and fundamental C-pillar series design forming a bridge to the 1974 Golf MkI. However, the Golf MkIV was not only pioneering in terms of its looks, it was groundbreaking in its engineering as well. 

Volkswagen say that they achieved a totally new standard of quality in this particular market segment with this car and thus became the first manufacturer to overcome vehicle class boundaries, quite a boast. With the debut of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in the Golf (1998), the car continued to democratise safety. By 2003, 4.99 million units of the Golf MkIV, including all of its derivatives, had been produced which is certainly impressive and further confirmation of the Golf’s truly classless appeal.

For those of you that can’t, or refuse to remember 1997, MotorMartin will fill you in with a few details. This was the year that Robbie Williams was transformed from a teen idol into a worldwide star with the song and slogan “Let me entertain you”; Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio wrote film history with the US premiere of “Titanic”; and Volkswagen presented the fourth generation of the Golf – in terms of design, the purest and clearest yet. 

Hartmut Warkuß informed MotorMartin that, “the Golf is a monument. A car that seamlessly followed in the footsteps of the globally successful Beetle. It made good sense to reinforce the company strategy in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way. It is important to demonstrate a high degree of continuity.” And that’s exactly what Warkuß did with the fourth Golf. 

However, rather surprisingly in MotorMartin’s opinion, nothing was copied from the Golf MkIII. On the contrary, not a single body panel of the entirely redesigned new Golf generation was taken over from its predecessor. The front window is flatter, the rear window is steeper, the roof extends even further back. Even Giorgio Giugiaro, creator of the first Golf design back in 1974, expressed his admiration for the new car: “The genetic material of the Golf is still evident in its fourth generation.” 

The fourth generation Volkswagen Golf, further cemented this incredible car in the hearts and minds of a generation and for that, we really all must be grateful.

Where will you go?

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