The Golf 7 is also capable in crashes

2013-07-10 00:00

GOOD news that no GTI owner wants to hear is that the new Golf 7 has now — in two dramatic crashes — proven itself capable of protecting its driver.

The first and most fatal crash happened in Upington in January this year, shortly before the official launch of the Golf 7.

Volkswagen employee Benjamin Werkshage (28) was in a horrific head-on collision with the family car of Raymond Jansen (38) outside Upington in the Northern Cape.

Jansen, who was the head of finances at South African National Parks, died, along with his daughter, Kaitlyn (10).

Passing motorists Fanie and Riaan Bruwer pulled Jansen’s wife, Amanda (40), their children, Kaitlyn and Raymonde, both one, as well as Werkshage, to safety from the burning wreckage. Werkshage, who was alone in the Golf VII, suffered internal injuries and an injury to his shoulder.

Sister paper Volksblad reported that Werkshage had been released on bail of R200 000 on February 7, after being charged with two counts of murder in the Upington court. His trial is on August 7.

In a sobering lesson to all drivers, the Bruwers said on Facebook that Werkshage was driving too fast to make a turn on to the main road when he hit Jansen’s car.

Last week, in a crash at the launch of the Golf 7 GTI on Franschhoek pass in Cape Town last week, Ciro De Siena (27), editor of and presenter of OverdriveTV, had first-hand experience of all the active safety systems of the GTI when a driver of a bakkie made a sudden turn in front of the GTI, in which he was a passenger.

The Golf collided with the side of the bakkie and the force of the impact flipped the bakkie onto its side and spun the Golf around until it came to a halt in a ditch next to the road.

De Siena tweeted: “What a day at the office. I was passenger. And now I can tell you what being punched by an airbag feels like.” When the dust had settled, he realised all three people involved in the crash were all right.

“I walked away without injuries from an ugly crash,” he told sister paper Die Burger.

Witness Motoring did not experience such drama but drove the new Golf GTI without incident, finding it to be both a comfortable commuter and a very able sprinter that delivered 10 km/l fuel consumption even at high speed. The 2,0-litre STI engine makes magic with 350 Nm from 1 500 to 4 400 rpm to propel the GTI car in 5 seconds from 80 to 120 km/h. The active front differential system uses computer wizardry to eliminate any torque steer and can easily be set to add an extra wriggle around corners.

Matt Gennrich, general manager for Communications at Volkswagen Group SA, said the only real competition for the new GTI was the Ford Focus ST3, which sells from R363 300 with a 2-litre generating 360 Newton metres.

By comparison, the Golf 7 GTI costs from R368 300 to R382 800, depending on the bells and whistles inside. 

VW aims to sell about 250 GTIs per month. With its safety record and ability to be both a mom’s taxi and dad’s darling, sales of the new seven may yet surprise all.

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