Volkswagen will plenty of new products to show at this year's Paris Auto Show in September. And all of them are based on its new MQB global platform for front wheel drive cars.
First up, the third generation SEAT Leon. With it's sharp angles inside and out, it might just be the best looking Seat since the company was fully acquired by the Volkswagen group in 1990. The interior, in particular, shows a strong Audi influence. Audi has been very successful in mirroring shapes and motifs between exteriors and interiors since the 1999 Audi TT. With the Leon, the angles of the all LED headlamps and taillights are reprised in the interior dash and vent angles. It's really well done.
But alas, SEATs are not sold in North America (nor are Skodas, which will have a similar MQB offereing soon). So Volkswagen fans and enthusiasts who want the newest German front wheel drive hatchback experience must wait for the Mark VII Golf. Fortunately, the wait is over. Production of the Mk7 begins next month in Puebla, Mexico, Wolfsburg, Germany, and other plants worldwide.
The 2013 Golf Mk7
In a cost cutting move, it seems entry level models will feature a torsion beam rear suspension. But since the MQB platform is designed to accommodate multiple suspension systems, premium models will ride on superior multilink rear suspensions.
I have driven both the Mk5 and Mk6 Golf, and I appreciate its smoothness and active safety features (namely electronic stability control, which intrudes at almost every turn, much like my Hyundai Elantra Touring). I have hopes that the MQB platform will continue to grow, because I really want to see Volkswagen build the next Bulli microvan.