Volkswagen is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Golf that has more than 30 million vehicles sold from the first all the way to the seventh generation. Aside from the vehicles sold, the German automaker says the Golf has been a pioneer of technological progress.

The first series production of Golf was on March 29, 1974 - the Golf Mk I model. Volkswagen says the said model marked a new era because of the transversely mounted front engine and front-wheel drive. As the successor of the Beetle, the Golf Mk I, designed by Giorgio Giugiaro and Volkswagen Design has to surpass the legacy of the legendary car.

In 1976, Volkswagen introduced the first Golf GTI and the Golf D (powered by a diesel engine). The Gold Cabriolet model was then produced in 1979 which was an open-top car. Moving forward into 1982, the automaker launched the Golf GTD that was designed with a turbodiesel engine.

The Golf continues to develop as it launched the Mk II model in August 1983. With this, Volkswagen says passengers no longer sat quite so close to each other because space was further improved by the automaker. In 1984, the regulated catalytic converter was introduced, the anti-lock braking system and the power-steering in 1986. Also introduced in 1986 was the syncro which opened the option of all-wheel drive in the Golf class.

The third generation of Golf was launched in August 1991. In this generation, Golf was introduced with front airbags and had major advances in the area of car body construction that resulted into improved crash safety. Many new features made their debut in this new Golf: the first six cylinder engine (VR6), cruise control, oxidation catalytic converter for diesel engines (1991), and the first direct injection diesel engines (TDI in 1993).

The evolution of Volkswagen Golf

In 1998, the Golf Mk IV marked the debut of the Electronic Stability Control.  Also in 1998, Volkswagen unveiled the first all-wheel-drive Golf with a Haldex clutch – the Golf 4MOTION. Moving on to the new millennium, The first direct-injection engine (FSI) and the debut of the standard head airbag (window airbags) was introduced in 2002.

The fifth generation of Golf showcased the stability of the laser-welded bodywork that enabled a 35 per cent increase in torsional rigidity. The fifth generation Golf was also available for the first time with side airbags and eight protective buffers on board.

In 2008, the sixth generation of Golf was launched. The Golf BluMotion was among the highlights of the sixth generation. Moreover, the sixth generation features new assistance systems, such as Light Assist automatic main beam management and Park Assist.

September 4, 2012, the Volkswagen seventh generation makes world premiere with reduced weight by up to 100kg. Volkswagen says the fuel economy also improved by 23%. In 2014, the electric powered e-Golf marked the continued development of the model. With this, Volkswagen will soon launch the new Golf GTE.

Over 40 years the Volkswagen Golf made had undergone a series of development as the automaker continues to aspire for evolution and to maintain the success of the model. With this, Volkswagen says the Golf is the most successful model ever built by them.