[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he third Golf came onto the market in August 25 years ago. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear: Volkswagen ushered in a new era of safety with this model.
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 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.
Retrospective: The roots of the Golf MkIII date 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.
In 1991 the Golf MkIII is ready for series production. Herbert Schäfer: “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 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 (drag coefficient 0.30).
Although no detail, shape or radius was taken from its predecessor, this is clearly a Golf. The MkIII goes on to sell 4.83 million before its next regeneration.
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