The 1,471 cc engine managed to provide 50 horsepower, enough for a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 19 seconds and a top speed of 141 km/h (88 mph).
“That were even in the comparison to the gasoline-driven petrol engine considerable values. With high engine speedness had a reason: The Diesel engine in the Golf D was based on the proven petrol engine of the design I/O 827. The block was strengthened only within some ranges structurally and received other pistons as well as a changed cylinder head for the centrifugal chamber injection procedure,” Volkswagen says.
With an average consumption of only 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers (36 mpg) the Golf D was the most economical Diesel passenger vehicle of its time. Some ten thousand cars of the first variant are still on the road today, proving the longevity of the design.
In 1980 Volkswagen improved on the design with a bigger 1.6-liter (1,588 cc) unit capable of delivering 54 hp at 4,800 rpm. The figures became even better in 1982, when turbocharging was added to the mix and the power output was raised from 70 hp.
Just as a reminder, a modern day Golf 1.6 TDI produces 105 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and provides a 0 to 100 km/h time of 11.3 seconds, a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph) and a combined fuel consumption of 3.8-liters per 100 kilometers (61 mpg).