The Volkswagen K70 was Volkswagen's first front-wheel-drive vehicle. In 2021 it celebrates its 51st anniversary.
For Volkswagen, the revered and best-selling Volkswagen Golf is a cult object now in its eighth generation. From its inception, it was a new era for the German firm since it was the model that ended up taking it out of economic precariousness.
Many say that the original Golf, designed by Giugiaro, was Volkswagen's first front-wheel-drive vehicle and pioneering the use of water-cooled rather than air-cooled mechanics, such as the boxers and derivative models. But, both titles belong to the Volkswagen K70, which is now 51 years old.
Introduced in October 1970, the Volkswagen K70 hardly remained in production until 1975. As its mechanical configuration was utterly new, a completely new factory had to be created for its manufacture. This car broke with the tradition of rear-wheel drive and an air-cooled engine.
To date, Volkswagen had barely made the Beetle and derivatives, all with air-cooled rear engine and rear-wheel drive. This model was a pioneer that, until the success of the Golf was consummated, did not have a direct replacement: the Volkswagen Passat.
A vehicle packed with novelties.
The Volkswagen K70 wasn't just new to the powertrain and cooling system. However, unlike the early Volkswagens, the K70 used a chassis with independent suspensions and an elongated wheelbase to offer more interior space. In addition, it significantly improved the manoeuvrability and stability of the vehicle.
Its development also brought new features in terms of safety, such as deformable structures controlled in the front and rear in the event of an accident, a more protected fuel tank and seat belts as a standard element.
Its design was carried out by Claus Luthe and showed a large horizontal grill that grouped the primary optics. In this case, they were square, but the integration of the optics was a resource that was later seen in the first generations of the Golf, Polo and Passat.
With all the data on the table, it should be noted the importance of the Volkswagen K70 in the history of the brand and the success it has had since the 1970s. However, the remarkable triumph of the Golf has ended up causing the merit to be I took this one when the technical base was practically identical.
Thus, the brand speaks of three key models in its history. The first, the Beetle, was marketed from 1938 to 2003 in its latest versions produced in Mexico. Its origin dates back to Nazi Germany, as a commission from Hitler himself to an "ordinary" engineer: Ferdinand Porsche.
The town's first car, which gave the brand its name, was for years the best-selling vehicle in history, with total production exceeding 21.5 million units. In 2021 it continued to hold fourth place in history, surpassed only by the Golf, Ford F-Series and Toyota Corolla.
Then we find the Golf, which through its eight generations has built a name and a reputation beyond any doubt. The bet was safe within the compact segment and did a great deal to put the Wolfsburg firm at the top.
Last but not least is the new Volkswagen ID4 electric SUV. It is still early to predict whether it will be a success or a failure, but the firm already places it as the third turning point in the manufacturer's history. Only time will tell if they are right or wrong.