not too bad actually.. IRVINE, CA - For 2005, Volkswagen introduces an all-new Golf and GTI, bigger and more refined than any previous Golf in almost every respect. Already tooling around the streets of Europe, the sporty GTI will land first in the U.S. late in 2004 while the Golf will go on sale in the spring of 2005. As with the current Golf, it will be available in three- or five-door hatchback configurations. Heading up the list of changes to the 2005 Volkswagen Golf is exterior design. Overall length increases by 2.3 inches, it's wider by one inch and it's taller by 1.5 inches. These stretched dimensions should make even more spacious a car that's already renowned for its generous headroom and cargo space. In terms of styling, the 2005 VW Golf isn't dramatically different from the previous generation, following the familiar two-box template laid down decades ago. The rear is as boxy as ever, but the hood is more steeply sloped to create a wedge-like profile. Creases on either side of the bonnet follow the lines of the clear-lens headlamps to add character and flair. Underneath the sheetmetal, an all-new suspension with a strut-type front and multilink rear layout combined with electromechanical steering is touted to provide the 2005 Volkswagen Golf with much more responsive and athletic handling than its predecessor. Drivers will rejoice in the 80 percent increase in torsional rigidity, making the new Golf and GTI stiff, responsive and less susceptible to cabin creaks and groans. Specifications for the North American lineup of engines have not been officially released, but we expect a 1.9-liter turbodiesel inline four-cylinder engine making about 105 horsepower and a 2.5-liter powerplant producing around 150 horsepower for the 2005 Volkswagen Golf. Euro-spec transmissions include a five- or six-speed manual, or a six-speed automatic transmission. We should also see the introduction of Volkswagen's Direct Selection Gearbox (DSG), which eliminates gear change jolts to provide a more refined driving character. Fifteen-inch wheels will come standard, but 16- and 17-inch wheels are options. The 2005 Volkswagen GTI sports a tauter suspension, meatier tires and wheels, and a 200-horsepower turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter engine. Unique exterior styling cues will provide greater distinction between the sporty GTI and the regular Golf, and the interior is likely to include thicker seat bolsters and special trim. Other features include stability control, power lumbar seat adjustment, automatic climate control and a navigation system. The 2005 Volkswagen Golf will start at a base price of about $17,000 and is likely to cost as much as $25,000 with every option, which just undercuts the price range of another premium German hatchback, the Mercedes-Benz C-Coupe, and runs a couple grand higher than the new 2004 Mazda 3.