The forward bulkhead has been re-engineered to isolate practically all engine sound during normal driving time. Hit the throttle a bit and just enough sound comes through to let you know you're having fun, but the sound deadening versus the Golf V is like sitting in a totally different car. This is due mainly to this three-layer, heavily sealed bulkhead structure. Another significant player in the sound killing is a new material-generic term "slush"-that's tailored into all echo-prone parts of the body, works twice as well as the old materials, and adds only 2.2 pounds to the new car versus the Golf V stuffing. I twice suffered the indignity of the entire engineering squad guffawing at me as I twice tried to start an already running Golf VI. It's that quiet at idle.

While the basic sheetmetal of the laser-welded unibody construction is identical to that of the Golf V, on the A6 model rigidity has been added selectively only at the highest stress points of the cage structure. Model for model, the A6 Golf weighs 25 pounds less than the A5 generation. Sitting inside the VI, however, all of the bass and baritone (alto for the ladies) tones come out while you speak and there's no metallic echo, while in the V the econo-car high metal echoes abound.

Suspended Animation
When Volkswagen AG back in 2003 introduced us to the A5-generation Golf at a Wolfsburg event, I couldn't help but notice the fully re-engineered rear axle and multi-link suspension scheme more or less inspired by the range-topping Phaeton. Overnight, it seemed, we forgot all about the Golf IV and its independent setup with torsion beam; dynamics had improved just that much.

Having now driven to the limits, over 500 miles, this A6-generation 2009 Golf with the Twincharger engine, DSG, and DCC, it's clear to me that Volkswagen has performed a lot of detailed and often small changes on a chassis which is essentially the same as that of the A5 Golf. The overall feel of the A6-generation's drive and dynamics-particularly when equipped with the optional DCC suspension, of course, but also with the standard springs and dampers-has been altered.

Actual calibrations on the springs, anti-roll bars, and multi-link structure remain identical to those on the A5 Golf. Front springs still read a density figure of 23 N/mm, while rear springs read 26 N/mm. As to the anti-roll bar rigidity, in front the figure remains 38 N/mm and in back 15.7 N/mm. According to lead suspension engineer Ulrich Sonnak, what has changed on the standard setup are bushing densities all around, as well as fluid flow rates on the dampers. Short of giving hard numbers on bushing density or flow rate, the aim, says Sonnak, "is to make the overall ride just a little more comfortable than on the A5 Golf standard suspension." In other words, the VW premium compact revolution instigated by the A5's rear multilink structure goes one step further in the A6 with fine tuning of the bushings and dampers.

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