Volkswagen UK says that the new Golf has got off to a flying start in the UK, exceeding sales expectations while collecting top awards along the way.

Yesterday, Jeremy Clarkson and editor Michael Harvey at the BBC Top Gear Magazine Awards 2004 in London presented the new Golf with the title of 'Best Hatch'. This, says Volkswagen, follows the new Golf's victory at What Car? magazine's Car of the Year Awards 2004 earlier this year.

Volkswagen adds that new Golf orders are currently running at around 20 per cent above target. As supply builds and new variants join the range - these include the 2.0 SDI, 2.0 TDI with DSG gearbox, plus three-door models - sales are projected to increase further, says Volkswagen.

Volkswagen points out that UK sales of the few remaining Mk IV models were also very strong in January and February which, when combined with early sales of the new model, have made the first two months of 2004 'the best YTD figure for the Golf so far'.

Volkswagen adds that the Golf performance in the UK marketplace is all the more remarkable because the GTI variant is not due to arrive until the end of this year.