The new Volkswagen Golf GTI is on its way. These are the first images of the full-bodied Mk VII Golf, proving that it's on track for a 2012 launch.
Unlike previous spy pictures, these were taken in the US and give much more away in terms of design and detail. Looking lower and longer than the current Golf, this is the first time Volkswagen has used optical camouflage together with some extra black masking over the front and rear. This indicates the next Golf will get some big design changes.
Slated to ride on the new, more versatile MQB chassis platform, our pictures show two distinct prototypes: a three-door Golf GTI and a standard five-door version.
The prototypes left the garage together with a benchmarking Audi S3, indicating what we can expect in terms of performance from the GTI variant.
The three-door GTI pictured features big wheels and twin chrome exhausts. On the inside, it's likely tostick with the traditional hallmark features of the performance model withas sports seatsas well as the very latest sat-nav system.
A wide range of TSI supercharged and turbocharged editions will be offered, including a flagship 2.0-litre producing a storming 300bhp for the Golf R, and an efficient 65bhp 1.2-litre engine capable of returning 70mpg. Volkwagen is also planning a 100mpg plug-in hybrid, as well as an all-electric version, called the e_BlueMotion.
Diesel engines will include 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI offerings. As standard, entry-level cars will drive the front wheels through a six speed manual gearbox, while flagship machines are tipped to offer the firm's seven-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox. Four-wheel-drive will be available on the most powerful cars.
According to our reports, the new Golf is primed to appear at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012, before going on sale in October.