The Volkswagen Golf GTI is often described as the original hot hatch, having helped launch the segment with the original Mk1 back in 1975 and offering more hits than misses throughout the generations since.
Next year Volkswagen is expected to update the current Mk7 Golf range and the GTI along with it. But that won't be a signal to 'down tools' for VW engineers; they are already reported to be busy working behind the scenes on an all-new Mk8 replacement, which should surface in 2019.
To address concerns that the current GTI lacks power compared to newer and more powerful opposition like the Honda Civic Type R, the Mk8 will lift outputs well beyond the current 162kW and 169kW GTI and GTI Performance.
According to British mag Auto Express, a new three-model range will see the base GTI expected to produce somewhere in the vicinity of 190Kw, while the more sporting GTI Performance should deliver close to 220kW.
At the top of the tree, a more track-focused GTI ClubSport will push out an expected 240kW, surpassing even the current Golf R. The classic GTI front wheel drive setup should remain for all models however.
Buyers will be offered a choice of six-speed manual, or a newly developed ten-speed DSG automatic.
Similar in weight and size to the current seven-speed DSG, the new gearbox is designed to handle up to 550Nm of torque while delivering improvements to fuel consumption and emissions.
At introduction, this new transmission will likely be reserved for GTI and Golf R models.
Beneath the skin, Volkswagen’s ubiquitous MQB platform will continue to underpin the Golf, with revisions focused on reducing weight - again for the benefit of improved fuel consumption.
The body sitting atop will once again evolve the Golf aesthetic, but GTI models are expected to score more aggressive bumpers front and rear.
Next year’s update to the current Golf will likely feature some of the technology seen in the Golf R Touch concept, shown early this year. The eighth generation car should be built around a similar set of touch, and gesture, controls.
But will a new, more powerful GTI range push the Golf R into obscurity? Don’t count on it.
Last year’s Golf R 400 concept showed the potential for a high-output 295kW version of Volkswagen’s halo hatch. Reports since have hinted that even more power may be on the cards from the turbocharged 2.0 litre engine.
Other options also include adding hybrid assistance to boost power and torque, or even a return to six-cylinder power.
One thing is certain though, lover’s of VW’s iconic hot-hatch will have no shortage of sizzling options in the next generation.