Following a slew of spy shots last year, a camo-free Mk8 Golf GTI surfaces online

A new image has surfaced on social media, revealing the next-generation Golf GTI entirely free of camouflage. Expected to be revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, the 2020 hot hatch was first seen on the Nürburgring and in the Arctic Circle last year, albeit with disguise.

Located in what appears to be a Volkswagen storage facility, the image gives us our best look at the hot hatch yet, displaying its production-ready design. Though lacking a GTI badge, trademark dual exhaust exits, a more aggressive rear diffuser and a large roof-mounted spoiler all point towards it being the latest iteration of the iconic hatch.

With the standard eighth-generation Golf now out in the open, we have a much clearer idea of what to expect for the GTI, which will likely share many of its aesthetic details with the plug-in hybrid GTE that was revealed alongside the standard car. As a result, expect elements such as the GTE’s honeycomb grille, rear spoiler and side skirts to be shared, although the GTI features a different dual exhaust system and a more aggressive rear valance, as seen in our images.

The wheels on the previous prototypes were borrowed from the current-generation Golf R, alluding to a 19-inch wheel and tyre package that is likely to be standard, if not a definite option. Smaller 18-inch units wrapped in winter tyres can be seen in testing images, with diamond-cut options revealed in the recent leak, giving us a better look at the red brake calipers we’d expect from a GTI.

The Mk8 Golf GTI will likely retain its 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, and include possible mild-hybrid assistance, perhaps in the form of the 12V system as seen in the recent Audi A4 TFSI with which it shares its engine. This system is designed to ‘trim’ the petrol engine’s outputs, by recuperating energy and deploying it back into the electrical systems rather than directly assisting drive as in other mild-hybrids. Volkswagen is also expected to keep hold of the six-speed manual transmission, although the dual-clutch automatic is expected to make up a majority of sales.

Specific power figures remain unconfirmed at this point, but we suspect Volkswagen will lift the current car’s 180kW figure to between 201kW and 223kW in order to keep in touch with rivals such as the new Ford Focus ST and Hyundai i30 N, as well as create some distance between it and the 180kW GTE plug-in hybrid that currently tops the Golf range.

Any new Golf is always an important car for the world’s largest automotive conglomerate, but as the whole industry readies itself for the seismic shift about to be thrust upon it with the incoming electric car revolution, the new Golf will have to appeal more than ever to keep in touch with the normal buyer. The new GTI is expected to appear at the Geneva motor show in March this year, with an even hotter, all-wheel-drive Golf R replacement sometime after.

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