In terms of looks alone, the Golf's styling is subtle yet powerful, with no huge ‘whale tail' spoilers or attention-grabbing decals. The only clues to its power are colored brake calipers, 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch alloys in the UK, where the hot hatch market is at its most competitive), chromed twin exhausts and a red outline around the front radiator grille -- a feature of all GTIs since 1976.
Inside, there is a return to the classic tartan upholstery on the sports seats that was synonymous with the Mark I and Mark II GTIs and a six-speed manual gearbox with stainless steel gear knob to squeeze every ounce of power from the engine.
The ‘Performance' model offers 230PS from its 2-litre turbocharged engine, good for a 0-62 mph (0-100km) time of 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 155mph (250 km/h). The standard GTI offers 220PS and a top speed of 152mph (245km/h).
The car will make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 7 but will be available for pre-order from March 5 in Germany where on-the-road prices are expected to start at €28,350. The car will be available to order in the UK from March 26 with first deliveries expected to start in June.