Volkswagen will later in 2012 unveil the new seventh-generation of the Golf family, but our spies have caught a prototype on test in Europe.
These new spy photos of theVW Golf Mk7 confirm that it's evolution rather than revolution; hardly surprising, since every Golf iteration since launch in the 1970s has been a gentle polish-up of its predecessor.
VW Golf Mk7: the lowdown
The new Golf will be launched at the Paris motor show in September 2012.
It's designed to be cheaper to build than the current Golf Mk6, and ushers in a new MQB architecture which will be rolled out across the sprawling Volkswagen empire.
This MQB platform will also underpin new Audis (eg the new TT), Seats (the new 2013 Leon) and Skodas (the 2012 Octavia).
What's so important about MQB in the new Golf?
The MQB tag stands for Modularer Querbaukasten, or Modular Transverse Matrix. It means that despite those conservative, scrubbed-up Golf clothes, the new Golf 7 sports the very latest technology.
So you can expect downsized engines, likely to include three-cylinder powerplants snaffled from the Up project. Twin-clutch transmissions will be offered, and there will even be an electric Golf launched in 2013, alongside hybrid versions.
As previously reported in CAR, cylinder deactivation is also likely to be offered on the new Golf; previously such systems have been available only on more premium upmarket models.
Expect to see the new VW Golf Mk7 on sale after its Paris debut. That points to a showroom launch in late 2012 and early 2013.