The West

VW s hot GTI hatch in Paris
VW Golf VII GTI. Supplied picture

We may be more than 12 months away from the sale date of Volkswagen's iconic Golf GTI but the German car maker wheeled it out as the centrepiece of its Paris display earlier this month.

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While it was listed as a "concept", the three-door hot hatch looked production ready, with few changes expected before it makes its European debut in six months.

As expected, it will be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine used in the new-generation Audi A3 Sportback.

In the Golf it is expected to produce 160kW and 350Nm - up 5kW and 70Nm on the current model.

The increased power and torque figures give the new GTI the same levels of performance as the existing Golf R, which indicates the next R - due in two years - will head towards the 180kW level.

It will also cut 0.3sec. from the car's 0-100km/h dash, bringing it down to 6.6 sec.

Power will be delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or the latest six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

There is also some conjecture that the GTI will be offered with a performance package that will add an extra 8kW plus a torque vectoring system to iron out understeer, but with the official launch so far off VW was not prepared to confirm or deny the speculation.

The seventh-generation hot hatch will continue with an electronic diff lock for the front wheels and adds a variable steering system, which switches levels of assistance for regular or enthusiast driving.

It sits 15mm lower than the standard Golf, with other body differences being a deeper front fascia with wider air intakes, twin tailpipes and a subtle hatch spoiler.

Bigger wheels and brakes house the GTI's signature red brake calipers, while other familiar design cues include the honeycomb grille and a black strip across the front bumper bar.

Inside, designers have stayed with the signature black, white and red tartan seat trim, chronograph dials and red-stitched steering wheel.

The West Australian

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