Volkswagen is poised to reset the benchmark for fuel efficiency in the small car market with its seventh-generation Golf.
The German car maker took the wraps off the latest iteration of its bestselling car in Munich last week, ahead of its world debut at next month's Paris Motor Show.
While the look of the 2013 model is sharper, the interior of an even higher quality and safety further improved, it is the new engine line-up that grabbed the most attention.
The seventh-generation Golf will continue to offer a wide range of four-cylinder, direct-injection petrol and diesel engines - all with automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation systems as standard.
The most fuel-efficient is a 77kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel that will burn just 3.2L/100km, making it more economical than the Toyota Prius hybrid.
The Golf also will be available with two turbocharged petrol engines - a 1.2-litre unit producing 63kW and a 103kW 1.4-litre fitted with a cut-off mechanism that disengages the middle two cylinders in low-speed city driving between 1400 and 4000rpm.
Official figures put their combined fuel consumption at 4.9 and 4.8L/100km respectively.
There will also be a 2.0-litre diesel and 1.8-litre petrol engine available. Which of the engines mentioned will be available in Australia is still to be decided.
Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board at Volkswagen AG, said although the new Golf was safer, more comfortable and more spacious than the previous model, it was also up to 100kg lighter, which contributed to the improved fuel efficiency.
Styled by German Marc Lichte, who was also responsible for the sixth-generation model, it leaves viewers in no doubt about its identity despite clearly more structured surfaces and a new-found edginess to detailed features, including a prominent line running beneath the door handles.
The proportions have also changed. The front wheels have been moved forward 43mm, the bonnet is slightly longer and the cabin has been moved back.
Its new appearance will also be reflected in the company's upcoming replacements for the Jetta, Scirocco and Caddy commercial vehicle.
As with each generation before it, the latest Golf has grown in size. Length is up by 56mm to 4255mm and width extends by 13mm to 1799mm, yet a flatter roof has reduced its height by 28mm to 1452mm.
The wheelbase has also grown by 59mm to 2637mm, resulting in a bigger cabin with 15mm more rear-seat leg room.