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Volkswagen Golf Mk8 interior uncovered – plus everything you need to know about VW’s Ford Focus rival

New high-tech VW Golf’s cabin breaks cover before the car’s reveal later this year

An image of the next Volkswagen Golf’s interior has finally surfaced, revealing an all-new layout and greater emphasis on digitisation. Revealed at an investors’ conference, the new Golf, and ID 3 electric car, are two crucial new models for the Volkswagen brand this year.

Differing from the evolutionary path that the exterior design will take on the new Golf, the interior will feature an all-new layout, dominated by big glossy displays mounted high on the dash top. The architecture looks to create a single interface panel that weaves in and out of a traditional cowelling, with slim horizontal ventilation outlets below. Switchgear looks to be reduced to an absolute minimum, with heating and ventilation controls condensed into a slim panel below the main touchscreen.

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We’ve already seen a similar arrangement on SEAT’s near-production el-Borne electric car concept, which indicates it’ll likely spread across many of the Volkswagen Group brands. Between the seats sits a new push-button-style gear selector, freeing up the console for extended storage.

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Unlike the interior, Volkswagen has not made quite the same leap with the exterior design. The silhouette and proportions are familiar, but look closer and you’ll see crisper surfacing, larger wheelarches and a low, aggressive nose. The headlights, under the black tape, give the Golf a new face – one with a more horizontal attitude, dominated by a thick chrome strip running from edge to edge.

The car will be built on a heavily revised version of the MQB platform, with further emphasis on electrification and cutting-edge powertrain technology. On top of the usual push towards saving fuel, the new tech will also benefit the next GTI and R models as they turn to electrification to push the performance boundaries of hot hatch performance.

The core of this new performance will be the adoption of a new mild-hybrid system. As well as supporting fuel-saving technology such as engine-off coasting and an integrated starter motor and generator, the system will potentially allow VW to include electrically driven turbochargers to improve performance on models such as the GTI and R.

Although the new Golf will be based on the same basic underlying chassis as that of the current model, it will be both longer and wider, meaning greater interior space and offering packaging solutions for any future electric drivetrains. Regular Golf models will be powered by a selection of three- and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines, with a new diesel unit also under development.

The demand for the current GTE plug-in electric hybrid has all but guaranteed the Mk8 will also have a GTE model in its range, although the all-electric Golf-e will make way for the ID 3 hatchback and its ID family. A manual gearbox will still be offered in the majority of new Golfs, but it is expected that VW will also introduce a new, more efficiency-focused automatic gearbox.

Audi, SEAT and Skoda’s next generation of mid-sized hatchbacks (A3, Leon and Octavia respectively) will also benefit from the Golf’s development, with engine, gearboxes, connectivity and autonomous technology filtering through the group.

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We’ll see the first production Mk8 Golfs later this year, with deliveries expected by the end of the year. The GTI and R models are expected to appear towards the end of 2019 or early 2020, where they’ll have to deal with the next Focus ST, not to mention in-house options like the Skoda Octavia vRS and next Cupra Leon.

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