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by Tim Beissmann

The production version of the Volkswagen Golf GTI has been revealed ahead of its official unveiling at next week’s 2013 Geneva motor show.

The production model is almost identical to the Golf GTI concept that debuted at last year’s Paris motor show in September, with a new alloy wheel pattern the only obvious difference.

For the first time in the 37-year history of the iconic German hot-hatch, an uprated Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance model will be offered above the conventional GTI.

Both variants are powered by a 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that sends power to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission.

In the standard Volkswagen Golf GTI, the engine produces 162kW of power (4500-6200rpm) and 350Nm of torque (1500-4400rpm). The result is a 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds and combined cycle fuel consumption as low as 6.0 litres per 100km – figures that make it four-tenths quicker and 22 per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing GTI Mk6.

An extra 7kW takes the Golf GTI Performance to 169kW (4700-6200rpm). Torque is unchanged at 350Nm but remains at its peak across a slightly broader range (1500-4600rpm). The upgrades slice one-tenth off the standard GTI’s 0-100km/h sprint, and add 4km/h to its top speed for a round 250km/h max figure.

The GTI Performance variant’s slightly sharper numbers are achieved without impacting fuel consumption. Both models are fitted with stop-start engine technology and meet Euro 6 emissions standards.

With an added emphasis on dynamics, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance scores a front axle differential lock for improved traction and larger brakes for enhanced stopping ability. The Performance variant boasts 340 x 30mm front discs and 310 x 22mm rears, while the standard GTI employs 312 x 25mm fronts and 300 x 12mm rears.

On the outside, the new Golf GTI features traditional red-painted calipers, smoked LED tail-lights, twin chrome tailpipes and 17-inch Brooklyn alloy wheels, while the cabin scores ‘Clark’ tartan upholstery, black roof liner and red ambient lighting.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk7 will go on sale in Australia in the final quarter of 2013, about six months after the launch of the standard range in April. It is likely to be followed by the recently revealed diesel-powered Golf GTD, which will join its high-performance petrol sibling in Geneva on March 5.