The next-generation Volkswagen Golf, due to commence production next year, looks set to shake up the small car segment with cutting-edge technology and powertrains, though the model range could look a little different to what's currently available.
It's also believed Volkswagen will simplify the model range to reduce costs and complexity, potentially spelling the end for the three-door hatchback and five-door wagon body styles currently available – though this hasn't been officially confirmed just yet.
The British publication argues, however, the recent consumer shift towards crossovers and SUVs has lead Volkswagen to use the next Golf to lure buyers from larger cars and premium models – namely the 3 Series and C-Class in its report.
A revised version of the company's ubiquitous MQB architecture will feature under the skin of the next Golf, said to allow for increased cabin space and luggage capacity. Autocar claims the eighth-gen small car will "offer more cabin and luggage space than is normal" for the segment.
Inside, the report says the new Golf will be dominated by large displays. Volkswagen's previous design boss, Klaus Bischoff, has been quoted saying the Mk8 Golf's cabin will be a "total" digital environment, likely incorporating large displays for the instrument cluster and central infotainment system, bolstered by touch controls for the climate and lighting systems depending on variant.
Volkswagen has previously confirmed the next-gen Golf family will debut mild-hybrid technology for the first time, and will continue to include a range of three- and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines bolstered by 12V starter/generator motor and lithium-ion battery.
It's believed the GTI and R performance variants will also feature more powerful 48V hybrid system for a power boost, rather than the fuel-saving role of the 12V system used in the core range.
Finally, the new Golf will offer an even more sophisticated array of driver assistance technologies and connected car functions. Speaking with Autocar, Volkswagen head of compact model series, Karlheinz Hell, said: "It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety".
We reckon a lot of these features systems will be borrowed from the brand's Arteon and Touareg flagship models – think Emergency Assist, Roadwork Lane Assist, head-up display, Night Vision, LED matrix headlights, and an online-capable infotainment system.
Speaking of the infotainment system, it could measure somewhere between 12 and 15 inches. The 2015 Golf R Touch concept (above) featured a 12.8-inch display incorporated into the Mk7's dashboard, while the largest display in the Touareg SUV is a whopping 15 inches.
The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf is scheduled to go into production around mid-2019, so we'll likely see the market version debut around the Geneva motor show in March.
In terms of an Australian launch, the all-new model isn't likely to hit local showrooms until at least 2020.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest.