Quad tailpipes and a large rear diffuser distinguish the all-wheel drive performance model from lesser variants.
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UPDATE, July 7: New photos, revealing nothing new in terms of final details, have again captured the upcoming 2021 Volkswagen Golf R in its final stages of testing.

We've added those photos to this story (the blue Golf), but it is otherwise unchanged.

February 12, 2020: The next-generation Volkswagen Golf R has been photographed practically undisguised during testing in snow-covered Sweden.

Up front the Golf R features just a bit of disguise tape around the side air intakes, which have a familiar look and feel.

It's out the back where the R really tries to make its presence noticed as there are two large exhaust tips at each corner separated by an aggressive black diffuser.

It's possible the final production version will have different tail-light graphics, but this vehicle is fitted with same set used on more sedate versions of the eighth-generation Golf (at the bottom of this article).

Naturally, given the performance we expect will be on offer, the R has a lower suspension setup, as well as larger wheels and lower profile tyres.

The R will be equipped with blue-painted brake calipers. The prototype seen here has drilled discs at the front, while some camouflage hides the final design of the restyled side sills.

Under the bonnet the Golf R will once again feature a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an all-wheel drive system.

The current Golf R has 213kW and 380Nm at its disposal. It's likely the new model will have more horses under the bonnet, with some reports hinting at a power figure around 250kW.

With so little disguise on this development vehicle, the launch can't be too far away.

Derek Fung

Mk8 Volkswagen Golf