First up is a facelift in 2008, when the hatchback gains the new front-end look pioneered on models like the Eos and forthcoming Tiguan.
Most of the changes are concentrated around the grille, bumpers and headlamps – hidden in our scoop shots grabbed during hot-weather testing in California – and they combine to create a more imposing front end in keeping with the rest of the VW range.
Further off is the all-new Golf Mk6, due in 2009/10. It will retain the solid Golf silhouette outside (none of the fancy Honda Civic styling excesses here). Most of the changes will come under the skin.
Today’s Golf is one of the most expensive and slowest cars to build in the class, taking around twice as long as a Focus or Astra. VW aims to strip out a lot of the complication, saving a rumoured £1,650 per car in factory costs. So instead of 13 engine choices globally on the Golf, there will be ‘just’ 10.
There will still be a Golf for every pocket though, ranging from a 1.4 petrol to a new hot-hatch king, the R36 with around 300bhp. VW is developing a new seven-speed twin-clutch DSG transmission for the first time.
Design: It’s a Golf, so expect only a sober refresh. Chunky C-pillars remain
Engines: 10 units from 80bhp 1.4 to 300bhp R36
Timetable: Facelift due 2008, new model 2009/10