We’re merely a few weeks away from the world unveiling of the next-gen Volkswagen Golf, but we’ll have to wait until 2020 for the spicy GTI flavour to come out. The exterior design will be evolutionary in its purest form, having seen an essentially naked prototype of the plug-in hybrid GTE earlier this month looking oh-so-familiar. Of course, the Grand Tourer Injection variant will be more appealing thanks to its sportier body kit, larger wheels, and a pair of generously sized exhaust tips.

Covered up in camouflage from front to rear, the prototype was seen racking up test miles at the Nordschleife where VW’s test driver was pushing the car hard through the many corners of the demanding track. The Golf GTI looks as agile as ever, and we have full confidence in the folks from Wolfsburg about their abilities to improve the hot hatch even more after more than four decades of continuous evolution.

Gallery: Volkswagen Golf GTI spy photos

Coming to the United Kingdom along with the all-wheel-drive Golf R, the new GTI will not be electrified after all. There had been rumours about VW wanting to come out with a hybrid Golf GTI, but the final product will stick to the tried-and-tested formula of a 2.0 TSI engine. The turbocharged four-banger is expected to produce a little over 250 horses in base form, but surely there will be several high-performance versions that will increase the bhp count even more. Indeed, it is believed today’s GTI Performance will make way for a GTI TCR with nearly 290 bhp.

The four-cylinder turbo will be paired to a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic transmission to please both worlds. According to the latest intel, the mild-hybrid system you’ll find on the lesser Golfs of the range will not be implemented in the next GTI, which will probably cut some weight at the expense of fuel economy.

We’ve also heard through the grapevine that the three-door version will not be making a return for the Golf GTI Mk VIII – a decision that wouldn’t come as a big surprise seeing as how demand for cars built in this less practical body style has decreased in recent years. Also not making a comeback is the Sportsvan, but very few will miss the MPV Golf.

Perhaps we will learn a bit more about the new GTI in October when the wraps will finally come off the regular Golf versions.