Evolution, rather than revolution, has been behind Volkswagen's Golf, since its launch in 1974.

Put each generation side by side and you can see the clear family ties, but the upcoming Mk7 Golf could see the biggest technological leap yet for the popular compact.

Autocar reports that the next Golf will gain a raft of new engines, a lightweight variant, and a 243-horsepower plug-in hybrid model, as well as being packed with luxury car technology. An electric Golf will also feature, as well as one fuelled by natural gas.

A new range of downsized engines will make an appearance, as well as a range of clean diesels. A new turbocharged 1.4-liter engine will be equipped with cylinder deactivation, a gas-saving feature normally reserved for significantly more expensive cars.

A lightweight version of the Golf should feature increased usage of aluminum. In common with the current Golf-based Audi TT, which heavily features aluminum, larger pressings such as the trunk floor, cabin floor and windscreen base will reduce weight in non-structural areas.

Autocar says that even the regular Golfs should weigh no more than late 1990s Mk4 models, so expect a curb weight of as little as 2,500 pounds, with modern-day levels of safety. The Golf's platform is adaptable, and will also see service in future Polos and Passats.

As well as light-weight and fuel-efficient models, technology will be a defining feature of the Golf. Active dampers, a large touchscreen display, adaptive cruise control, park assist and more should feature.

The Mk7 Volkswagen Golf is expected to debut at the Paris Motor Show in September, before going on sale in 2013.


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