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Next Volkswagen GTI Expected to Go Hybrid

May become the most powerful production GTI yet

The next-generation Volkswagen GTI won't arrive for another three years or so, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from churning. According to Autocar, the next GTI will feature a mild hybrid powertrain that will increase performance and reduce fuel consumption. If initial performance targets are realized, power output should reach GTI Clubsport levels of more than 260 hp.

The model is expected to retain its tried-and-true 2.0-liter turbocharged unit. However, an integrated starter motor with a boost function will supplement the GTI's standard engine in Performance mode. The new model will include a 48V electrical system, and could swap out its current exhaust gas turbocharger for an electrically operated compressor for better low-end performance.

According to Autocar, these electrical bits are expected to make their way through the entire eighth-generation Golf lineup. The automaker is also tweaking the MQB platform to include more lightweight metals for the new model, VW insiders say. This update should reduce weight by about 110 pounds.

Those familiar with the current vision for the new Golf say it will feature more pronounced wheel arches, Autocar reports, as well a strong side swage line, an upright tailgate, and a thin horizontal grille with small headlights. As previewed at past CES shows, gesture control technology is also expected to make its way onto the new model.