A high-ranking Volkswagen executive says the GTI and R versions of the upcoming Golf 8 will “appeal to a broad customer group”.

Karlheinz Hell, who is responsible for the development of VW’s compact series models, promised the eighth-generation of the Golf would set new standards after its reveal on 24 October.

“The Golf is an icon; like no other car, it embodies high-quality mobility for everyone. I can promise you that the eighth generation will once again set standards. It is modern and elegant. It stands for technology, diversity and individuality,” he said in an interview published by VW's press site.

“The sporty GTI and R models also appeal to a broad customer group,” Hell added, before confirming the performance versions of the hatchback would follow in 2020 (explaining “this gradual phasing-in is normal”).

Talking about the styling of the new Golf, Hell suggested design chief Klaus Bischoff had struck a good balance between evolution and revolution.

“Klaus Bischoff and his design team have masterfully developed it from my point of view. It carries the typical Golf genes. It is evolutionary on the outside so that it is immediately identifiable, and revolutionary on the inside.

“The Golf 8 will carry us into the digital age, for example with its new Innovision Cockpit. With its innovative operating concept, it sets new standards again and democratises many driver-assistance technologies, for example standard lane assist, front assist and Car2X. Comfort and safety like this are usually only known in higher vehicle classes,” he said.

Hell furthermore confirmed the Golf range had effectively been rationalised.

“Within the model series, we have analysed customer needs and eliminated less popular variants, such as the three-door version. This enabled us to reduce the number of variants by 35 percent compared to the Golf 7.

“At the same time, we added new functions. We have also increased productivity: The capacities from Zwickau, Germany and Puebla, Mexico will be merged at the Wolfsburg parent plant. This will improve capacity utilisation and also reduce costs,” he revealed.

In South Africa, the Golf 8 range will comprise a 1,4 TSI variant (rather than the 1,5 TSI expected to be offered in some other markets), the popular Golf GTI derivative and the range-topping Golf R model, with the GTI set to be the first to arrive at some point in 2020.