Production of the next-gen Golf doesn't start for over a year, but new spy shots give us an amazing looks at it.

The next-gen Volkswagen Golf has been spotted testing, and the engineers apparently didn't see much reason to keep the model under wraps because they left the hood up and the cabin largely exposed. It's rare to get such a good look at an upcoming model, but the shots tell us a lot about the new hatchback.

Next-gen Golf R first info:

Volkswagen Golf 8 Test Mule
VW Golf 1.5 TSI ACT BlueMotion

There's no obvious camouflage on this Golf test mule, and its design suggests that VW's designers plan only small changes for the vehicle (see comparison above). The revised front end appears slightly blunter than the current model. At the rear, the a C-pillar looks more upright, which makes the eighth-generation Golf appear more boxy than the existing one. 

More Next-Gen Golf News:

Underneath the skin, the new Golf reportedly rides on a modified version of the venerable MQB platform. An increased use of lightweight materials allegedly helps the hatchback shed around 110 pounds (50 kilograms). VW also intends to offer a variety of engines with a 48-volt mild hybrid system for improving fuel economy. The company's increased use of cylinder shut-off and engine-off coasting would also improve efficiency. 

The photos under the hood don't provide a clear view of this new tech. At this point, the Golf's engine bay still looks fairly messy with lots of visible wires and tubes. 

Volkswagen Golf 8 Test Mule

Inside, the development team still appears to have a lot of work to do, too. However, it's clear what VW is planning. A digital screen sits in the instrument panel, indicating this tech would be available. A blank housing on the center stack suggests there could be a display for infotainment and HVAC controls there, too. This one features an automatic gearbox, but a manual would still be available, too. 

VW will invest the equivalent of $3.5 billion into its Wolfsburg factory in Germany, and much of this money will be for building the eighth-gen Golf. The company's venerable hatchback will begin production in June 2019, and European sales will start in the fourth quarter of the year.

VW will begin production of the eighth-generation in June 2019, and they'll go on sale in the fourth quarter of that year. 

Source: Automedia

Gallery: Volkswagen Golf 8 Spy Photos