Volkswagen thought that by removing the camouflage and badging from this red prototype, people would mistake it for the regular Golf GTI.

However, what we have here is the hardcore TCR model, which will bridge the gap between the base FWD Golf GTI and the upcoming Golf R AWD model. From a visual standpoint, there isn’t that big a difference compared to the 2020 Golf GTI on which the TCR is based.

Exceptions include the redesigned front bumper with a larger lower air intake and thin apron, the bigger roof-mounted spoiler, and a few tweaks to the rear diffuser, which still incorporates dual exhaust pipes.

Until the interior opens up to the camera, we can assume that aside from the body-hugging front seats, which are partially visible in this latest set of spy shots, it will feature more exclusive upholstery. Carbon fiber trim could be part of the offering and Volkswagen will probably go the extra mile and add model-specific loading screen animations for the new infotainment system and digital instrument cluster.

What about power?

The new TCR will retain the standard Golf GTI Mk8’s front-wheel drive system and will be powered by a 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine hooked up to a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Output and torque figures remain a mystery, but we could be looking at around 300 PS (296 HP / 221 kW). That’s a safe bet given that the current Golf GTI TCR boasts 290 PS (286 HP / 213 kW) and the 2020 Golf GTI has 245 PS (242 HP / 180 kW) available on tap.

Meanwhile, the upcoming Golf R’s four-banger should deliver around 333 PS (328 HP / 243 kW) to the all-wheel drive system. The range-topping fast Golf is expected sometime this summer, whereas the Golf GTI TCR should follow before the end of the year.