Volkswagen has released the first pictures of the production-ready version of its Golf GTI, ahead of its public debut at the Paris Motor Show on 23 September.

Available as either a three- or a five-door hatchback, the Golf GTI is now more clearly distinct from other models in the Golf range.

A prominent black honeycomb grille with red frame, serif-style ‘GTI’ badging, bold 17″ alloy wheels (18″ versions of the same design will be an option), red brake callipers, deep air dam, twin exhaust pipes, and rear roof spoiler are visual highlights. The GTI look continues with black widened sill panels, high-gloss covered B-pillar, blue heat-reflective windows and tinted headlight housings.

Inside, the seats are designed especially for this model, with extra side bolstering and a sporty appearance, topped off by the GTI logo embroidered into the head restraints, and a three-spoke leather sports steering wheel.  Aluminium trim makes its home on the gearstick, trim inserts, pedals and again on the steering wheel.

Powering the new Golf GTI is a turbocharged 2.0-litre FSI direct injection petrol engine with 200 PS. The car delivers a 0 to 62 mph time of 7.2 seconds, before going on to a top speed of 146 mph. Maximum torque of 207 lbs ft is produced on a ‘flat curve’ from 1,800 and 5,000 rpm, promising flexible performance. Volkswagen’s DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) will be available from launch as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual transmission.

The new GTI is due to go on sale in Germany this autumn, with UK sales beginning in January next year from £19,995.

We’re a bit concerned about VW’s habit of muddying their brands.  The GTI’s new grille is too similar to Audi’s new corporate snout, particularly when comparing the new Golf to Audi’s new A3.