This is the first glimpse of the Volkswagen Golf Mk7. VW showed the car in bare platform and running gear form this morning at its Wolfsburg HQ in Germany.

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf will be the first of as many as 60 different models that will be based on VW’s radical new MQB platform which is designed to be stretchable from Polo to Passat size – a first for the car industry.

Sources say that the Volkswagen Golf 7 is much lighter than its predecessor, and is now about the same weight as the MK4 Golf, despite hugely improved safety.

The MQB is not just an extremely flexible structure, it also an integral part of a new production system that will be adopted by VW factories all around the world. This system allows the different vehicles to built on the same production lines, with production equipment designed to accommodate cars of different length, width and track.

Volkswagen insiders say that the factories will become multi-brand facilities, allowing VW, Seats, Skodas and even Audis to be built on the same line. Being able to ‘shuffle’ production should allow VW facilities to run at much higher capacities.

Another key aspect of the MQB platform is a common engine mounting system, which sees both petrol and diesel motors mounted in the same way and at the same angle of inclination, a big step forward in terms of ease of production and assembly.

Two new modular petrol and diesel engine ranges have been designed for the MQB including an 800cc diesel and a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol unit.