Cutaway shots of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Design Vision GTI concept have revealed that it appears to use a new VR6 engine, as opposed to the previously rumoured V6.

Volkswagen has not confirmed whether the engine is indeed a VR6 but, judging by the configuration of the intake and exhaust systems, it seems likely to be the case.

The new six-cylinder engine, which has a single cylinder head and a claimed 15-degree angle between its rows of cylinders, is said to displace 3.0 litres. Thanks to direct fuel injection and twin turbochargers, its output is stated to be a substantial 496bhp and 413lb ft.

It's reputedly set to see service in future models, which may include high-performance versions of the Volkswagen CC and the recently unveiled CrossBlue coupé — although the engine will most likely be detuned for economy, emissions and drivability reasons.

A senior Porsche engineer confirmed that the new Volkswagen engine was a narrow-angle VR6, but that it wasn't in any way related to new engines being developed for the Porsche Macan.

It's not yet known whether the new unit is a development of an existing VR6 or an all-new engine, or if it will be available in UK models, but it is thought that its smaller capacity - compared to recent VR6 units - is a result of a Chinese-market specific tax break.

Volkswagen has a long history of popular VR6 engines; the first were developed in the late 1980s and introduced in 1991 in the Corrado and Passat. Later, the engine made its way into the Golf.

The new Golf Design Vision concept, which is equipped with a transversely mounted 496bhp version of the new VR6, is capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in a supercar-rivalling 3.9sec. Its top speed is 190mph.