Two versions of the car will be offered: a 217bhp standard car and a 227bhp Performance Package version, a first for the Golf GTI. A turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with 258lb ft is used in both cars.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard in both cars, with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic available as an option. The standard GTI can crack 0-62mph in 6.5sec and reach a 153mph top speed.
Both cars share the same 47.1mpg combined economy, 139g/km CO2 emissions and 1276kg kerb weight.
The Performance Package cuts 0.1sec off the 0-62mph time and adds 2mph at the top end.
The GTI gets a lowered sports chassis, twin exhaust tailpipes, 17-inch ‘Brooklyn’ alloys and a body kit with wider sills and integrated rear diffuser. Cabin features include a sports steering wheel and pedals, plus traditional plaid sports seats.
Standard models get 314mm ventilated front discs and 300mm rear unventilated discs. Performance Package versions feature ventilated disc brakes all round, 342mm at the front and 310mm at the rear.
Prices for the new VW Golf GTI are yet to be confirmed but are expected to start at around £26,000 for the three-door manual version and £27,500 for the DSG-equipped version.
Five-door models will likely command a premium of around £650, while the Performance Package should cost in the region of £1,000.
Volkswagen has also confirmed the specification of a new GTD model, which largely shares its looks with the GTI. Power comes from a 181bhp, 280lb ft 2.0 TDI engine.
Equipped with a standard six-speed manual gearbox, it can crack 0-62mph in 7.5sec on its way to a 137mph top speed. Combined economy is rated at 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions are just 109g/km.