As proof that secret pictures of new cars get leaked and press embargoes get broken in every corner of the world, we have the first official photos of the all-new Volkswagen Gol. For those unfamiliar with the South American car market, the Gol is a low-cost subcompact car developed in Brazil and produced by the millions since 1980 in nearly every bodystyle imaginable.

Several hazy photos leaked onto various Brazilian forums in the past several days, and accordingly VW has responded with a single high-res picture of its own. This third-generation Gol - marketed as Gol V due to the last two restylings of the second-gen being branded as Gol III and Gol IV- represents a true revolution in the car's history. While its predecessors featured archaic longitudinally-mounted engines, the new Gol is built on the same transverse platform as the current Polo and Fox. Its engines are also shared with those models, namely a 1.0L and a 1.6L straight-four engine. In the Brazilian market, the engines run both with gasoline and ethanol, as is the case with 85% of new cars sold there.

The 5-door hatchback pictured is just the Gol's family's first bodystyle. A four-door sedan is expected to return to the lineup in late 2008, possibly with the nameplate Voyage, whereas the pickup and wagon version (Saveiro and Parati respectively) will be released in 2009. Volkswagen has confirmed that the current Gol will remain for sale until demand declines.

The Gol is a long-time bestseller in Argentina and Brazil, but it's been sold in overseas markets such as Russia, China and the United States. In the latter case, the sedan and wagon versions of the Gol were also sold in the late 1980s as the Fox. To meet competition from the recently unveiled Dacia Sandero, Volkswagen is expected to rebadge the Gol as a Skoda and export it to Eastern Europe.