Last November Volkswagen unveiled a thinly disguised 'concept' of the new Mark VI Golf GTI, one of the most acclaimed hot hatches on the market, and in late January the first images of the actual production version hit the web. Following the success of the Mark V model, there were high expectations for the latest Mark VI model but unfortunately the first tentative details about it are on the disappointing side.

The Mark VI model retains a 2.0L turbo engine but only develops 210hp (155kW) - just 10hp more than the previous model. Top speed has been limited to 148mph (239km/h) and VW claims the car will hit the 62mph (100km/h) benchmark in 7.2 seconds.

According to a new report, VW had a reason to limit the performance of the new Mark VI. That reason is so that it can introduce a high-performance ‘R’ version of the car to replace the outgoing R32. The new R-series Golf, possbily labeled 'GTI-R', is expected to make its debut in Frankfurt according to a new report from CAR.

While it was previously thought that the R label would be used first on a new high-performance version of the Scirocco coupe, a previous Car and Driver report claimed it will first be applied to a new R-series Golf. Another possible name for the car is the Golf R20.

The new hot-hatch is expected to deliver 270hp (201kW) and be fitted with a six-speed manual and AWD. A dual-clutch DSG is also expected to be featured as an option. The 0-62mph (100km/h) sprint should fall into the five second bracket and top speed will likely be set somewhat higher than that of the GTI. Unlike its Euro-competition the Renault Megane RS and Ford Focus RS, the GTI-R will use AWD for superior performance and handling.

The R-series Golf is expected to go on sale in Europe towards the end of the year and be launched in the U.S. in early 2010. VW will also reportedly unveil a R-series Scirocco coupe at this year’s DAC 24-hour race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, details of which you can read in our previous story by clicking here. At any rate, this should prove an exciting year for VW fans.