Last we heard, Volkswagen was reportedly pushing forward the development of its seventh-generation (read: MkVII) Golf hatchback, with the final car being ready for public consumption as early as the end of next year. Our spy photographers recently caught this heavily camouflaged prototype for the new global hatch out testing, and though there's plenty of unknown details, it doesn't appear that the Golf formula has changed too much. (We aren't complaining.)

The size and shape of the five-door hatch looks to be nearly the same as the sixth-generation Golf that we've known and loved since its debut in 2009, but what lies under the hood will surely be different. In addition to the Blue-e-motion model that we've had the chance to sample in sixth-gen skin, new reports suggest that the not-so-great 2.5-liter inline-five base engine will be swapped out in favor of a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-four. Good deal.

If the Golf is still on schedule to hit the streets at the end of next year, expect to see it show up somewhere in the 2012 auto show circuit.