2015 Volkswagen Golf

The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf (pictured above) only went on sale in the US in August, but it has been on the road in some parts of the world since 2012. The German automotive giant isn't taking a moment's rest for one of its most well known models, though. The latest rumor suggests that VW is already developing the eighth revision of its bread-and-butter hatchback, and it may be ready for launch as soon as 2017.

The rumors come courtesy of German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, and it claims that the new model will receive a thorough restyling of the current look. Not only will this mean the usual changes to the front and rearend design, but the next Golf will also be wider and sit lower than the current one, according to the magazine.

However, the real focus for the new generation will be more sophisticated powertrain, infotainment and safety tech. To meet Europe's tightening emissions rules, VW will reportedly try to cut the Golf's weight by about 110 pounds with lighter engines. Cylinder deactivation for some powerplants and possibly even a three-cylinder option are on the table, according to Auto Motor und Sport. Other recent rumors suggest that the next Golf model even use variable-compression and an electric turbo system to further shed CO2 emissions.

Much of the other technology will trickle down from the forthcoming, European-spec Passat that will go on sale later this year. The Golf will supposedly get the sedan's pedestrian recognition system, parking assist, head-up display and Mirror-Link – a way to link the driver's smartphone interface to the infotainment screen.

Of course the big question is when the eighth generation will make it to North America. With the latest model being built at an updated facility in Mexico, another staggered release between the US and Europe could be in the cards.