The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf will land in Australia early next year with a small surprise. The 1.4 litre TSI engine from the outgoing Mk7.5 Golf will continue, but instead of a DSG dual-clutch gearbox as partner, the market will get an eight-speed torque converter automatic instead.

But the reason is not what you might think. Volkswagen Australia told CarExpert that the TSI and 8AT combo – which is already available Down Under in the Skoda Karoq SUV – is being offered with the latest Golf due to emissions regulations in the country. Not because it’s the most strict, but the other way around.

So, Australia is on Euro 5 regulations, whereas Europe will move to the stricter Euro 6d standard on January 1 next year. The continent is also on the more stringent WLTP cycle emissions test now. And because of this, the Golf’s home market will be top priority for the production of the newer engines and dual-clutch transmission.

Australia does not strictly need the new TSI-DSG powertrain combo, so it will receive the carryover 1.4L turbocharged petrol motor, which at present is manufactured in conjunction with the 8AT. However, performance models such as the upcoming next-gen Golf GTI will still get DSG.

In Europe, the Mk8 Golf is available with a 1.5L TSI engine with either 130 PS and 150 PS, a 1.5L eTSI mild hybrid with 150 PS, and a 2.0L TDI with either 115 PS or 150 PS. Gearbox options are a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG, with 4Motion all-wheel drive being an option.

Further down the line, the hatchback will get a 1.0L three-cylinder TSI (90 PS an 110 PS), a 1.0L eTSI mild hybrid with 110 PS, the 1.5L eTSI mild hybrid with 130 PS, as well plug-in hybrid versions, VW said at launch.

In February, VW revealed the Golf GTI (245 PS, 370 Nm), diesel Golf GTD (200 PS, 400 Nm) and Golf GTE plug-in hybrid with 245 PS and 400 Nm, adding performance variants to the Mk8 Golf range. The Golf R is not yet ready.

Now, if this is the case for Australia, perhaps Malaysia – which has even less strict emissions regulations – will also get the Mk8 Golf with a similar 1.4L TSI 8AT combo? Maybe production of the new powertrain would have caught up by the time we’re due the car – we’ll see. Full details of the eighth-generation Golf and the latest Golf GTI in the links.

GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf Mk8