Currently reading: VW design boss on the styling of the new Golf GTI
Klaus Bischoff talks us round the new-look Golf GTI ahead of its final sign-off

Volkswagen’s head of design, Klaus Bischoff, is confident the new, eighth-generation Golf GTI will strike a chord with long-time fans of the German hot hatch as well as a newer and younger group of more digitally oriented customers.

“We’ve paid tribute to all the classic design cues but managed to deliver the most dynamically styled Golf GTI yet. It’s full of tradition but we’ve also provided it with new appeal through a range of new digital features,” he says.

Bischoff, 59, has been responsible for Volkswagen brand design since 2007 and from the start of 2020 also assumed responsibility for overall design operations within the whole of the Volkswagen Group, but he considers designing the Golf GTI as one of his toughest tasks.

“The responsibility in designing the GTI is enormous,” he says. “There’s such great history to protect. But at the same time, it has to progress to fit the times. The challenge is getting the balance right.”

Read more - 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI prototype first ride

The new model builds on the design developments brought to the standard eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf with what Bischoff calls a more wedge-inspired shape with stretched proportions.

Key elements include signature red highlights within the headlamps and across the top of the thin grille. The front bumper, shared with the upcoming Golf R, adopts a black honeycomb lower section with five individual foglights prominent at each side of it.

89 Volkswagen golf gti 2020 ride details 0

“The full-width LED light graphic within the front end helps accentuate the new car’s width,” says Bischoff. “It also gives the new Golf GTI a more confident appearance in comparison to the old model.”

Further back, the 2020 model adopts a subtle badge plate, or “flitzer” as Bischoff calls it, within the front wings, as well as a black sill element below the doors.


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The rear is distinguished by unique tail-light graphics and a prominent GTI badge. It retains the same bumper as standard Golf models but receives a unique lower section in black. The traditional round tailpipes have also been moved further outboard compared with the Mk7 model.

Inside, the latest Golf GTI adopts the same interior as other new Golf models, albeit with the usual unique touches and red highlights. There’s a digital instrument display featuring GTI graphics and a standard 10.25in digital infotainment display with its own GTI-themed functions.

The traditional tartan seats remain, but they receive a new pattern that Bischoff describes as being more digital in appeal than that used by the old Golf GTI. They’re terrifically supportive and, in another new development, now come with integrated headrests.


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taDa 15 May 2020


Some features I like but one I abhor... Why is this car trying to look sharkish with the overbite?
MrJ 13 May 2020

Inoffensive as updates go,

Inoffensive as updates go, but I reckon the traditional Golf GTi has finally had its day.

Needs to be an EV next time round.

catnip 13 May 2020

The seats are very nice, but

The seats are very nice, but otherwise there's not much to say.

There's no way to get away from the family car look now for those that want to.