The design chief at Volkswagen says the new Golf 8 GTI had to “progress to fit the times” while still staying true to its roots.

Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Group design, told Autocar the latest version of the Wolfsburg-based firm’s hot hatch was the “most dynamically styled” version yet.

“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 said.

Bischoff described the responsibility of designing the GTI as "enormous”.

“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,” he explained.

He said new LED arrangement at the front helped accentuate the Golf 8 GTI’s width, while also giving the newcomer a “more confident appearance in comparison to the old model”.

The new Golf 8 GTI was unveiled (alongside the Golf 8 GTD) at the end of February 2020, sporting fresh styling, extra power and a quicker-shifting DSG transmission. It is expected to arrive in South Africa either towards the end of 2020 or early in 2021.

As before, the new GTI draws its urge from a version of VW’s familiar EA888 engine. Here, though, the turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit has been tuned to deliver 180 kW (up from the SA-spec Golf 7 GTI’s peak output of 169 kW) and 370 N.m (some 20 N.m more than the outgoing model).