The Future Of VW Gauges Sounds Awesome

Technology / Comments

We spoke with VW Group's Head of Design, Klaus Bischoff, about the carmaker's new digital design tools.

The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI was revealed in Europe a few months ago and in due time, will make its way to the United States. Before it arrives, CarBuzz had a chance to speak with VW Group's Head of Design and Executive Director, Klaus Bischoff, to discuss how this latest GTI's design process differed from any previous model. On a conference call, Bischoff walked us through VW's digital design tools, which rapidly accelerate the design process.

"As you can imagine, cars are very complicated," Bischoff explained. To change a small detail like a grille shape used to require "months of changes and this is done now in minutes or seconds." While live streaming, Bischoff was able to demonstrate how designers can now go from a 2D rough sketch to a realistic 3D model in just minutes, a process that used to take months using clay models.

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Volkswagen
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Volkswagen

Bischoff illustrated how the digital design process helped to create the Golf's new Digital Cockpit display. "With our active info display, we can display multiple designs," he said. "The dream of having a central Speedo is now taking place in the GTI." In mere minutes, the designers were able to play around with the gauge cluster design, showing off multiple, fully animated display screens.

This got us thinking - if VW designers can style and animate a new gauge cluster screen in minutes, will they be able to offer customers new gauge designs as downloadable content? When asked if this could be a possibility Bischoff said "the more digital cars become, the more frequently we will be able to change the designs over the lifetime of the car. This is, of course, something that we have planned."

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The new Golf's Digital Cockpit differs between the base, GTI, GTE, and GTD models. The GTI, for example, uses a sporty black and red theme while the GTE and GTD models use blue and orange respectively. When you aren't driving spiritedly, all of the gauges can be replaced by a giant navigation map.

With so much flexibility in design, we would not be surprised if the next-generation GTI is given multiple gauge cluster layouts over its lifetime, including a few that become available after customers take delivery. Since the new Golf is a completely connected car, over-the-air updates could be an excellent method for allowing owners to download new gauge cluster layouts before a weekend drive. Might we see some retro-themed gauges from the original Rabbit GTI? The possibilities here are endless.

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