According to VW design chief Klaus Bischoff (pictured), the designers were given the brief to “design a new original” rather than updating the New Beetle, introduced in 1998.
“The new car retains the round headlights of the New Beetle as well as the angular aero chin of the new generation of Volkswagens. A bar along the rocker panel — a vestigial running board, if you will — visually emphasizes the car’s length.
It is the rear end that nags the eye. The symmetrical double arcs of the previous model’s fenders have given way to an elongated rear fender. The lines of the fender, roof and hatch meet haphazardly, like the intersection of three meandering country roads.
Then there is that squashed roof. It makes the car seem deflated — the pneumatic New Beetle with a slow leak. As you look at it you get the feeling that when the designers finished the car they gave it a final whump on top — like the pat you’d apply to fat Dagwood sandwich before you took it to the den to watch the second half of the game.”