Volkswagen has revealed the first electric car to carry the famous GTI badge, in the form of a concept at the Munich motor show.
Although only a concept for now, the car will go some way towards answering the question of what a Volkswagen GTI product looks like in the fast-approaching, all-electric future.
The answer, for now at least, is a five-door, five-seat hatchback that shares its foundations and overall dimensions with the ID.2all, another concept revealed by Volkswagen earlier in 2023. While that concept hinted at what a circa-£25,000 electric car might look like, VW is using the new model to show how some GTI spice might change the recipe.
Clearly defined wheel arches hugging 20-inch alloys, a low chin with motorsport-style tow hooks and the famous red GTI detailing on the front grille and steering wheel, along with a modern reinterpretation of the original Golf GTI’s fabric sports seats, all give the car a sporty aesthetic.
The ID. GTI Concept is slightly shorter than the current-generation VW Golf, while being a little wider and almost the same height. In a world where cars are forever growing, we’re big fans of the relatively compact dimensions VW is aiming for here. We’re also pleased to see VW describe the vehicle as “more than just a show car,” adding: “...it is the first glimpse of the exciting GTI future because its series development has already been decided.”
Our dictionary of German corporate PR speak suggests that last bit could mean: “Volkswagen will put a GTI-badged electric hatchback, with the general looks and dimensions of this concept, into production.” This is very good news indeed.
Volkwagen hasn’t yet revealed the technical specifications of the car. But it has previously said how the regular ID. 2all concept produces 166 kW (222 horsepower), sprints to 62 mph in under 7.0 seconds, has a top speed of 99 mph and a range of approximately 280 miles. It’s safe to assume the GTI version will be more powerful and quicker than that, albeit likely with a slightly shorter range. VW also said how the regular car would charge from 10 to 80 percent in around 20 minutes.
VW plans to reveal a production version of the regular ID.2 in 2025, and although it hasn’t set a due date for the GTI, it surely won’t be far behind. The price of the GTI is anyone’s guess for now, but if a base-level ID.2 can sneak in under €25,000 (about £21,000), then around £30,000 for the hot version seems reasonable.
Further nods to the original Golf GTI from 1976 include a red stripe at the 12 o’clock position of the steering wheel, and a driving mode selector designed to resemble the iconic ‘golf ball’ gear knob of the first GTI. The concept interior also features a 10.9in digital display in front of the driver and 12.9in infotainment touchscreen that VW describes as “already a near-production version with its intuitive graphics and menu structure.” Hopefully it's easier to navigate than the berated system of the ID.3.
On that note, VW appears to have listened to critical feedback of its recent infotainment systems. Even though it’s still a concept interior, the company notes how the climate controls are illuminated (unlikes those of the ID.3) and “easily accessible for both driver and front passenger” – again, a subtle nod at mistakes made with the ID.3 and how its frustrating touch controls are angled at the driver.
VW even says how the GTI has a “practical small thumbwheel” in the centre of the dashboard for adjusting music volume – also something sorely missing from the cabin of today’s electric Volkswagens. A pair of physical scroll wheels are also found on the steering wheel, and VW has fitted dedicated buttons for all four electric windows, instead of the ID.3’s system where two buttons are joined by a ‘Rear’ selector for airing the second row.
Another practical detail is how the rear bench seat can be folded up to reveal extra, lockable storage, along with chargers for laptops, phones and tablets.
This all suggests that, a) VW has listened to the criticism aimed at its first electric cars, and b) the first battery-powered GTI might be called a concept, but we reckon it’s very close to the real thing.