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The VW ID. GTI Concept Is the Future of Your Favorite German Hot Hatch

Front-wheel drive, aggressive styling, and fully electric, this is the future of the legendary Golf GTI.
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Meet the future of Volkswagen’s legendary GTI hot hatch: the electric VW ID. GTI Concept. Hot on the heels of the untimely death of the manual transmission GTI, this is a preview of what the beloved GTI was sacrificed for. This is the electric future of one of the most celebrated hot hatches in history.

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VW says this car will go into production, or at least something close to it. The company’s exact language is that the “GTI Concept is more than just a show car—it is the first glimpse
of the exciting GTI future because the decision has been taken that it will go into
production.” The showroom-ready version might not be identical, but it looks like we can treat this concept as a close preview of what’s to come.

The ID. GTI is based on the VW ID.2all—which is effectively the modern Golf—but given the GTI (performance-oriented) treatment. A blocky, funky body kit ups the aggression, with plenty of small adornments that are inspired by the GTI’s sporting heritage. A fake diffuser, heavily contoured side skirts, and a deep front lip all painted in black help hide the extra height from the battery pack. 

A single motor powers the front axle through an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, keeping the front-drive heritage of all GTIs. An interesting choice, since the EV evolution would have been an opportunity to go rear- or all-wheel drive. Front drive is clearly something VW considers crucial to the recipe of a GTI, and has included a Rolodex of “GTI Profiles” that can map the electric motor and onboard systems to look, sound, and feel like historic GTI models. There are even simulated shift points for each spoofed GTI, which currently includes the original Mk1 GTI, the Mk2 GTI 16-valve, or the Mk4 GTI 25th Anniversary.

Volkswagen lists the ID. GTI concept’s dimensions at 161.6 inches long with a 102.4-inch wheelbase, running 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and 245/35 tires (about 9.6 inches wide). The concept car is 59 inches tall and 72.4 inches wide. For comparison, a 2022 Mk8 GTI is 168.8 inches long with a 103.6-inch wheelbase, and it’s 70.4 inches wide and 57.6 inches tall.

Inside, the ID. GTI is supposed to have 17.3 cubic feet of cargo space with a secondary stowage box that fits another 1.8 cubic feet.

In the cockpit, a 10.9-inch Digital Cockpit in front of the driver will feed you the necessary information and will apparently have a party trick where it can copy the cluster of an old Mk2 Golf. VW’s also teasing the idea of a track-map overlay “augmented reality” situation where you can see your position around a racetrack like you’re playing a video game. As VW puts it: “If the
driver goes on to the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in GTI mode, for example, they can display the course and their position on the far left of the windshield.”

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The GTI nerds in the crowd (myself included) are also keenly aware of what GTI stands for: Grand Touring Injection. This is something that isn’t possible with an EV because there is no Injection happening, of any kind. VW addressed this by changing the “I” from Injection to “Intelligence.” Kudos to them for thinking of that detail, though I wish VW chose something cooler (especially since “ID” moniker is supposed to stand for ” intelligent design, identity and visionary technologies” already). Maybe this one could have been “Interceptor?” I digress.

This is the start of a new era for Volkswagen performance cars, and I think it’s promising. With the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N pulling a similar move in mimicking gasoline, there’s a pattern starting to form with cheap EV performance cars in capturing the essence of what made them great. Maybe, just maybe, we have something to look forward to here.

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