The VW ID. GTI Concept is set to become a real hot hatch

By topgear, 05 September 2023

The Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept is set to become a real hot hatch

You read that correctly: the GTI badge has a future in the electric age after all, and the Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept is the car that proves it. Huzzah!

Based on the ID.2all concept that was revealed back in March, the ID. GTI is the hot hatch version that head of design Andreas Mindt (who drew up the Mk7 Golf) has quietly had in mind all along.

And as you can see from the gallery above, various GTI hallmarks have been retained: the red grille surround (though the ‘grille’ is mostly closed), the towing eyes, the flared wheelarches, the head-turning alloys (eight double-spoke 20s, since you ask), the chequer seats... it’s all there.

Even the golf ball of all things lives on. Sort of. No manual shift of course, so instead it’s been chopped and repurposed as a rotary dial on the centre console. We applaud the sentiment.

Other additions include LED daytime and matrix headlights lights, a motorsport-inspired front bumper, a front splitter, two-part rear diffuser and roof spoiler, all finished in matt black, of course.

The dimensions are thus: 4,104mm long, 1,840mm wide, 1,499mm tall and a wheelbase measuring 2,600mm; makes for short overhangs, VW says.

If you’re hastily skimming for performance details, you can’t have ‘em, sorry. For now VW will only commit to vague promises of low weight (in an EV?), good aero, comfy ride and a large battery. Hmm

However, it has disclosed that the GTI Concept will be front-wheel drive and get the electronic, front locking differential that debuted on the GTI and GTI Clubsport, no less.

Controlled by a Vehicle Dynamics Manager, it means the driver will be able to configure the drive, running gear, sound experience (fake engine noise?) and simulated shift (fake gearchanges) points. As such, the ‘I’ in GTI now stands for ‘intelligence’ as well as ‘injection’.

Inside, all we have to go on for now is digital sketches, although the 12.9in touchscreen and climate control block is said to be near enough to production spec.

Note that the air con gets illuminated buttons (please don’t be haptic, please don’t be haptic) and there’s a thumbwheel for volume control. Some lessons learned from the ID.3, we see.

Also included are two wireless charging pads with magnetic locking, several USB-Cs and a 10.9in digital cockpit ahead of the driver. In ‘Vintage’ mode, this’ll present you with the instrument panel from the original GTI. Cool!

There’s also an HUD, and there’s some pie-in-the-sky concept stuff here as it combines augmented reality tech to project things like lap times and a map of the Nurburgring (if you’re racing there) onto the windscreen.

Speed and range are placed in front of the driver; in GTI mode, everything turns into a Red Turbo colour scheme. More likely for the eventual real deal are the 12 o’clock marker on the three-spoke, multifunction steering wheel.

It’s a four-door, naturally, with room for five passengers and lots of stowage areas for all of their stuff. The boot’s 490-litres, extending to 1,330 litres with the 60:40 split rear bench collapsed. Underneath there’s a lockable 50-litre cubby: ideal for laptops, says VW, or charging cables if you don’t use them very often.

“The perfect combination of driving pleasure and everyday usability – that is what the three letters GTI have meant for decades,” said VW CEO Thomas Schäfer.

“With the ID. GTI Concept, we are transporting the GTI DNA into the electric age. It remains sporty, iconic, technologically progressive and accessible, but now has a new interpretation for tomorrow’s world: electric, fully connected and extremely emotive.

"Here, driving pleasure and sustainability are a perfect match. This means GTI has a future – for our brand and for the fans. Production has already been decided as part of our electric offensive. A Volkswagen sportscar for the electric age that is suitable for everyday driving: 100 per cent electric – 100 per cent emotion.”

On that note: no sign of that weird GT-lightning badge that VW was caught trademarking last month. Must’ve been a red herring.

We digress. Design boss Mindt had this to add: “With the ID. GTI Concept, we are showing what a great future the GTI philosophy has at Volkswagen. In my opinion, the powerful ID. 2all is the perfect basis for an electric GTI. I already had the GTI in mind when I first put pen to paper for the ID. 2all. It is now becoming reality and allowing us to project the GTI idea into the new age of electric mobility.”

The reveal of the GTI Concept comes exactly 48 years after the Mk1 Golf GTI was unveiled in Frankfurt. This effort will be on display at the Munich motor show, but we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future: ‘series development has already been decided’.

GTI lives. Now come on VW, make it good.

STORY Joe Holding

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