Volkswagen's GTI enters electric age with ID GTI Concept

Drive can’t ignore that the German carmaker has just unveiled the ‘hot’ version of its forthcoming budget electric hatchback, the ID 2all.

Based on the ID 2all Concept, – a car which VW intends to put on sale by 2025 for “around €25,000” – the ID GTI Concept was unveiled at the IAA Mobility show in Munich last week, with the announcement that it “will be built as a sports car for the electric age that is suitable for everyday use”.

Thus, it seems that the marque’s iconic GTI badge – which, needless to say, stands for ‘Grand Touring Injection’ – will endure in the electric age, despite the fact that there will no longer be any actual ‘injection’ involved in this new performance model, which features many stylistic nods to its petrol-powered GTI forbearers: that familiar black ‘honeycomb’ grille with red flashing, sports seats emblazoned with tartan (now stripes rather than checks) and wheels which evoke the Pirelli ‘P-Slot’ alloys of the original Mk1 Golf GTI from 1976 (though these are 20” rims, rather than 13”s). There’s even a ‘golf ball’-textured drive controller in tribute to the Mk1’s iconic gear knob. 

In the post-combustion engine age, the ‘I’ in ‘GTI’ will now stand for ‘Intelligence’ – as in “high-performance drive and chassis intelligence”, as VW put it, in this case including a front-axle differential lock that’s electronically controlled by a Vehicle Dynamics Manager just like in the current generation of the Golf GTI.

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However, because this system will be controlling an electrically driven motor in the ID GTI, the setup of the car’s powertrain can be customised much more specifically. Using the aforementioned GTI Experience Control, drivers can choose exactly which characteristics the powertrain in their car should have.

Intriguingly, VW say that this means it will be possible to adjust the drive system, running gear, steering, sound experience and even the simulated shift points to mimic those of historic GTI models like the Mk1 Golf GTI, the Golf GTI II 16V from 1986 or the Golf GTI IV 25th anniversary model from 2001.

According to Volkswagen “this makes the ID GTI Concept a highly dynamic time machine” - which is a pretty cool line, you have to admit.

There are no details on how soon we can expect to see the ID GTI appear after the ID 2all goes on sale, or indeed how much it will cost – though somewhere north of €30k would seem highly likely.