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Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept brings the GTI badge into the electric age

Volkswagen’s first electric GTI will be a big deal, and the new ID. GTI Concept is our best look yet at what VW has in store

Volkswagen ID. GTI concept - front

It’s been seven years since Volkswagen last applied the GTI badge to an entirely new model. That car was the Up! GTI: a firecracker version of a city car that was also available as an unassuming EV. Expectations are sky high then for the first electric model to wear the badge, previewed by the car you see here: the ID. GTI Concept.

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Unveiled at IAA Mobility, otherwise known as the Munich Motor Show, the ID. GTI is a preview of Volkswagen’s first all-electric GTI model, and is based on the ID. 2all concept shown back in the spring.

The ID. GTI certainly hits the right visual notes. The ID. 2all was already a neat design, but the ID. GTI juices things up with a red stripe in the grille (closed off, being an EV), an offset GTI badge, and unique 20-inch alloy wheels. All of this is topped-off by a Golf Clubsport-style rear spoiler, plus an aggressive diffuser to make the ID. GTI seem a bit more purposeful than the comparatively friendly-looking ID.2all.

The ID. GTI almost seems like the perfect size for an electric hot hatchback; it’s near-as-makes-no-difference 4.1 metres long, or about 5cm longer than the current petrol-powered Volkswagen Polo. At 1.5m high and just over 1.8m wide, the ID. GTI is a little larger than the Polo in every dimension, though the car’s stocky proportions and minuscule overhangs do well to hide it.

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A wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) bang-on the 2.6m mark promises greater interior space than the Polo too, as does a 490-litre boot which is quite a bit larger than the MG4 XPower’s.

VW hasn’t shied away from ticking all the GTI boxes inside, either. The original GTI’s most iconic feature was its dimpled, ‘golf-ball’ gearknob, but with no gears to change here, Volkswagen’s designers have instead carried the motif across to the ‘GTI Experience Control’ driving mode selector on the centre console.

You can also switch the standard digital instrument layout to a ‘Vintage’ mode, that evokes the Mk1 Golf GTI’s iconic dials – though in a nod to modernity, an augmented reality head-up display is also included, not just for the driver but also the passenger. This can even display race track info, if you take a wrong turn and end up on the Nurburgring. The seats meanwhile have a reinterpretation of the famous tartan-style pattern present on numerous generations of GTI, as well as a pulsing LED ‘heartbeat’ in the backrest, visible when the vehicle is locked.

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Frustratingly, Volkswagen hasn’t dangled even the smallest morsel of information about the car’s electric drivetrain or its performance, though given the ID. 2all is already claimed to make a punchy 223bhp, we reckon the production version of the ID. GTI will produce quite a bit more than that.

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The company claims 280 miles from a charge in the 2all concept, so assuming there’s not room to squeeze in a bigger battery here (and the extra weight would surely be detrimental to the car’s handling), it wouldn’t be too surprising to see slightly less range from ID. GTI car, with priority given to performance instead.

Speaking of handling, VW says the ID. GTI uses an electronic front differential lock, just like the petrol-powered Golf GTI, while electric power allows for even greater control of the car’s powertrain characteristics. The GTI Experience Control driving mode options will even let you simulate virtual shift points to match those of some classic GTI models – there’s no mention of a McDonald’s car park burnout feature, though.

Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer says the ID. GTI “[transports] the GTI DNA into the electric age,” reassuring fans of both the brand and the GTI label that GTI has a future – and that production of the ID. GTI has already been decided.

As well as performance, pricing is the big unknown at this stage, but with ID. 2all expected to arrive in 2025 in the low £20,000 range, we’d hope the production version of the GTI could at least sneak in under the £30,000 mark. Not quite the spectacular £14k bargain the Up GTI was when new, but hopefully comfortably less than the current Golf GTI, which starts at more than £36,000.

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