The next 12 years of the car are going to be tumultuous. A once-in-a-lifetime shift in propulsion means that automakers will need to largely reinvent their lineups to hop aboard the EV train. While a whole lot of things are expected to change over the next dozen years, one thing might not: An important name in car enthusiast circles. An Autocar report citing sources within Volkswagen suggests that the Golf nameplate might be sticking around for the German marque’s electric future.
First, a bit of context. In 2021, Volkswagen unveiled a small car concept called the ID.Life. It’s certainly retro, but Volkswagen’s CEO allegedly hated it so much that he sacked the head of design. According to this Autocar report, the ID.Life is about as dead as a dodo, and Volkswagen’s actual electric small car will look much more conventional. So much more conventional, in fact, that Volkswagen’s thinking of abandoning the ID.2 label for something much more familiar. If Volkswagen decides to call the ID.2 the Golf, it would be a smart move. After all, once everything’s electric, what use are most of these electric car model names? Golf has decades of brand equity, ID.2 has virtually none at all.
Then there’s the matter of what this thing might be like. We could know more in as little as a month as a concept debut is reportedly imminent. Expect to see a hatchback that’s roughly 167.3 inches (4,250 mm) long, a little more than an inch shorter than the current Golf and just a few inches longer than the iconic Mk4 Golf of the early 2000s. What’s more, it should ride on Volkswagen’s MEB-Plus platform, which could be considered a minus depending on how strongly you feel about rear-wheel-drive. Yes, expect a single motor up front to start and possible dual-motor all-wheel-drive. While a rear-motor layout eliminates torque steer from EVs, having the motor up front should offer a packaging benefit given Volkswagen’s track record of saying no to frunks.
The whole vehicle should be affordable too, with an expected starting price around €22,500. That’s roughly Corolla money, which sounds excellent for an electric car. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are expected to do their part in contributing to the vehicle’s low cost, although I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if base models are sparsely-equipped.
Oh, and if the Golf might live on, so too might the GTI. In fact, the GTX trim level has been killed entirely in favor of GTI. It’s possible that we could see an electric hot hatch concept at Worthersee this May, or even in Locarno, Switzerland this September. I reckon any world with more hot hatches is good, even if Volkswagen’s new electric C-segement car is expected to weigh a hefty 1,600 to 1,700 kilograms (3,527 to 3,748 pounds). For context, cars lighter than that include the F30 BMW 328i, the Volkswagen Passat CC, and the Cadillac CT4. Oof.
Mind you, if there’s any car group that can make a relatively heavy car feel like a hot hatchback, it’ll be the same one that made the Bentley Continental GT. Plus, it would all bode well for the future of reasonably attainable enthusiast vehicles. As it stands with EVs, the Porsche Taycan is a good driver’s car, but it’s also very expensive. Something on the more affordable end of the spectrum would go a long way towards placating enthusiasts who don’t want to daily drive something normal.
In case Volkswagen fans don’t want to jump into electrification right away, the standard MQB Golf seems to have a long life ahead of it. It’s due for a refresh in 2024, which means there’s a chance that the traditional combustion model and its electric replacement could be sold side-by-side for years. While change can be scary, things like the Golf nameplate potentially sticking around help bridge the gap between what is and what will be. One thing’s for sure though, the roads will look a whole lot different in just a few years than they look today.
(Photo credits: Volkswagen)
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Half the fun is the manual transmission, so an electric will just be a Tesla Model 3 dual motor, which is indeed fun, which I can have right now. So, ok, I guess.
Seems logical. This whole “I.D.” Business is going to age POORLY along with all the other “e-“ names. On top of that, it is a huge waste of hard-won brand equity. I think Chevy had the right idea using their current names and just adding “ev” to the name. They can just drop the suffix when they complete the transition.
While a PHEV, a GTE has existed for a few years now, something like that would be a good bridge for many even though VW is jumping straight to the EV side.
On that note, I wouldn’t hate more electrified variants that are closer to the original sport variants on the market in the same nameplate. Much of the “fun” seems to be on EVs alone with the 3 second 0-60 bragging rights. Honda is pushing their hybrids as sport variants, but those are more appearance-package-esque sport trims. Maybe and an eSi or Type-E (well that sounds more all-EV, Type-H perhaps)?
As much as I’m happy for the VW GTI image and name to survive, if it becomes an EV it will likely be nearly impossible for me to get excited about. I’ve driven numerous EVs (Tesla Model S and 3, Mustang Mach E, and Hyundai Ionic 5 EV) and they are quick and luxurious, but they are also boring. I’m more excited for E-fuels, they may still pollute but at least it’s a closed loop pollution (in theory).
At David’s party I was talking to Torch about how VW should bring Back the Beetle badge for the first “people’s car” PEV. I believe Golf and Beetle platforms are same/similar. Who knows… the future is bright.
They should have sacked the person who came up with the ID Life name.
I would easily go for a current Golf sized EV if: They ditched the goofy new headlight shapes, corrected the shitty design of the dashboard and controls and could offer me 400KM (250M) range which would completely cover my regular use case.
Feel free to cost cut by eliminating glass roofs, robo-gadgets and their sensors, and any other stupid ‘mobility lifestyle’ add ons. Hell, keep the wheels at 16″ too.
Personally I think the ID.3 should have been just referred to as the Mk 9 Golf (the current ICE model being the Mk 8)
And apparently the ID.2 will be almost as big as the ID.3, but be FWD instead of RWD… which in my view is kind of pointless.
Here’s what I think VAG should do… take the ID.3, make a dual motor version and that would be the Golf R.
Then rename the RWD ID.3 as the Golf GTI and have it use the rear motor from the Golf R
And have the cheapest version called the ‘Golf’… using the smaller front motor from the Golf R to power the rear wheels.
Then continue to sell the older ICE Golf as the ‘Golf Classic’ or something like that until sales drop off or it becomes unsellable for regulatory reasons.
And for a smaller electric model below the current Golf, call it the Mk 7 Polo… and its exterior dimensions should be no bigger than the current Polo… a car that is already bigger than the VW Golf of the 1980s.
As long as it still has plaid seats
I hope they bring whatever it ends up being to the U.S. — preferably in regular and GTI flavors. The e-Golf was hampered by its range, and boosting this would be nice. (Whether it would sell here is a problem.)
So, an electric Golf…maybe they can call it an e-Golf?
I get that the original e-Golf was underwhelming, but doesn’t seem like a reason to abandon the name.
Or if they really want this “ID” stuff, call it the Golf ID3.
*recalls the ’00s VW lineup and all their electrical gremlins*
And now they want to to go majority EV? VW, your engineers are so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they haven’t stopped to think if they should.
Seeing nearly new VWs and Audis with lights out over the years did not give me confidence in the brand.
It seems to have improved now that they use LEDs for everything, but still.
Honestly, why wasn’t VW doing this from the beginning? They have good names, they have brand equity, they’re all more memorable than ID.whatever. Use real names for the cars. Hell some of the old ones could even come back. Quantum works for an EV name.
That said I’d probably make the Id.3 the Golf and the ID.2 could be the Polo.
I always had assumed the id3 and golf would eventually combine.
It’s all the brands! Hyundai lumping everything under Ioniq, Kia under EV, Buick under Electra (at least the name rocks), Toyota under bZ, etc. Maddening. VW could at least call it the ID.Golf.
It is, and it’s gonna seem wicked stupid and dated inside of like, five years.
And add to that the Scout brand for VW’s electric off-roaders. You could extend it outside of the EV space with sub-brands like Ford rolling out different vehicles under the Bronco name.
I’d say maybe even Lightning for more electric Ford trucks, though that’s a bit more like how e-tron progressed through the Audi lineup (at least after starting as its own – but I like how it progressed).
GM seems to be the main one sharing the same name between conventional and electric variants with the Blazer/Equinox/etc. Will be interesting to see how that shakes out over time.