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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