Home » VW Is Finally Making An Electric GTI, And It Can Mimic Old GTIs

VW Is Finally Making An Electric GTI, And It Can Mimic Old GTIs

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Volkswagen came blazing into the EV space with the sort of vigor of a person being chased by a bear, except that bear was Dieselgate. They had what seemed to be a winning platform with MEB, and their plans to re-birth the old Microbus as the ID.Buzz promised real excitement. But the ID.Buzz still isn’t for sale in America just yet (it is in Europe, though) and VW’s other EV offerings have been competent, but not really terribly exciting. Happily, it seems VW is getting the message, as they’ve just shown the first all-electric GTI: the ID.GTI. It looks like it hits all of the fundamental GTI traits, and even can do impressions of earlier GTIs. This is a good application for the unique abilities of an EV, so I’m curious and excited.

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It’s also worth noting that even though this seems to be an electric Golf GTI, it’s probably better to think of it as a GTI variant of the ID platform. That’s because even though most of us associate GTI with the original Golf GTI model, the truth is that VW has applied the ethos of GTI-hood to a lot of models: Polo, Scirocco, and even the little Up!. They even played with the idea of a Passat GTI back in the day.

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As you can see, there are traditional GTI cues all over the car, like in the honeycomb grille pattern and those wheels, which are designed to evoke the Pirelli rim from the Mark 1 Golf GTI and the Denver rim from the Golf GTI Mark 5.

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So, what we’re looking at here is the ID.2all  that we’re not actually getting in America but marinated in thick, spicy GTI sauce, and all that contains: speed, great handling, real driver engagment, and, I hope, plaid, lots of plaid. Since it’s an EV a golf-ball-type gearshift is probably not in the cards, but the effect has been applied to the center-stack screen control knob thing, it seems. VW showed the ID.GTI at IAA in Munich, but the interior images seem to be renders.

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There seems to be a lot going on in these interior shots, but I’m skeptical about how much will really make it into production. Like, these illuminated pedals are cool:

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…but is that really the sort of thing a production car, especially something that VW hopes will be it’s entry-level EV, is likely to have? I do like how the usual accelerator/play icon has been swapped with a “fast forward” set of double-arrows, too, for, you know, extra speed.

I couldn’t find details about that “POWER UP” button there in VW’s press release, but it seems like it could be a sort of push-to-pass, momentary power boost sort of thing, which should be possible with an EV drivetrain, at least in theory.

Oh, and that heart icon there seems to have a purpose as well:

“[the seats] inner surfaces naturally have a reinterpreted GTI plaid pattern, with fabric being called Jack-e instead of Jacky, the name used for the fabric in the Mark 6 Golf GTI. The driver’s seat backrest is additionally equipped with the GTI Heartbeat, a red pulse sensor. When the concept vehicle is locked using the remote control, this activates the anti-theft alarm: the GTI Heartbeat, which is visible from outside, signals to the driver that the vehicle is secure.”

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Huh. Okay. This concept also plays around a lot with heads-up displays, for both driver and passenger, and I’m also a bit skeptical that’ll make it to production:

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“The designers and engineers have also taken a new approach with the augmented reality head-up display. It projects a new data set onto the windshield, now for the passenger as well as the driver. This means the virtual and real worlds are merged for the ‘co-driver’ as well. In standard driving mode, information such as the speed or current range is projected in front of the driver and front passenger. In this basic configuration, the GTI Silver Drive white is used for the background lighting and displays. Activate the new GTI mode, and the background lighting and all displays switch to the GTI Red Turbo color.”

Oh, and like the regular ID.2all concept we reported about earlier, the digital instrument cluster will be able to emulate the look of GTI dashboards from decades past, which is pretty fun. I think that can definitely stay in for production, as its just bitmap files and software.

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The whole point of the GTI has always been a way to have a car that’s both practical and fun, and according to VW’s press release, that still seems to be the goal:

“Thomas Schäfer, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, sums up the appeal of Volkswagen’s GTI cars: “The perfect combination of driving pleasure and everyday usability—that is what the GTI letters have meant for decades. With this 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 electrification plans. The ID. GTI Concept is a Volkswagen sports car for the electric age that is suitable for everyday driving: 100 percent electric, 100 percent emotion.”

So, it looks like this thing is destined to be actually produced, which is good news.

Like all the other GTIs, this is a front-wheel drive machine, complete with a front axle differential lock, computer controlled by a system called the Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which is similar to what is used in current combustion GTIs.

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Speaking of dynamics, VW doesn’t have power or torque or range numbers, but we do know the specs on the ID.2all, which are quite decent: 223 horsepower, 0-62 speeds in under seven seconds, and an estimated range of 280 miles. I would expect a GTI variant to have better numbers for everything, except perhaps range.

VW is pretty generous with other specs, specifically dimensions:

ID. GTI Concept
Length 161.6 in
Width 72.4 in
Height 59.0 in
Wheelbase 102.4 in
Storage volume 17.3-47.0 cu ft
Wheels 245/35 R20

It’s a roomy little hatchback, exactly as it should be. It’s also one of the most effective small hatchback designs at hiding the fact it has four doors; if I didn’t know there was a rear door back there, I don’t think I’d have guessed.

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The stance is wide and athletic, and that sort-of-zig-zag C-pillar body panel feels very familiar and has sort of become a GTI/Golf design trademark. I like it. This isn’t too showy, but it does have a lot of presence and appeal.

17216 Volkswagenelectrifiesitssportingiconthefirstall Electricgticonceptdebutsattheiaainmunich LargeThe taillight design is now a full-width heckblende-type deal, with the lighting elements under a smoked cover to make them, you know, sinister.

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Really, though, the big party trick of the ID.GTI seems to be the fact it can do impressions. As VW describes it:

This is possible because the set-up of the electric drive motor and its system can be varied almost infinitely. This permits realization of a wide range of different GTI profiles. Using a newly developed GTI Experience Control on the center console, the driver can choose which characteristics the ID. GTI Concept’s powertrain should have. For the first time, it is possible to adjust the drive system, running gear, steering, sound, and even the simulated shift points in the style of one of the historic GTI models—such as the original 1976 Golf GTI, the first 16-valve Golf GTI Mark 2 from 1986 or the 2001 Golf GTI Mark 4 ‘25 years of GTI’. This makes the ID. GTI Concept a highly dynamic time machine.

An electric motor has a lot of flexibility in how the power coming from it can be doled out, and if that means adjusting output or torque, or setting artificial shift points so it feels like a hot hatch from the 1980s, you can do it. Here at Autopian HQ, we’ve been talking about this very idea for years, so it’s exciting to see an automaker finally really talking about it. David has a huge article about just this concept like halfway finished, even.

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If VW actually gets this to market, it’ll hit a couple big things VW needs to hit: an entry-level EV, and an actually fun EV. I hope they pull it off.

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Sivad Nayrb
Sivad Nayrb
10 months ago

Nope.

Lacks the proper 3-pedals, and manual transmission with golf ball shift knob.

ScottyB
ScottyB
10 months ago

It’s most not bad but dear God, please, enough with idiotic faux-coupe look with the rear door handles hidden in the pillar. Either have the balls to make an actual coupe/3-door, or just stop with tacky gimmicks and own up to the reality of having 4 doors. I hate this feature so much it’s makes any vehicle with this feature a hard no.

Power G
Power G
10 months ago
Reply to  ScottyB

They are slowly loosing their UX design sight…

LuzifersLicht
LuzifersLicht
10 months ago

I don’t quite get the appeal of the “play/stop” pedal thing. Surely if you don’t know what the pedals do you have no business being in the driver’s seat. Imagine getting into a car and the driver has two post-its on the wheel saying “<- left” and “right ->” … I’d be getting out of that car like it was on fire.

Ben
Ben
10 months ago

If automakers aren’t going to spend any money on interior design I’m not going to spend any money on their cars.

Frackle
Frackle
10 months ago

too futuristic and does too much to imitate an ICE car. they should make a car grounded in present automotive design language that looks completely different from a car.

Myk El
Myk El
10 months ago

That does not look to have tartan seat fabric. Maybe the interior lighting can produce some sort of plaid lighting.

Ben
Ben
10 months ago
Reply to  Myk El

I feel like I watched a video about some luxury maker, maybe Lexus, that was literally projecting texture onto their doors with LEDs. This may not be as crazy as it sounds.

Scone Muncher
Scone Muncher
10 months ago

I’d put the odds of this coming to North America at, oh… 50:1? We don’t get the ID.2 or ID.3 so why would this be any different?

Strangek
Strangek
10 months ago

I think this looks great. It looks, mostly, like a new GTI. I appreciate that it doesn’t look like some sort of futuristic lifestyle appliance like many EVs these days. Seeing the interior with no shifter made me sad though and reminded me of what I’m actually looking at, I guess that’s the electric reality we live in though.

Power G
Power G
10 months ago
Reply to  Strangek

I though VW is done with their touch buttons.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
10 months ago

Whole lotta “if”s in this article.

That’s why Baron Usurper Motors is proud to announce its newest compact EV. In addition to coming with our patent-pending 500-miles-in-5-minutes battery tech, our concept hot hatch EV, code-named “Speedy”, will provide 224 horsepower and 0-63 speeds in under six seconds. We guarantee it will be just as real as every other concept car you’ll see in Detroit/Dallas/LA.
Potential investors can find me at The Hawk in Long Beach every night until 12am for an in-person review of concept art and prospectus.

Last edited 10 months ago by Baron Usurper
TOSSABL
TOSSABL
10 months ago

Well, I have my doubts, but am willing to at least try it and see what it’ll do. As in, will it lift the inside rear in tight corners? Can I throw it at a corner, then induce trailing-throttle oversteer? The different settings sounds cool, but it can’t magically get rid of weight, so I’d be quite surprised if it could seriously imitate my 82 Rabbit LS that I effectively turned into a 4door GTI. That weighed under 2000lbs and you can’t fake lightness.

Thevenin
Thevenin
10 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

People fake lightness using photoshop all the time.

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