Volkswagen Previews GTI’s Electric Future With the Tiny ID.GTI Concept

This first MEB-based GTI concept will go into production

  • After half a century since the Golf GTI’s initial debut, an equally seismic shift is about to kick off within VW’s performance sub-brand.
  • This Volkswagen ID.GTI concept previews what the potential of the automaker’s electric performance models will be.
    • Based on the ID.2all concept from March, this car is smaller than a Golf, but larger than the subcompact Polo.
  • VW confirmed this model will go into production, but it’s not clear exactly which markets will get it or what the performance specs will be just yet.

The Volkswagen ID.GTI concept is a glimpse into the near-future changes for the automaker’s hot hatches.

It’s been 48 years since the brand responsible for the people’s car launched the original hot hatchback, and GTI expanded out to several other models over the years, including the Scirocco, the Polo and even the microscopic Up!. Now, though, Volkswagen is preparing to turn the page to electrify the GTI brand. That starts here, with the diminutive ID.GTI Concept at the IAA show in Munich, Germany.

VW’s tiny electric GTI follows the ID.2all concept from back in March, and the company used that as a base for this hot version. While it’s technically a concept, we do know this car will actually go into production. There are still some question marks over when and where the ID.GTI will launch, but this will be the first among VW’s initial wave of performance-minded EVs.

If you’re curious just how big it is, the ID.GTI measures out to 161.6 inches long on a 102.4-inch wheelbase, 72.4 inches wide and 59.0 inches tall. Size-wize, that pegs it between a Polo and the Mk8 Golf.

“100 percent electric, 100 percent emotion”

Concepts are a hotbed for interesting styling and technological touches, even if they won’t necessarily make it to production. That’s what we have here, with a head-up display actually showing lap times in the corner of the windshield, should you take your ID.GTI to the Nürburgring. Another interesting touch that sticks out is VW’s “GTI Experience Control” system — a switch on the center console that changes the drive modes not just between boring presets like Eco and Sport, but changes up the characteristics to match past GTI models. If you want your ID.GTI to feel like a Mk1 Golf GTI, a Mk2 or a later Mk4 from the early aughts, you’re only one click away, says VW.

Now, the company did not mention any performance specs or even the size of its battery. VW, for its part, just said the car will have a “large” battery and exhibit the tagline, “100 percent electric, 100 percent emotion”, per CEO Thomas Schäfer.

There’s no word yet on whether this car will come to the US market. Since we’re talking about a small hatchback, it’s doubtful, though the company could aim to launch this in as many markets as possible. More likely, we’ll see a larger model to effectively replace the Mk8 Golf GTI (and perhaps even the Golf R) in a few years’ time. For now, though, VW will keep both cars around for American buyers, though it does plan to ax the manual transmission option from the Golf GTI after next year.