South Africa

GTI goes electric as Volkswagen previews ID.GTI Concept

Following the discovery of a trademark submission last month for an adapted version of its iconic GTI logo with an electric alteration, Volkswagen officially unveiled its first ever fully electric model to wear the iconic nameplate at the IAA in Munich overnight.

Change in focus and name

While initially believed to preview what could be expected from the incoming Mk 8.5 Golf, the ID. GTI Concept uses the incoming ID.2all as a base, thus providing a glimpse of what to expect from the replacement of the Polo GTI.

Said to pay homage to the original Mk I Golf GTI, the ID. GTI Concept’s significance goes further as its introduction also represents a change in the meaning of the GTI moniker itself.

Until now defined as Grand Touring Injection, the designation now stands for Grand Touring Intelligence and despite the electric motor up front, remains front-wheel-drive as past Golfs and Polos have been.

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“With the ID.GTI 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. Here, driving pleasure and sustainability are a perfect match. This means GTI has a future – for our brand and for the fans,” Volkswagen Passenger Brand CEO Thomas Schäfer said.

“Production has already been decided as part of our electric offensive. A Volkswagen sports car for the electric age that is suitable for everyday driving: 100 per cent electric – 100 per cent emotion”.

Tribute to the past

Showcased as a rolling concept projected to go on-sale in 2027, two to three afters after the production ID.2all that will replace the Polo before 2025, ID. GTI Concept rides on the same MEB Entry platform as its sibling, but as indicated, boasts a number of GTI specific exterior touches.

Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept revealed
Concept is mounted on 20-inch alloy wheels. Image: Volkswagen.

These include 20-inch alloy wheels derived from the Golf 5 GTI, a faux rear diffuser, a sealed grille with a thin red strip and illuminated grille bar, sportier front and rear bumpers said to take inspiration from the Mk I and Mk II Golf GTI , widened door sills, extended wheel arches and a gloss black bootlid spoiler.

Despite not going into detail about the concept’s dynamics, Wolfsburg did confirm an overall length of 4 104 mm, wheelbase of 2 600 mm, height of 1 499 mm and width of 1 840 mm.

GTI Experience

Inside, the series of sketch drawings provided by Volkswagen shows a pair of digital displays and further past GTI details conforming to what it calls the GTI Experience Control system.

Being a concept, some of the tech is likely to be toned down for the production variant, but nonetheless includes a 10.9-inch instrument cluster, a 12.9-inch infotainment system and an augmented reality Head-Up display that projects readouts onto the entire windscreen.

Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept revealed
Interior incorporates new and retro design touches. Image: Volkswagen.

Elsewhere, the tartan fabric seats have been retained, but renamed Jack-e in reference to the name Jacky used for material on the Mk VI GTI.

A pulsating red sensor, confirming when the car is locked, completes the interior, along with a slimline centre console, minimalist dashboard with red lighting, a retro-steering wheel with an illuminated 12 o’clock marking, and a golf pattern on the gear selector that moves to the steering column in response to Volkswagen’s phasing-out of the manual gearbox before it goes wholly electric in 2030.

In terms of boot space, the ID. GTI Concept offers up to 490-litres of space with the rear seats up and 1 330-litres with the 60/40 split rear back folded down.

More than Polo GTI?

Besides drive going to the front wheels, technical details of the concept remained under wraps with no power or performance figures were divulged either.

What is known though is that the ID.2all produces 166 kW, 14 kW more than the European-market Polo GTI, which has ignited speculation of the ID. GTI Concept being capable of more grunt than the 180 kW made by the Golf 8 GTI.

Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept revealed
Augmented reality Head-Up Display projects information onto the entire windscreen. Image: Volkswagen.

In addition, the claimed 0-100 km/h sprint, which takes seven seconds in the ID.2all, could dip below six seconds depending on the eventual output. Either way, this represents a 0.6 second improvement over the Polo GTI that will top out at 240 km/h.

Similar to the ID.2all, the ID. GTI Concept will have a range of 450 km, come standard with an 11 kW on-board charger and have to the ability to support charging up to 170 kW. According to Volkswagen, 20 minutes waiting time from 10-80% will be required.

Don’t hold your breath South Africa

Going on-sale in 2027 as mentioned, the ID. GTI Concept is unlikely to be offered in South Africa as a result of Volkswagen continuing with production of the Polo and Polo Vivo at its Kariega Plant after 2025.

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