Volkswagen has finally made an electric GTI, and it can replicate the GTIs of old
Volkswagen entered the world of electric cars with the kind of vigor that resembles someone being chased by a bear, except that bear was Dieselgate. They had what looked to be a winning platform with MEB, and their plans to rebirth the old Microbus under the ID.Buzz name promised real excitement. But the ID.Buzz still isn’t on sale in America yet (although it is in Europe) and VW’s other electric car offerings have been effective, but not really exciting. Fortunately, Volkswagen seems to have gotten the message, as it has just showcased its first all-electric GTI: the ID.GTI. It seems to match all the traits of the base GTI, and can even provide impressions of previous GTIs. This is a good application of the unique capabilities of an electric car, so I’m curious and excited.
It’s also worth noting that although this car looks like an electric Golf GTI, it’s better to think of it as a GTI version of the ID platform. This is because although most of us associate the GTI with the original Golf GTI, the truth is that VW has applied the spirit of the GTI cover to a lot of models: the Polo, the Scirocco, and even the little Up!. They even toyed with the idea of a Passat GTI in the past.
As you can see, there are traditional GTI cues throughout the car, such as 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 tire from the Golf GTI Mark 5.
So, what we’re looking at here is the ID.2, everything we don’t actually get in America but slathered in thick, spicy GTI sauce, and all of it has: speed, great handling, real driver engagement, and, I hope, plaid, lots of plaid. Since it’s an electric car, a golf-ball-type shifter probably isn’t in the cards, but it looks like the effect has been applied to the center stack display control knob. Volkswagen showed off the ID.GTI at the IAA in Munich, but interior photos appear to have been rendered.
There seems to be a lot going on in these interior shots, but I’m skeptical about how much of it will actually happen in production. Such light up pedals are great:
…But is this really the kind of production car, especially something VW hopes will be an entry-level electric car? I like how the usual accelerator/play icon has been replaced with a set of double “fast forward” arrows as well, for extra speed.
I couldn’t find details about this “POWER UP” button in the VW press release, but it is It seems As if it could be some kind of instantaneous boost to boost power, which should be possible with an EV drivetrain, at least in theory.
Oh, and this heart symbol seems to have a purpose, too:
“(The seats) The interior surfaces naturally feature a reinterpreted GTI plaid pattern, with the fabric labeled Jack-e instead of Jacky, which is the name used for the fabric in the Mark 6 Golf GTI. The driver’s seat backrest is also equipped with GTI Heartbeat, a pulse sensor Red When the concept car is locked using the remote control, this activates the anti-theft alarm: the GTI Heartbeat system, which can be seen from the outside, sends a signal to the driver that the car is safe.
Hah. OK. This concept is also frequently applied with head-up displays for both drivers And Passenger, and I’m also a bit skeptical about the possibility of it making it to production:
“Designers and engineers have also taken a new approach with the augmented reality head-up display. It displays a new set of data on the windshield, now for both the passenger and driver. This means that the virtual and real worlds have been integrated into the Driver Assistant as well. In driving mode As standard, information such as the current speed or range is displayed in front of the driver and front passenger. In this basic configuration, the white GTI Silver Drive is used for the backlighting and displays. Activate the new GTI mode, and the backlights and all displays turn into the GTI Red Turbo color.
Oh, and like the regular ID.2all concept we reported on earlier, the digital instrument cluster will be able to mimic the look of GTI dashboards from decades past, which is a lot of fun. I think it can definitely survive in production, as it’s just bitmap files and programs.
The primary goal of the GTI has always been to have a car that is both practical and fun, and according to a Volkswagen 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’s what the GTI letters have meant for decades. With this concept, we are bringing the GTI identity to the electric era. The car remains sporty, iconic, technologically progressive and accessible, but now has a new interpretation for the world of tomorrow: fully electric, fully connected and highly emotional. Here, driving pleasure and sustainability combine perfectly. This means that GTI has a future for our brand and for the fans. Production has already been identified as part of our electrification plans. Personal fulfillment. The GTI Concept is a Volkswagen sports car for the electric age suitable for everyday driving: 100 percent electric, 100 percent emotional.
So, it looks like this thing is already scheduled to go into production, which is good news.
Like all other GTIs, it is a front-wheel-drive machine, complete with a front-axle differential lock, and is computer-controlled by a system called Vehicle Dynamics Manager, which is similar to what is used in current combustion GTIs.
Speaking of dynamics, VW doesn’t have power, torque or range numbers, but we do know the specs on the ID.2all, and they’re pretty decent: 223 horsepower, 0-62 in under seven seconds, and an estimated range of 280 miles. I expect the GTI variant to have better numbers in every way, except perhaps range.
Volkswagen is very generous with other specifications, specifically dimensions:
|Identification card. GTI concept|
|an offer||72.4 inches|
|to rise||59.0 inches|
|Storage volume||17.3-47.0 cu.ft|
It’s a roomy little hatchback, just as it should be. It’s also one of the most effective small hatchback designs at hiding the fact that it has four doors; If I didn’t know there was a back door there, I don’t think I would have guessed.
The stance is wide and sporty, and the curvy C-pillar body panel looks very familiar and has become somewhat of a GTI/Golf design trademark. Love her. It’s not very flashy, but it has a lot of presence and gravitas.
The taillight design is now a full-width Hickblende deal, with the lighting elements under a smoked cover to make it, you know, evil.
In fact, the ID.GTI’s big party trick seems to be the fact that it can make impressions. As VW describes it:
This is possible because the electric drive motor setup and system can be varied almost infinitely. This allows a wide range of different GTI profiles to be achieved. Using the newly developed GTI Experience Control system on the center console, the driver can select the features he wants. The GTI Concept’s powertrain is a must-have. For the first time, it is possible to adjust the drive system, operating gear, steering, sound and even simulated shift points in the style of a historic GTI model – such as the original Golf GTI of 1976, the first 16-valve Golf GTI Mark 2 from 1986 or the Golf GTI Mark 4 of the 2001 “25 years of the GTI”. This makes id. The GTI Concept is a very dynamic time machine.
An electric motor has a lot of flexibility in how it distributes the power coming from it, and if that means tweaking power or torque, or specifying artificial shift points so it sounds like a hot hatch from the 1980s, you can do it. Here at Autopian HQ, we’ve been talking about this idea for years, so it’s exciting to see an automaker finally talking about it. David has a huge article on this concept and it’s like he’s halfway done, even.
If VW actually brings this product to market, it will accomplish some big things that VW needs to achieve: an entry-level electric car, and a really fun electric car. I hope they pull it.
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