If you’re Volkswagen, the one thing you don’t want to get wrong is the iconic Golf GTI.
They got it wrong with the launch of the Golf V back in 2003 and quickly went to a facing-saving update.
Fast forward and the Wolfsburg-based carmaker has just taken the wraps off an electric version of the GTI which it has confirmed it will go into production.
The world premiere of the electric concept took centre stage at this year’s IAA Mobility in Munich, exactly 48 years after the debut of the first Golf GTI.
The four-door, five-seat ID. GTI Concept is based on the ID. 2all concept presented in March.
VW says the ID. 2all’s front-wheel-drive layout, clear design and powerful proportions make it the perfect starting point.
A front-axle differential lock, electronically controlled by a Vehicle Dynamics Manager, is used just like the current GTI.
The letter “I” for injection in GTI now also stands for intelligence, in the form of the high-performance drivetrain and chassis.
The Vehicle Dynamics Manager integrates the powertrain into the control system to an even greater degree than ICE models.
This is possible because the set-up of the electric drive motor and its system can be varied almost infinitely, permitting a wide range of GTI profiles.
Using a newly developed GTI Experience Control in the centre console, the driver can choose characteristics of the powertrain.
For the first time, it is possible to adjust the drive system, running gear, steering, sound, and even the simulated shift points to reflect the style of historic GTIs —such as the original 1976 GTI.
The concept is a compact 4104mm in length with a long 2600mm wheelbase framed by large 20-inch aluminium alloys with 245/35 performance tyres.
At the front, the concept features the most significant and well-known exterior GTI feature: a red radiator grille surround, although the aperture is much smaller than a petrol car.
The red line is narrow but spans the entire width below the IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights. A red GTI logo is integrated in the red line on the right.
The headlights themselves are framed by a horizontal LED bar. The Volkswagen badge is illuminated in white.
The design of the GTI bumper is inspired by motorsports and is unique to this model.
It features a dominant black front splitter in the middle with an air intake above and typical honeycomb structure, with two red motorsport-style towing eyes.
At the sides, vertical LED daytime running lights are located in the black-framed air curtains that route the airflow to the wheel housings and then outwards to optimise aerodynamic performance and cool the brakes.
The low front splitter and vertical LED daytime running lights make the concept vehicle appear to hug the road.
The matte-black area around the splitter and air intake evoke the low spoiler and bumper of the original GTI.
The side skirts are covered with matte-black plastic elements at the bottom which optimise aerodynamics and give the car a low-slung appearance.
Distinctive wheel designs, such as the Pirelli rim from the Mark I GTI and the Denver rim from the Mark V GTI, are another characteristic GTI feature.
The wheels are framed by matte-black flared wheel arch extensions.
A black roof spoiler is used instead of a black rear window frame and flanked by black air guides at the sides, ensuring optimum downforce and minimum drag.
Under the spoiler, a narrow darkly tinted LED strip runs across the entire width of the vehicle as a third brake light.
Only the frames of the two 3D tail light clusters and the Volkswagen badge are illuminated in bright red.
A black area below the horizontal tail light cluster bar picks up on the original GTI’s black bumper, with lettering integrated in the middle.
The ID. GTI Concept’s three-spoke steering is equipped with an airbag located slightly lower down to create a visual bridge to the impact absorber in the GTI I, with an illuminated 12 o’clock marker.
Since the automatic transmission is operated by a steering column switch, as in the ID.7, the interior designers have transferred the golf ball shifter design to the multi-function GTI Experience Control in the centre console.
Digital displays inside the concept vehicle allow new designs and functions, making it possible to experience the GTI idea in more varied ways than before.
Fundamentally different cockpit looks are available for the instruments: the basic configuration is a reflection of the current digital age that displays all conceivable information and functions and a sporty GTI graphic design.
In Vintage mode, the 10.9-inch digital cockpit in front of the driver is transformed into the instrumentation of a Mark II GTI, for example, becoming a perfect match for Mark I mode that can be activated with the GTI Experience Control.
The designers and engineers have also taken a new approach with the augmented reality head-up display, which projects data on to the windshield for the passenger as well as the driver.
Its light weight and low centre of gravity make the ID. GTI Concept perfect for driving on racetracks.
If the driver goes on to the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in GTI mode, for example, they can display the course and their position on the far left of the windshield.
When driving in a race, the driver can additionally see their current position in the field and their progress (‘GTI Achievements’).