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Volkswagen ID GTI: 2026 release date, concept is “93 percent” realistic


Revival of the spirit of the first performance Golf for inaugural electric Volkswagen GTI product, set for a 2026 arrival in Europe

Volkswagen will build a production version of the ID GTI concept hot hatch that it revealed in advance of the 2023 IAA Munich motor show.

The ID GTI is the first Volkswagen electric vehicle to be bestowed with GTI branding.

Pictured: Volkswagen brand chief executive Thomas Schafer, and the ID GTI concept

It’s a marker both of the car’s front-wheel drive nature, seen as core to the GTI identity, and the brand’s confidence in the model’s prospects.

GTX branding will be reserved for GTI-like electric Volkswagens with all-wheel drive. Electric R models will also be AWD, and development is underway – though details of a first R-division EV are not forthcoming.

GTI to be built in Spain, brand new factory opens 2025

Expected to be released about a year after the ID2 small car upon which it is based, Volkswagen is suggesting the ID GTI would see European showrooms around 2026.

Update – 5 September 2023: Volkswagen chief executive Thomas Schäfer has explained that while the production version of the ID GTI would be revealed in 2026, the European market launch itself is more likely to be in 2027 than 2026.

That would imply an Australian release date of 2027 if the local division opts to import the vehicle. Signs are strong, thanks to strong Aussie interest in hot hatches.

Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept
The production version of the ID GTI concept will be built in Spain alongside at least two relatives

Still, 2026 or 2027 is some way off – though Volkswagen head of design Andreas Mindt says that the goal is to get the ID2 and ID GTI “onto the market as soon as possible.”

The major hurdle to the process is the opening of the Spanish factory that will produce the ID2, ID GTI and the related Cupra Raval. The Martorell plant isn’t scheduled to go online – and build its first cars – until 2025.

How real is the ID GTI concept?

That means that Volkswagen still has time to put the finishing touches on the hatchback models, though the concept is close.

Chief designer Mindt says the concept represents “maybe 93 percent” of the production version of the ID GTI.

Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept
The flared rear guard and integrated door handle will stay for production

Flared guards, modest lower body cladding that minimises the visual weight of the battery-accommodating high floor, and rear door handles integrated into the glass will all be carried into production.

So too will a pair of hero colours – Diamond Silver and Mars Red – which featured on the palette of the Mk 1 Golf GTI of 1976 from which the ID GTI draws much inspiration.

Volkswagen ID GTI Concept 2024 20-inch wheels
The show car’s 20-inch wheels will become 18s or 19s on the production car

The 20-inch alloy wheels of the ID GTI are reminiscent of the original Golf GTI’s steel wheels, but for the production GTI they will be downsized to 18- or 19-inches in diameter.

Savings will be made by the ID2 and ID GTI sharing some body panels, their interior layout and their MEB-21 architecture.

Tasteful exterior design a key goal

Volkswagen’s Mindt says the GTI version was always planned when the brand was penning the standard ID2 model.

“We had it in the back of our heads,” he said at the reveal of the GTI. “We made it easy to turn it into a GTI.”

Volkswagen ID GTI Concept 2024 with Andreas Mindl
Volkswagen brand head of design Andreas Mindl

A key goal was for the ID GTI to retain the typically understated exterior design associated with the GTI branding, which Volkswagen sees as a contrast to rival hot hatches.

“In this segment, to design a car that becomes a bit ‘boy racer’, you know, it’s a bit tasteless, a bit cheesy,” said Mindt.

“What we want is to achieve a tasteful car. In this segment, you can be sporty and tasteful at the same time.”

Name, interior are works-in-progress

The late-stage concept build revealed in Munich lacked a working interior – and there is the question of the name.

Volkswagen could push the generic “ID GTI” into production, but the most obvious badge for the circa-4050mm long hot hatch would be ID2 GTI.

Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept
What will the production version of the ID GTI concept be called?

There is a small chance that the ID GTI could be called Polo GTI or Golf GTI. Volkswagen chief executive Oliver Blume announced earlier in 2023 that “icon” models including the Golf would be transformed into EVs.

In Europe, Volkswagen is targeting price points of 25,000 and 30,000 Euros respectively for production ID2 and ID GTI models – or $40,000 and $50,000 in Australian dollars at the time of writing (September 2023).