Scoop: Volkswagen’s much more interesting next wave of compact EVs
It looks bright (and electric) for GTI and R. By Jake Groves.
FAST VWS: THE FUTURE
Insider Illustrations: Avarvarii
Those famed three letters are making the electric switch, previewed first with the ID. GTI concept (pictured). The design study is essentially a performance version of the ID. 2all concept, which previews a car that’s confirmed for production in 2026. The GTI will follow around six months later with all the trimmings.
PUSHING THE LIMITS
Beneath the skin will be VW Group’s front-driven, neatly packaged MEB Entry platform that’ll also underpin the Cupra Raval. For the ID. 2 GTI, the team want to apply a locking front differential like the one seen on the Mk8 Golf GTI Clubsport. They’re also floating the idea of including synthetic gearshifts like on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.
A NEW MAESTRO
VW design boss Andreas Mindt conceived the ID. 2all with a view to making a GTI version from the off. ‘I didn’t want to make it a boy-racer car. With some hot hatches, you feel embarrassed driving them – almost wanting to put a paper bag over your head. When you have a GTI, you shouldn’t feel the need to explain yourself.’
THE GTI HALLMARKS
Mindt and his team are keen to keep the GTI spirit alive, with the ID. 2 GTI expected to have several links to past fast Golfs. Red trimmings and wheels that ape the Mk1 GTI are likely and, inside, tartan seats remain. The golfball-textured detail also returns – this time on a large dial on the centre console that will control various functions.
FROM THE SOURCE
VW boss Thomas Schäfer confirmed the upcoming Golf 9 himself: ‘There will be a Golf, and it’ll be a true Golf in terms of packaging and driveability – it’ll be in the line-up we are proposing up to 2028.’ The new Golf will be spun out of VW’s Project Trinity, which will provide it with the next level of driving tech and engineering.
To compete with the influx of Chinese brands into Europe, VW’s head of technical development, Kai Grünitz, says he wants development times of future models to reduce to below 36 months. And he makes this promise: ‘We won’t bring any car to the road like you’ve seen with Golf and ID. 3 with thousands of faults.’
THE SILVER BULLET
The Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) will be rolled out across the VW Group, and is destined to underpin everything from baby VW superminis to huge Bentley grand tourers. The first car to launch on the architecture is likely to be the all-electric replacement for the Audi A8 in 2026, using the GrandSphere (pictured) as inspiration.
As well as a standard Golf, Schäfer also confirmed that R will be revitalised with the switch to electric. ‘R will probably only be with the SSP platform – to do that [level of performance] with MEB+ would be a stretch, and R has to be four-wheel drive.’ A Mk8.5 Golf R and new Tiguan R will keep the name going before then.
THE NEW MK9 GOLF WILL BE SPUN OUT OF PROJECT TRINITY, WHICH WILL PROVIDE IT WITH THE NEXT LEVEL OF DRIVING TECH
Right-size power and classy looks? Yep, it’s a GTI. Likely to be the first electric R when it arrives from 2028.
VW ID. 2 GTI FACTFILE
- POWERTRAIN 56kWh battery (est), single 223bhp e-motor (est), front-wheel drive
- CHASSIS Steel monocoque
- DUE Late 2026/early 2027
VW GOLF 9 R FACTFILE
- POWERTRAIN 65kWh battery (est), two e-motors, 400bhp (est), all-wheel drive
- CHASSIS Steel monocoque
- DUE 2028 onwards