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The electric GTI is official, and we got our first look this weekend at the IAA Auto Show in Munich. Not only does the ID.GTI EV look great, but Volkswagen is promising some unique features for its electric hot hatch.

Smaller than the current GTI

Interestingly, the electric GTI is considerably smaller than the current gas-powered MK8 version of the hot hatch. Those on the ground in Germany say it’s closer in size to the subcompact Polo than the current Golf setup. That means sharper handling and an easier drive in the city. However, it will also mean a smaller cargo area, clamping down on the versatility of the current VW hot hatch.

The current GTI is 168.8 inches long with a 103.4-inch wheelbase. The EV version shown off in Germany is 161.6 inches in length with a 102.4-inch wheelbase. That setup pushes the wheels further toward the corners, giving the ID.GTI an aggressive handling platform. Combined with the floor-mounted battery packs, this combination should make the next-gen GTI an autocross weapon on the right tires.

A host of soundtrack options

Volkswagen ID.GTI EV
VW ID.GTI | Volkswagen

One of the electric GTI’s more controversial features is the piped-in engine noise. According to Volkswagen, the simulated sound system can reproduce engine sounds from historic GTI models. From the original MK1 hot hatch to the first 16-valve in 1986, it’s a unique way to tie an electric GTI to the brand’s iconic heritage.

That said, the decision to take the GTI electric is already a sticking point for longtime enthusiasts. It’s doubtful that some piped-in engine sound is going to win them over. But it is a fun way to add a sense of engagement to the otherwise serene environment of an electric vehicle.

Limited mechanical details for the EV GTI

So far, Volkswagen isn’t divulging any details on performance specifics for the all-electric GTI. However, the EV hot hatch is getting the same bodywork as the ID.2 All we saw earlier this year. We do know that top-spec versions of that model are getting 223 horsepower. Considering the current GTI makes 241 horsepower, it’s safe to assume an electric version would make that or more.

What we do know, however, is that the GTI EV will come with a limited-slip differential. Much like the setup used on the gas-burning hot hatches, this will help get power to the ground effectively, even when cornering.

Leaning into brand heritage

Interior of the electric GTI concept
VW ID.GTI interior render | Volkswagen
Related End of an Era: VW CEO Says the Next GTI Will be an EV

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The ID.GTI concept leans hard into the hot hatch’s heritage. The digital instrument cluster has a mode that mimics the MK2’s gauge cluster. We’ve already talked about the simulated sounds. And items like the black lip spoiler, minimalist plaid seat design, and flared fenders keep the GTI dream alive.

Of course, handling over power is a hot-hatch specialty as well. And considering the build size and stance, the electric Volkswagen hatchback should have no troubles in that arena. No exhaust note will dial down the drama, but instant EV torque and an ultra-low center of gravity should earn this all-electric sports car some love.

When will the electric GTI come to America?

Previous reports had the electric GTI coming to the U.S. by 2028, though the version debuted this weekend is on sale in Europe in 2027. We typically see the new version a year or two later, so that lines up with a 2028 American delivery. However, Volkswagen execs in Munich reported to Car and Driver that the ID.GTI is only under consideration for the American market. So we may not be getting an electric GTI stateside after all.