Volkswagen ID 3 hot hatch due as electric Golf GTI alternative

Greg Kable 2 mins read 11 January 2024

Volkswagen is preparing to launch a 282bhp hot version of the ID 3[1] that will serve as an electric equivalent to the Golf GTI[2].

The electric hot hatchback builds on plans first aired by Volkswagen[3] with the unveiling of the smaller ID GTI concept[4] at the Munich motor show in September last year, with unique exterior styling touches, an upgraded interior and a revised drivetrain offering significantly more power and torque than existing ID 3 models. 

Seen here in prototype form undergoing cold weather testing, the upcoming range-topping ID 3 has two-wheel drive, like every Volkswagen that has worn the hallowed GTI badge over the past five decades. 

However, instead of being front-wheel drive, this latest sporting model will have rear-wheel drive, in line with every other ID 3. 

Although Volkswagen’s previous management initially hinted at a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive GTX version of the ID 3 at its launch in 2019, current CEO Thomas Schäfer has subsequently denied that the firm harbours plans for such a model. 

This is in part owing to the cost of re-engineering this version of the MEB platform to accept a front-mounted electric motor – as is possible in larger MEB-based EVs. 

Autocar understands that the GTX name could be used for the hot ID 3, even though it has been previously reserved for four-wheel-drive EVs. 

Technical details remain scarce ahead of the ID 3 GTX’s planned introduction in 2024. However, the new EV is expected to feature Volkswagen’s significantly more powerful APP550 motor in place of the ID 3’s existing APP310 unit.

Volkswagen APP550 electric motor cutaway

As deployed in the new ID 7[5] saloon and extended-wheelbase ID Buzz[6], the new APP550 motor features revised cooling measures, new windings and a more efficient inverter, among other key changes. In its initial form, it delivers 282bhp and 402lb ft of torque – an 81bhp and 173lb ft increase on the most powerful ID 3 model on sale today, the Pro S.

Befitting its sporting remit, the ID 3 GTX will get a uniquely tuned chassis, with revised gearing for the steering, firmer springs and dampers and a lowered ride height, among other changes. 

It will also have recalibrated stability and traction control systems and a revised driving mode controller. 

In common with all existing ID models, it will use single-speed reduction gearing. It’s also likely to receive a 77kWh lithium ion battery for a range of more than 311 miles on the WLTP test cycle. 

Although it might not wear the GTI badge, it’s still expected to feature GTI hallmark design cues, including deeper bumpers with honeycomb inserts, new-look sills and unique wheel designs – and potentially even an interior with red accents and the classic Jacky plaid seat upholstery

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