Americans associate the GTI badge with hot Golfs but Volkswagen has given the Grand Touring Injection treatment to an assortment of other models. In 2023, you can still get a Polo GTI in some parts of the world, including in Europe where the pint-sized up! GTI was phased out at the beginning of the year. Looking back, the peeps from Wolfsburg also had lesser-known models such as the Lupo GTI and Scirocco GTI. There was also a one-off Passat GTI.
Although VW is heading toward an inevitable electric future, it has pledged to keep iconic badges such as GTI and R in the zero-emission era. It has hinted the GTX suffix applied to high-performance versions of the ID.4, ID.5, and the yet-to-be-released ID. Buzz minivan and ID.3 hot hatch already faces an uncertain future. Company boss Thomas Schäfer said last year it could be dropped since GTI and R will continue. In the meantime, it looks as though VW is taking preliminary steps to transition GTI to electric propulsion.
2023 Volkswagen Polo GTI Edition 25
On July 25, VW took the necessary legal measures to secure the rights to a new design. A trademark filing with the DPMA (Deutsche Patent- und Markenamt / German Patent and Trademark Office) shows an updated GTI logo. While the "G" and "T" seem virtually unchanged, the "I" has made way for a lightning bolt. It's a predictable yet cool change, although one that is unlikely to materialize in the near future.
Using our crystal ball, an electric Golf GTI has a slim chance of going on sale in the coming years. VW will give the eighth-generation Golf a mid-cycle update in 2024 when the GTI could drop the six-speed manual due to stricter emissions regulations. It means the facelifted model is likely to be sold until closer to the end of the decade. The peeps from Wolfsburg have confirmed the next-gen car will be an EV with the Golf name, so a hot hatch variant has slim chances of going on sale before 2028 or 2029.
However, there might be a non-Golf electric GTI. Unveiled in March, the ID.2all concept will materialize into a production model in 2025. It'll sit on the upcoming MEB Entry platform but it's too soon to say whether VW intends to give the electric city car the full-fat GTI treatment. Unlike the ID.3 with its rear-wheel-drive layout, the smaller hatch will have a front-mounted motor, which would make it more suitable for this new badge.
As a matter of fact, VW's Board Member for Technical Development Kai Grünitz has already said a sportier derivative of the production-ready ID.2all is in development. We'll remind you the concept was no slouch as it had 223 horsepower for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in under seven seconds, en route to a less impressive top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h).