Over the next decade, OEMs will need to decide how to integrate their legacy ICE models with their new electric lineups. At Volkswagen, this means figuring out how to handle the transition of globally iconic monikers like Golf and GTI. When VW introduced the Golf-sized ID.3, many suspected the new electric hatch would eventually replace the Golf. But there will be a ninth-generation Golf sometime around 2027 or 2028, and it will switch to battery-electric power. When brand boss Thomas Schäfer spoke to several outlets during the L.A. Auto Show, he explained the Golf name isn’t going anywhere, and neither is GTI. He said the ID brand is already fixed in the VW structure, then cited the ID.Buzz an an example of not needing to follow “ID” with a number. He told Autocar, “It would be crazy to let [Golf and GTI] die and slip away. We will stick with the ID logic but iconic models will carry a name.” Asked if that meant an ID.Golf is inbound, he answered, ‘We might have an ID.Golf.”
The base Golf Life in Europe is 168.7 inches long, 70.4 inches wide, and 58.7 inches high on a 103.1-inch wheelbase. The ID.3 is 167.8 inches long, 71.2 inches wide, and 61.7 inches high on a 109.1-inch wheelbase. The dimensional similarity makes the ID.3 a tad larger outside but quite a bit more spacious inside thanks to the packaging of its electric powertrain. Schäfer said he considers the ID.3 “more a Golf Plus.” Based on these comments, it’s suspected a potential ID.Golf would drive into the lineup below the ID.3 and above the ID.2 city car thought to arrive around the same time as the electric Golf. The ID.3 has plenty of room to grow if VW wants to create more space between it and the Golf, the ID.4 being nearly 13 inches longer than the ID.3.
As for GTI, it could be subbed in to replace the GTX badge created to identify hot versions of ID models. There are already GTX trims of the ID.4 and ID.5, with a 2023 ID.3 GTX arriving with the reveal of the facelifted ID.3. Schäfer told AutoExpress, “GTX was an idea on the way to electrification, we came up with a different name. In future whether we’ll need this or not, we’ll see. But GTI is so strong,” and discussions are happening right now about how to solve that puzzle.
The brand is on the fence about taking Polo into the new era, the tiny hatchback already on the ropes because of Euro 7 emissions. Theoretically, the ID.2 should compare to the Polo the same way the ID.3 compares to the Golf, and there’s an even smaller urban car planned below the ID.2. So there will be a Polo-sized electric offering, but the current hatch name might not be worthy of continuing. Schäfer said to Car magazine, “You don’t want to do it too often, you know – you can’t transfer everything from the old portfolio” before asking aloud, “Is [Polo] iconic enough to carry it or not? It’s not quite clear yet. We haven’t really decided yet.”