When the Volkswagen ID.GTI Concept debuted last year, it gave fans all over the world some hope that the legendary hot hatchback would survive to be part of the automaker's all-electric future. But that also depends on whether the actual EV, slated to go on sale later this decade as the ID.GTI, will make it to one of the countries that loves the GTI the most: the United States. 

The good news is that Volkswagen Group of America CEO Pablo Di Si is as enthusiastic as anyone about that proposition. "I loved it," he told InsideEVs in an interview this week. "It's a beautiful car. I think it would sell in America. I think it has potential. It's a 'love vehicle' in the U.S." 

The bad news is bringing it stateside may be easier said than done. Whether the ID.GTI can be priced correctly for the U.S. is an open question. 

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Volkswagen tweaks its all-electric future

Volkswagen has committed to going all-electric in the coming years, while adding more hybrids to its portfolio in the meantime. The ID.GTI concept made a huge splash when it was unveiled last year, but whether it's sized and priced right for the American market is an open question—as is what will happen to the legendary GTI itself in the EV future.

The production version of the ID.GTI Concept has been greenlit for arrival in 2026. The car it is based on, the Volkswagen ID.2, may not make it to our shores. Last year, a VW spokesperson said it wouldn't, and Di Si himself told Car and Driver that it's probably not the right size for U.S. buyers.  

Gallery: Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept

Despite its decidedly Golf-like looks, the ID.2 is quite a bit smaller than the current Golf. It's a little closer in size to the subcompact Polo. And American buyers have certainly not been in the habit of buying Golfs in volume like the rest of the world. With the discontinuation of the U.S.-market Golf in 2021, the only variants now sold here are the GTI and the more powerful Golf R. 

You can thank those cars' rabid fanbase for that decision. Even as Volkswagen has pivoted heavily to crossovers and SUVs to meet market demand in the U.S.—they make up the bulk of VW's current American portfolio, including the lone EV for now—the GTI and Golf R have a dedicated enthusiast car culture surrounding themselves. The GTI is credited as being the original hot hatchback, and whether it's slammed to the ground or just a bone-stock daily driver, their mix of speed and practicality has made it an iconic gearhead staple on par with the Mazda Miata, Ford Mustang and BMW M3. 

And while the ID.GTI's specs haven't been released yet, the ID.2all concept was said to put down 223 horsepower to the front wheels. The ID.GTI will certainly pack a bigger punch, making it more powerful and likely faster than any gas-powered GTI.

Volkswagen ID. GTI Concept (2023)

So while Di Si wouldn't confirm the ID.GTI for the U.S., he's thinking about what levers could be pulled. "It would make sense if we hit the price points," he said. The company wants a volume-player EV priced around $25,000, Di Si said. If it goes too high, he said it's too much of a "niche vehicle." (The current gas-powered GTI starts at around $32,000.)

"Do we have a plan? Not yet, but it is on our radar," Di Si said. "The majority of the cost comes from the batteries."

Electric performance cars are clearly on Volkswagen's radar in general. This week, the automaker also unveiled the ID.3 GTX, a 321-horsepower variant of its Golf-like electric ID.3, as well as the ID.7 GTX Tourer, a go-fast wagon with 335 hp.

Volkswagen ID.3 GTX (2024)

Yet while the ID.3 GTX seems like a shoo-in to take up the GTI's mantle, the ID.3 isn't sold in the U.S. at all. And then there's the question of what's going to happen with the future Golf itself, which is also slated to go electric-only on a new platform

But that's further down the line. The ID.GTI should be on sale before then, and it would be a shame if American fans had to wait so long for some new electric Golf GTI to appear. Clearly, the ID.GTI is a hype machine already, and with more and more Americans asking for affordable EVs—and even smaller ones—it feels like not bringing this EV hot hatch stateside would be a real misfire.

Let's put it this way: If Dodge can bring somehow the Charger into the electric era, surely Volkswagen can figure this one out.

Contact the author: patrick.george@insideevs.com

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