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Volkswagen might retire the ID.3 when the next-gen Golf arrives

VW's tech boss confirms to TG that "Golf is the heart of our brand". Plus: the GTI will live on as an EV

Published: 30 Jan 2024

“It's the heart of our brand. We won't kill the Golf.” So said Kai Grunitz, Volkswagen's head of technical development at the launch of the new Mk8.5 Golf. He went on to confirm this would be the last internal-combustion Golf. When the next one comes along, likely in 2028 if it follows VW’s regular eight year product cycle, it will be all electric.

What then for the ID.3? “There is not enough space to have two or three different models fitting to the same customer,” says Grunitz. “We’ve started to work on a fully electric Golf. We have concrete ideas of how it will look like, but we will see how the market develops. There will be an overlap [between ID.3 and electric Golf].”

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Although he wouldn’t be drawn on whether the ID branding is for the scrap heap, it’s clear that VW now realises the brand equity in the Golf name. This is good news. When the entire car market is breaking apart, it’s important to have anchors. You know where you are with a Golf.

But will this just be an ID.3 in Golf clothes? “If we bring an electric vehicle with the name Golf, it has to be real Golf. It has to look like a Golf. It has to be affordable like a Golf. It has to be [capable] like a Golf. And there has to be a GTI.”

Grunitz wouldn’t go further on the GTI, or comment on whether it would be front-, rear- or four-wheel drive. VW may see benefit in keeping the R branding for a twin motor variant.

It won’t be built on the MEB platform that underpins the ID.3 and almost all the VW Group’s electric cars. Next comes SSP: the Scalable System Platform. “The idea behind SSP is to have switchable modules,” said Grunitz, “and to combine all these in only two and a half platforms… it starts from a Polo and goes up to Bentley Bentayga.

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“The idea is to have the same electric architecture. Today you have four or five different architectures. But SSP will be a common electronic architecture for the whole group.” He went on to promise that although this suggests further homogeneity, it actually allows each brand more freedom of design and packaging.

VW has responded to criticism with the Mk8.5. The GTI, unveiled at Fat Ice Race over the weekend as part of the Golf’s 50th birthday celebrations, brings back the telephone dial alloys and, more importantly, physical (rather than haptic) steering wheel buttons. Will this be the last great Golf, or is there hope for its electric future?

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