Older readers may remember a time when the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI was the must have car for car enthusiasts on a budget. The Rabbit later became the Golf and the GTI spec cars were supplanted by a Type R variant that became the top Volkswagen offering in the “hot hatch” category. The Golf has been around in one form or another since 1974 and is now in its 7th generation. VW has sold tens of millions of them and it’s fair to say it is the model that helped make Volkswagen one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers.
The ID.3 is the spiritual successor to the Golf — a battery-electric 5-passenger hatchback for the 21st century. It’s hard to imagine it is almost 3 years since the folks at Volkswagen flew me (the one and only time in my life I have flown first class) to Zwickau to attend the coming out party that marked the start of production for the ID.3. In the world of cars, most models have a 7-year lifespan before the next generation debuts. Typically, a refresh takes place in the middle of the cycle, and the ID.3 is no exception.
Speaking with the media in Austria at the local launch of the ID.5, Volkswagen spokesperson Martin Hube said a dual motor GTX version of the ID.3 will be introduced as part of the planned mid-cycle refresh. GTX is the label the company has chosen to designate its more performance oriented electric models, just as GTI once signified the performance versions of the company’s combustion engine cars. The ID.4 and ID.5 already have GTX versions available.
“[For the] ID.3 facelift…we will get some very interesting details and of course, we are convinced that customer’s expectations for a bit more power, for all-wheel drive is there, and [the] customer’s wish is what we have to fulfill,” Hube told the press, according to Motor 1.
The concept ID.3 GTX featured a combined 329 horsepower from both motors, but the production car will have the same powertrain as its ID.4 GTX and ID.5 GTX siblings — 299 horsepower and 339 pound-feet (460 Nm) of torque. Those cars can accelerate to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. Since the ID.3 GTX will be somewhat smaller and lighter, it should be a few tenths quicker. To put things in perspective, the 2022 Golf GTI does it in 5.4 seconds. The first generation Golf GTI needed 8 seconds at a time when any car that could get to 60 mph in under 10 seconds was considered pretty hot stuff.
Sadly, the ID.3 will not be offered in the US market, where no one will buy a new car that can’t carry 8 people and all their stuff with two kayaks on the roof and a fleet of bicycles out back while towing a ski boat. Too bad, really. The ID.3 is one of the least expensive electric cars available today, but Volkswagen has decided Americans won’t buy them, even if they have all-wheel drive and a certain amount of sportiness. In the end, it will make little difference, as Volkswagen already has customers for every electric car it can manufacture. Americans only want SUVs and so SUVs are all they will get.
There are rumors that an R version of the ID.3 is in the works — a car that would shave another half second off the 0-60 sprint compared to the ID.3 GTX. If those rumors are true, it is unlikely to appear before 2025. The company has also made noises about a convertible based on the ID.3, but with the market for drop-tops so small, it is unlikely that option is getting serious consideration.
The Golf spawned a number of variants, including a station wagon. No doubt the ID.3 could do the same — if supply of the standard models ever catches up with demand. In other words, if you are interested in a convertible or wagon version of the ID.3, you will need to be patient — and not live in North America.
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