Volkswagen bosses are close to signing off plans for a hot, R-badged version of the forthcoming ID 3 electric hatchback – and Autocar sources suggest the performance machine is set to be launched in 2024.
The electric hot hatch is the brainchild of the German firm’s R performance division. It’s intended to reinforce the links between the successful ID R record-breaking prototype and Volkswagen’s crucial new ID road car range.
Volkswagen development chief Frank Welsch said the ID 3 R is “something we’re looking at”. He added: “I like the idea, but we have to decide if the market is ready to accept such a model.”
Welsch said the proposed R model would sit at the top of the ID 3 line-up and could be the only pure performance variant.
Volkswagen’s planned electric-specific performance badge, GTX, won’t be used on the ID 3, because it’s reserved for cars with the twin-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain. While that will fit in the larger ID 4 SUV, the ID 3 is being launched with a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive set-up only.
“The ID 3 can accept four-wheel drive, although it’s unlikely to receive it during the first generation,” Welsch told Autocar. “There will not be a GTX variant, but we’re yet to decide on a rear-wheel-drive R variant.” Last year, Welsch had said such a car “would need a performance e-motor and four-wheel drive”.
The most powerful of the ID 3 launch models offers 201bhp, although the planned R model is expected to have at least 300bhp. However, the performance necessary for an ID 3 R could be made possible by likely developments in EV technology by 2024.
R chief Jost Capito recently told Autocar it was working with Volkswagen’s motorsport arm to see what technology from the performance batteries used in the ID R could be applied to road cars.
ID 3 to arrive in September despite software issues
The late stages of the ID 3’s development have been badly hit by software issues, but new Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter confirmed that deliveries will begin in Europe and the UK in early September.
However, the initial limited-edition First models will arrive without a number of software features. These include the augmented reality functions for the car’s head-up display and some of the App Connect features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A free software update will be offered once the systems are available. Early buyers can also choose to delay receipt of their ID 3 until the systems are fully ready.