Volkswagen ID X: 329bhp 4WD hot hatch concept revealed

Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter has taken to his personal Linkedin account to preview a surprise new concept car: the ID X. 

Accompanying pictures give little away, but it’s clearly a performance-focused reworking of the ID 3 electric hatchback, marked out by a distinctive grey-and-green livery, large-diameter alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile tyres and Alacantara-covered sports seats. 

More notable, according to the limited details revealed by Brandstätter, is the significant performance upgrade that it promises over all variants of the ID 3. Outright power is pegged at 329bhp, which is not only 128bhp more than the most powerful variant currently on sale but also 27bhp more than even the hot GTX version of the larger ID 4 SUV. 

The ID X packs a version of the ID 4 GTX’s four-wheel drive system, whereas current ID 3 models are rear-driven only. It had been thought that this system couldn’t be accomodated by the ID 3’s standard-length MEB architecture, and it’s not clear whether this concept makes any compromises on seating or storage capacity to make room for the bulkier underpinnings. 

The concept is said to weigh 200kg less than the standard ID 3, although details of how that weight loss was attained haven’t been given.

Following a test drive in the concept, Brandstätter revealed that it will hit 62mph from rest in 5.3sec and is equipped with a dedicated Drift mode – as featured on the brand’s new Golf R hot hatch. 

Brandstätter said that while the ID X isn’t destined for production, Volkswagen will “take up many ideas” from the project. It was created, he said, because the engineers who worked on the ID 4 GTX “have discovered the fun of developing high-performance electric cars, and so we just let them do it”. 

As previously reported by Autocar, Volkswagen’s R division is developing a plan for a full-bore, R-badged version of the ID 3 as its first EV, which is expected to hit the market in 2024. 

Development boss Frank Welsch previously told Autocar that while the ID 3 can accomodate a four-wheel drive system, it’s unlikely to do so “during the first generation”. A substantial power boost and two driven axles, he said, are prerequisites for any R model.