For the Fans
For the Fans
40 years since a small group of original GTI owners founded the now unmissable annual Wörthersee festival, Volkswagen has thrown its weight behind a similar initiative organised by fans of its burgeoning all-electric ID. brand.
Also known as the GTI Treffen (German for meeting), the first gathering of likeminded Volkswagen owners held in the Austrian town of Reifnitz, overlooking Lake Wörthersee, was held in 1982. The original Golf GTI had been introduced just five years earlier yet had already established a keen following of enthusiasts throughout Europe. With no form of social media or instant messaging services available, a small group of GTI owners from across the continent agreed to meet at the same restaurant, on the same weekend each year, to share their respective experiences behind the wheel of the original hot hatch.
Four decades later, the annual Wörthersee festival draws massive crowds from all parts of the world that descend on this small Austrian town to celebrate a mutual love for the VW brand. Supported by Volkswagen AG since 1996, while the official festival takes place over a single week in May, such has been the growth of the treffen that enthusiasts have been known to spend more than four weeks at the event. Where the original gathering was a celebration of GTI, this spectacle has since expanded to welcome not only any VW-badged offering, past and present, but also products from each of the Group’s brands, including Audi and Lamborghini.
Festivities aside, a highlight of Wörthersee each year has been Volkswagen Group’s shared enthusiasm towards using this event to both showcase all-new production vehicles, but also to unveil any number of intriguing, one-off concept cars. In 2007, showgoers were left momentarily speechless when the covers were lifted off the GTI W12-650 concept, a wide-bodied Golf Mk5 GTI fitted with a twin-turbocharged, 6.0-litre W12 engine sourced from the Bentley Continental’s parts bin.
Some 640-kilometres from Reifnitz, on the banks of another picturesque lake, a group of Volkswagen ID. enthusiasts has set about creating a similar sense of community around the brand’s all-electric future.
Hosted in Ascona-Locarno, Switzerland, and overlooking Lake Maggiore, a small group of likeminded VW ID. owners has established the ID. Treffen, an annual celebration of the Volkswagen’s commitment towards zero-emissions motoring. Recognising both the significance and potential of this new forward-thinking initiative, the event has already gained the official support of the Volkswagen Group.
In celebrating the 2022 hosting of the ID. Treffen, Volkswagen unveiled its ID. XTREME, an ID.4 GTX-based concept vehicle designed to showcase the potential of the brand’s MEB modular electric drive platform. The most powerful ID. model, to date, the adventure-focused concept SUV introduces high-performance drive on the platform’s rear wheels and software adaptations in the drive control unit to realise 285 kW – some 65 kW more than is offered in its ID. GTX donor vehicle.
Featuring a raised rally running gear and 18-inch off-road wheels, the ID. XTREME lives up its name via a modified crash member, completely enclosed aluminium underbody, 50 mm-wider wheel arches compared with the GTX and a bespoke roof-mounted carrier housing additional LED lighting. With a focus on both sustainability and minimal waste, the vehicle is based on ex-ID. GTX development body and incorporates a used 82 kWh battery pack.
“The ID. XTREME is made by enthusiasts at Volkswagen for ID. enthusiasts here in Locarno,” says Head of Sales and Marketing, Production Line e-Mobility, Dr. Silke Bagschik. “We are eager to find out how the fans of electromobility react to the vehicle. Based on the feedback from our community, we will decide how to proceed with the project.”