Why the ID.4 is breaking new ground for Volkswagen
We’re in a high tech world these days where you simply have to be in the car for it to turn on.
Lighter among you might have to snuggle down with a thud, but to be honest the car is refined enough to even spot a svelte rump. And that’s something I never expected to have to write in a roadtest report.
This is the world of Volkswagen. We once had proper wind-based names – Golf (Golf), Scirocco, Jetta (Jetstream), Passat (Passat) and Polo (Polar Winds) – but now a new family is being born.
Now we have the ID group of electric vehicles, where ID stands for intelligent design. And this is where the ID.4, which is officially an SUV but feels like a performance station wagon, is being tested.
It’s huge and fast. Any fears that such a lumbering beast would fight are quickly put to rest when it so silently hits 60mph in 8.5 seconds. Motorway speeds aren’t really any louder, even on a blustery weekend in Yorkshire that brought down trees and part of a friend’s roof.
It’s got huge wheels that threaten to be noisy but aren’t, and a huge trunk that starts at 543 liters and increases to 1,575 with the seats folded. It looks like a van inside, but is a little more graceful on the outside. Does it look like a Volkswagen? Not yet, but we’re not quite familiar with the ID family. Give it time.
It’s surprisingly well equipped, as you might ask for a fifty-large car, but it feels sparse. The cabin is incredibly tidy. Even the “light on” symbols are hidden under the steering wheel. Maybe a bit too hidden for my taste. Not that you have to turn on the light, because like most things, the light is automated.
The only data you really need is speed and battery percentage, and both are prominent. It also has a very easy-to-crack cruise control that’s smart enough to keep a safe distance from the traffic ahead.
Stereo requires a degree in modern engineering, but actually it gets easier. You can set mood lighting – I don’t know anyone who would deviate from the factory settings – but it gives the car a luxurious feel.
All electric cars take some getting used to. But things are improving. It has a range of 317 miles and can be charged from 0 to 80 per cent in 38 minutes – time for a coffee and a browse through the Yorkshire Post.
This Volkswagen is its first all-electric SUV and the brand’s first global electric vehicle. After the ID.3, the ID.4 is the second model from Volkswagen to be based on the new MEB modular electric drive system.
The ID.4 models came in “Pro Performance” specification with a 77kWh battery and 204hp motor, with the ID.4 Life, Family and Max trims also using this setup.
Customers can now choose the 77kWh “Pro” battery (with 334-mile range) or the 52kWh “Pure” battery (with 216-mile range). Pro models are available with a 204hp engine, while Pure models are offered with a choice of 148hp or 170hp. All are rear-wheel drive, except for the ID.4 GTX, which has twin-engine all-wheel drive.
The rear-wheel drive layout ensures agile handling and good traction, especially when accelerating from a standing start. It also has the added benefit of a compact turning circle of just 10.2 metres.
The ID.4 is designed for driving pleasure thanks to its low center of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution.
The production-ready ID.4 was unveiled in September 2020 and the ID.4 1st Edition went on sale in the UK last January. Now we have the ID.4 GTX and GTX Max. The current top seller in the ID.4 range is the Pro Performance drive tested here
It’s an amazingly well-appointed car, with some nifty features like a drowsiness monitor that detects when you’re slacking off and three-zone climate control, plus keyless entry.
It has a landing assistant, emergency braking and a camera-controlled warning system if the vehicle strays from its lane. It also has Alexa-style voice control systems and a camera that can read street signs.
Does it feel like a £50,000 car? It’s only when you start analyzing what you’re getting and it suddenly feels like a bargain.
Volkswagen ID.4 Pro Performance
Price: £45,345. As tested, it cost £49,400.
Motor: An electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery via rear-wheel drive. It puts out 204ps and charges to 80 percent in 38 minutes
Performance: Top speed 99mph and 0 to 60mph in 8.5 seconds
Warranty: Eight year, 100,000 mile battery warranty