What is it?
Like opening one of those brown envelopes from HMRC, climbing aboard the Volkswagen ID 4 for the first time is an ordinary act loaded with trepidation.
Which seems ridiculous, I’ll admit. While this is only the second car after the ID 3 hatchback to be built under the grand banner of Wolfsburg’s ID electric sub-brand, the ID 4 is just (yet?) another crossover, albeit one whose pebble-like curvature hints at something unusual. And as for being an electric crossover, lots of those exist already. Hyundai makes one, as does Ford, as does Vauxhall. So why the suspense?
It’s because the ID 4, fresh to UK roads and tested here in £37,800 1st Edition trim, could do more than any other car to shape the market over the next decade, at least in Europe. With dimensions just inside those of the Volvo XC60 in every direction, it taps richly into the crossover zeitgeist. And coming from the one ‘legacy manufacturer’ whose ambitions in the EV sphere trump all others’ (we’re promised 70 new electric models by 2028 and told that 70% of new Volkswagens sold in 2030 will be EVs), its volume potential is simply colossal. If the ID 4 is properly good, you have to imagine that it will light the fires beneath the ID offensive. And if not? Well, the ghost of Dieselgate still lingers.
As for the hardware itself, under a body that’s somehow bulbous and rakish in equal measure (the ID 4 isn’t exactly handsome, but neither is it unattractive) lies the same MEB platform used by the ID 3, only with the wheelbase and tracks extended. In the forseeable future, both Audi (with the Q4 e-Tron) and Skoda (with the Enyaq iV) will also make use of the MEB platform.
For now, the sole ID 4 derivative is this Pro Performance 1st Edition, which pairs a 201bhp rear-mounted motor with a 77kWh battery for a 310- mile range and 0-62mph in 8.5sec. Expect a 52kWh battery offered with 146bhp or 168bhp motors to arrive later this year, and eventually an ID 4 GTX with four-wheel drive courtesy of another motor on the front axle and more than 300bhp all in. A coupé version, the ID 5, will also sprout.