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2021 Volkswagen ID.4: electric SUV premieres with 520km range

John Law

The second instalment of Volkswagen electric ID brand has been fully detailed; the ID.4 promises 520km of real-world range, 125kW DC fast-charging and 150kW of power wrapped up in a trendy compact SUV body.

Volkswagen’s ID.3 may have been the brand’s canary down the EV coal mine, but we have a suspicion that Australian buyers will fall in love with the form factor of the ID.4 thanks to the extra ground clearance and practical aesthetic.

However the ID.4 is not just an appeal to Australia, the compact SUV being the most popular market across the globe, with Volkswagen citing China and the USA as having quite the penchant for crossovers.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Rear 3.4
We like the looks of the ID.4.

When the ID.4 does arrive in Australia, it will be mostly peerless, with only the Hyundai Kona Electric competing in the same space, though that car falls short of the VW’s claimed range.

Initial impressions are positive; the exterior of the ID.4 is very tidy both visually and aerodynamically – recording a drag coefficient of just 0.28 in the wind tunnel. Pictured here with the optional 21-inch wheels and contrasting roof panel, the electric SUV looks like it has rolled off the concept car stand at the motor show and onto the road.

Matrix LED headlights will perform a welcome dance as the driver approaches with their smart key on range-topping models. There are also LED taillights at the back for a distinctive lighting signature.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Interior
Inside is rather simplistic.

We like the direction the exterior styling has gone, perhaps less so the interior. The layout is simple and the design minimal, although the centrally-mounted 12-inch touchscreen does look like an afterthought, especially when compared to Audi’s far sleeker technology integration.

Volkswagen proudly boasts of the lack of physical buttons inside the ID.4’s cabin, which will take some learning. There are neat tricks played inside, the ambient lighting able to guide pilots to the functions that might be useful. There is also a fully digital driver’s display in the new ID.4.

Naturally, the SUV form factor offers more generous interior space than the ID.3 hatch. The ID.4 is longer by almost 300mm at 4,580mm allowing the boot to swell to 543 litres in size, with the potential to tow light loads thanks to an optional tow-ball.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Interior
We think it looks pretty cool, but Audi does it better.

Underpinning the ID.4 is the all-electric Volkswagen Group MEB platform currently found under the ID.3 and Skoda Enyaq, and future Audi e-tron products, we’re promised heavy and diverse use of this platform going forwards.

That means modularity and customisation, we assume that the ID.4 will offer a multitude of drivetrain setups, but for now, Volkswagen has only confirmed one long-range permutation. Combining a 77kWh battery with a single rear-axle mounted electric motor, the first ID.4 will produce 150kW with a WLTP certified range of 520km.

Volkswagen claims a V-Max of 160km/h for the ID.4, and a respectable 0-100km/h time of 8.5 seconds, though in the real-world the electric power will make the ID.4 feel more potent than a similarly powered internal combustion vehicle.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Topdown
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Topdown

Volkswagen will presumably offer smaller battery variants and less powerful motors down the line as more affordable options. Still, Australia’s long distances mean this 520km capable ID.4 will probably be the most popular here.

Retaining eco-credentials is vital to Volkswagen, and every ID vehicle will be produced in carbon-neutral production plants and emit zero local emissions.

The ID.4 will launch initially in Europe followed by China and the USA, with exact timings and specification yet to be confirmed.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Power
It’s electric but the bonnet still hides some important gubbins.