Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Subscribe
Advertisement

Driving

What is it like to drive?

We’ll start with the entry-level Pure model, with its 52kWh battery and 146bhp electric motor. VW claims a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds, and like any EV it picks up the instant you ask, while the delivery is super-controllable. In urban driving you notice the well-calibrated pedal too, as it moves you away from rest with creamy smoothness rather than a jolt.

Moving up the range, the ID.4 is over two tonnes with the bigger 77kWh battery, so the 201bhp of the Pro Performance isn't going to warp the horizon. The zero-to-62 figure, 8.5 seconds, makes it sound like a better overtaker than it is. We timed an ID.4 using a GPS tracker and found it actually did the 0-60 sprint in 7.9 seconds, which is healthy, but what constitutes 'in-gear' punch is still on the leisurely side.

Advertisement - Page continues below

How easy is it to operate?

VW doesn't expect you to geek out on the whole electric driving thing. So it doesn't give you complicated energy consumption readouts, or a driver-only climate mode. Not even paddles to select different levels of regeneration, or adaptive radar-based variable regen either. Just D and B on the main drive thumb-lever-thingy. And even B for brake mode doesn't pull you back very strongly.

That's because the best way to hypermile any EV is to anticipate and lift early, rather than rely on regenerative braking. But when you use the brake pedal – which is nicely progressive – it does get you a bit more regen at the top of the travel. Not that much though, as this is RWD and dragging the back wheels on a slippery road too much would be like using only the back brake on your pushbike: liable to unsettle matters.

How does it corner?

You certainly won't unsettle an ID.4 in corners, deliberately or otherwise. Into slow ones it'll understeer mildly but doggedly. Settle it and use the power to the rear and it'll go through neutrally.

The standard car actually feels more AWD than RWD – there's loads of traction and precious little steering feel except in quicker bends. The traction control acts very subtly. So the enjoyment on a good road comes from the road not the car, but the car isn't a killjoy.

Advertisement - Page continues below

What's the ride like?

Low-speed ride is pretty knobbly – as if the springs are tuned for a full load of people and cargo. With just the driver aboard it doesn't properly settle at speed either.

As you'd expect of a heavy German wagon, it sits beautifully on the motorway though, stable in its lane, and low on tyre and wind noise.

And the GTX?

The extra motor up front boosts power to a significant 295bhp and drops the 0-62mph time to 6.2 seconds, but because of the electric drivetrain and a hefty focus on safety it just doesn’t feel any different to the standard car. Slightly more alert, yes, but there’s no drama or sense of fun, and even through twisty stuff the steering is light and uncommunicative. 

There is a 4WD traction mode that’ll help if you ever need to escape a slippery field, but most of the time you’d be better off with the extra range of the Pro Performance.

Is it efficient?

We found the ID.4 averaged 3.0-3.3 miles per kWh even in GTX form, so some simple maths explains that, if you were to use the entire 77kWh capacity (unlikely), you're going 231-254 miles on a charge. Call it 240 once you've factored in not getting to each charging point with 0 miles range remaining.

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe