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VW is launching the second model in its electric car family: the ID.4. The first test drive reveals strengths and weaknesses.

VW ID.4.

"A range of up to 496 kilometers according to WLTP" promises VW in the data sheet of the ID.4 1st Max. For the basic model with minimalist equipment, it would even be 522 kilometers.

But that will hardly be possible on the day of the first test drive. With temperatures around freezing and light snowfall, the heat pump heater has a lot to do to keep the occupants and battery cells at the right temperature. The 325 kilometers that the on-board computer displays with a fully charged battery appear believable. This does not change over the first 150 kilometers or so, during which we were able to take a close look at the ID.4. This is definitely suitable for everyday use – and a clear improvement compared to the ID.3. The compact car, which is built on the same basis as the ID.4, was previously only available with the smaller 58 kWh battery. The larger battery with a net capacity of 77 kWh is now being used for the first time in the larger ID.4. This ensures sufficient reserves even in the cold. The battery is charged with a maximum of 11 kW on a wall box, which means that the battery is fully charged again after seven hours. DC charging with up to 125 kW is possible on the go; VW promises a range of 320 kilometers within 30 minutes.

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In general, the second representative of the ID family from VW appears to be significantly more mature than the ID.3, which still had teething problems, especially in early tests. The cockpit of the ID.4 now has a solid finish and is built with higher quality materials. Identical in both cars is the infotainment system with a small speedometer screen in front of the driver and a touchscreen on the dashboard. The system is still a bit slow to respond and doesn't offer all the necessary functions yet; so the navigation system cannot automatically calculate any charging breaks or predict the battery level when you arrive at your destination; essential functions in an e-car that VW must and will provide later via software update. The new "Augmented Reality Head-up Display", which will also be added to the ID.3 later, is convincing. The function was active in the tested ID.4; Three to ten meters in front of the car, the navigation information is projected directly onto the surroundings; so you can find your way without having to take your eyes off the road.

space and silence

There is nothing wrong with the driving characteristics of the latest ID model. The tested version of the crossover is also safe on the road; the control electronics act very carefully and brake the car reliably. Due to the rear-wheel drive, the front wheels enjoy a lot of freedom of movement; With a diameter of 10.2 meters, the turning circle is on par with a VW Polo.

The chassis seems more comfortable and balanced than in the smaller brother, the ID.3, which could be due to the slightly higher ground clearance and the higher weight – mainly due to the larger battery. The low noise level in the ID. 4: Above all, wind and road noise are well insulated, the drive can hardly be heard anyway. The electric crossover is a good travel companion, which scores with a lot of space due to the battery installed flat in the floor. There is also more than enough knee and headroom on the back seat.

The tested variant with rear-wheel drive and 204 hp maximum power represents the middle of the model portfolio. The drive is elastic and responds well; at speeds over 70 km/h, however, it seems to be running out of breath. Although the crossover continues to accelerate up to motorway speed, it does not appear very dynamic due to its high weight.

Other variants will follow. The entry will be the ID.4 "Pure". It starts for less than 39,000 francs, but then comes with less battery capacity (52 kWh, up to 348 km range according to WLTP) and less power: 148 hp and 220 Nm. The 52 kWh battery is also used in the ID.4 City, but the electronics release 170 hp and 310 Nm here. The range is also 348 km.

The ID.4 GTX, which will be available in the basic version for less than 57,000 francs, will be the top model and probably the most interesting variant for Switzerland from June. Thanks to a second electric motor on the front axle, the GTX is the only variant with all-wheel drive. The performance increases to 306 hp, the large 77 kWh battery is used as the battery.

However, the consumption increases due to the second motor and the higher performance, which leads to a reduced range. According to the WLTP measurement, more than 400 kilometers should still be possible – or around 300 kilometers when you need all-wheel drive most urgently: in winter.

VW ID.4 1st Max

Engine: electric machine

Power: 204 hp/310 Nm

Drive: auto 1-speed, rear-wheel drive.

L×W×H: 4584×1852×1612mm

trunk: 543-1575l

Weight: 2188kg

0-100km/h: 8.5 sec.

Vmax: 160km/h

Range WLTP: 496 km

Price: from 63,650 francs

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