The diesel emissions scandal is fading from public consciousness, but the consequences are far from over. The most important one for Volkswagen is a big push towards EVs, and the models on the MEB platform are an important part of this strategy. In the US, the ID.4 crossover is VW’s main EV offering, and now in Europe, VW has added a sporty variant, the ID.5. Volkswagen’s EV “coupé” follows similar offerings from its corporate siblings, the Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback and the Skoda Enyaq Coupé, which ride on the same platform.
When you buy a coupe you may be dealing with slightly reduced usability, but expect a payoff of visual excitement. Unfortunately, this is where the ID.5 falls flat on its dull face – which has basically remained unchanged from the ID.4. The roofline of the ID.5 is a bit lower and more sloping, but since the ID.4 itself has a somewhat coupé-like appearance, the ID.5’s design doesn’t mark a major change in profile either. The taillights are also identical. Only the tailgate looks really different thanks to a prominent spoiler.
Inside, the ID.5’s dashboard lifts straight out of the ID.4. The infotainment system has a 12-inch display and could be more intuitive. A touch slider controls the volume and some important functions, such as turning off the annoying lane assistant, are hidden in submenus. The electronic gearshift requires you to push away (or forward) for Drive rather than pulling back, which takes some getting used to. (We’re told that the setup, which is the opposite of a conventional automatic transmission, has been the subject of intense internal debate at VW.)
But there are also many good ideas in this car. A plug-and-charge function eliminates the need for a separate RFID tag, app or charging card – billing is done via VW’s own We Charge. In Europe, Volkswagen’s system is recognized by many major charging networks such as Ionity, Aral, BP, E.ON and Enel, as well as Iberdrola and Eviny, with more to follow.
On the road, the ID.5’s adaptive cruise control Travel Assist keeps the car centered in its lane, adapts to speed limits or curves and maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Parking can also be automated: In addition to the usual automatic steering, acceleration and braking when entering or leaving a parking space, the ID.5 can memorize a path about 50 meters below 40 mph, like entering a parking space. narrow driveway or a tight garage. After you park yourself and save the process, the vehicle can repeat the learned parking maneuver, with the driver only having to follow the process.
The 77.0 kWh battery can now be charged at 135 kW, compared to 125 kW. For a standard charge of 5 to 80 percent, this should save up to nine minutes. And the e-route planner, which offers multi-stop planning via the 12-inch touchscreen, has become smarter and is packed with clever details. For example, the route planning may suggest two short, faster loads instead of one long, lower power load.
As on the ID.4, rear-wheel drive is standard on the ID.5. The GTX model we drove comes with four-wheel drive. It is equipped with an asynchronous motor on the front axle and a synchronous motor on the rear. With 295 horsepower (same as in the all-wheel drive ID.4), the drivetrain offers quick response despite the ID.5’s considerable weight. The GTX hits 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds and, unlike the rear-wheel drive model, it doesn’t stop until it reaches its top speed, at a modest 112 km/h. The brake regeneration is adjustable to a certain extent. In the Sport setting, it’s impossible to turn it off, which is a shame as some drivers prefer to roll out their EV when the accelerator pedal is lifted.
The handling is pleasingly nimble and the software has been fine-tuned to make this burly EV fly through corners with astonishing agility. There is significant body roll, but understeer is virtually eliminated. However, the emphasis is still on comfort, and those hoping that the GTX name could provide an analogy to the petrol-powered GTI models will be disappointed.
One thing we especially like about the GTX version is the blue vinyl decor accentuated by red stitching on the doors and dash. The color and finish provide a beautiful and economical element in an otherwise generic and uninspired interior.
The ID.5 GTX is currently the ultimate expression of this platform by the VW brand, and it doesn’t come cheap. Has VW taken too many turns in creating a meaningful differentiation from the ID.4? We think so, and apparently Volkswagen of America agrees. We have been told that the ID.5 will not be offered in the US market.
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