Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • 145, 150 and 204hp motors available
  • Top model rapid for a non-performance car
  • Handles well, rides comfortably – we’re impressed

What power options are there?

Three battery sizes - 45, 58 and 77kWh - are available alongside three motor options - 145, 150 and 204hp. The mid-range 58kWh battery is offered with two choices of motor giving a possible four different drive options, which are all listed below.

On the road, even the least powerful 145hp Pro offers more than enough performance for most owners, with a 0-62mph time of 9.6 seconds. That's a little slower than VW's petrol 1.5-litre TSI Evo-powered models, although the EV has more pulling power from low speeds.

We've yet to drive the 45kWh Pure Performance version and will report on our findings as soon as we do.

All motor options

Model Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
Pure Performance (45kWh)
150hp, 310Nm
8.9secs
99mph
Pro (58kWh) 145hp, 275Nm 9.6secs
99mph
Pro Performance (58kWh) 204hp, 310Nm 7.3secs
99mph
Pro S (77kWh) 204hp, 310Nm
7.9secs
99mph

View full specs

Higher performance models

Out in the real world, you’re unlikely to notice much difference between the 58 and 77kWh Pro Performance and Pro S models as it's the size of their batteries that differs. They use the same motor, which means they both benefit from 310Nm of maximum torque that, in the manner of all electric motors, is delivered instantly.

This makes the ID.3 quick off the mark and when accelerating from low speeds – much more so than those official 0-62mph times would suggest, and to the extent that very few non-electric cars will keep up with it, particularly from 0-30mph. Traction is excellent (so no need to worry about old-fashioned, wayward rear-wheel drive handling behaviour), and the ID.3 delivers rapid response well into motorway speeds.

You won’t get caught out on slip roads in one of these, and your ability to safely overtake slower traffic is never in doubt. There is occasionally the slightest of pauses between applying the accelerator and the vehicle’s reaction, and the performance never really thumps you in the back.

Instead, you get a polite but insistent shove that, because the ID.3 only has a single-speed transmission, never pauses for breath in the same way that a diesel or petrol car would. It’s not as quick as a Tesla, but compared with a conventional car it can be an eye-opening experience – and one that may soon convince you there’s something to this electric car malarkey after all.

There two energy recuperation modes, standard D (for Drive) or B (for Brake). As with all electric cars, recuperation – also known as regeneration or regen – uses drag from the electric motor to slow the car down, handily turning the motor into a generator at the same time, a process which helps to recharge the batteries a little.

While straightforward, only having a single setting for this in the ID.3 does feel like a bit of a backwards step compared to the old e-Golf in which the level of regen could be varied. At the highest regen level you could often drive for long periods without touching the conventional brakes at all. This is rarely the case in the ID.3 unless you’re on a particularly clear motorway run.

Handling

  • Responsive steering
  • Incisive handling
  • Very quiet driving experience

Volkswagen’s pulled off something clever when it comes to the ID.3’s ride and handling. It weighs a chunky 1,719kg with even the medium 58kWh battery pack (a regular VW Golf can be almost 500kg lighter, yet you rarely feel this heft in everyday driving.

Well-judged power-steering combined with rear-wheel drive (which in leaving the front wheels to do the steering alone typically improves the feel of a car) means you can fling the ID.3 about with some abandon.

It helps that most of the mass is located low down, thanks to the battery pack being fitted below the cabin floor. This pins the centre of gravity to the ground and together with some deft suspension tuning stops the ID.3 rolling around too much in the turns.

It can’t escape its bulk entirely – if you go looking for it you’ll detect a slight sideways rocking motion when cornering hard. And though the ID.3 does flow pliantly over most surfaces, those big wheels will thump into sharp ridges and drop heavily into sudden dips.

Overall, though, it’s a very satisfying car to drive. Easy going when you want it to be, but with more than enough performance to be fun should the mood take you.

Certainly the ingredients bode well if Volkswagen chooses to introduce a high performance ID.3 GTX at a later juncture.