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Volkswagen ID.4 engines, drive and performance

2021 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 3.5 out of 53.5

Written by Keith Adams Published: 29 November 2022 Updated: 20 September 2023

  • Range of power outputs available
  • Quick, effortless and undramatic performance
  • High levels of grip and security

Electric motors

There are six power options on the ID.4 – 148, 170, 174, 204, 265 and 299hp. The entry-level 52kWh battery is offered with 148 and 170hp, which means if you want more power you’ll have to go for a larger 77kWh battery.

All options are quick off the mark, but not exactly breathtaking. For those who don’t need the long range of a larger-battery ID.4, the 52kWh models – even in 148hp form – feel more than rapid enough in most situations, and a little lighter on their feet. We’d upgrade to the 170hp version for a bit more urgency when fully loaded, though.

We’d argue 204hp models are the sweet spot of the regular 77kWh range, feeling quite brisk off the line and not out of their depth at motorway speeds. In fact, we’d only upgrade to the twin-motor 265hp four-wheel drive 4Motion model if you need the additional traction.

The 299hp GTX models are the quickest variants, with a 6.2-second 0-62mph time that would startle many a hot hatchback. It’s just as linear and easy to control as any other ID.4, with four-wheel drive helping to put power down cleanly even in poor conditions. However, rivals such as the Mach-E GT and Tesla Model Y pack far more power for supercar-rivalling acceleration. In reality, the GTX doesn’t feel much quicker than the regular 4Motion,

2022 VW ID.4 GTX rear
GTX is quick but not all that exciting

What’s it like to drive?

  • Quick and accurate steering
  • Grippy and safe handling
  • GTX isn’t that exciting

The Volkswagen ID.4 is a safe and capable car to drive, but not a thrilling one. When you consider it weighs more than two tonnes, it’s actually quite an achievement that it’s as agile as it is. Given that it’s aimed at family buyers perhaps moving away from petrol or diesel, there’s nothing here to scare you.

Traction is excellent, and even during extended periods of appalling rain encountered during our extended testing of a rear-wheel drive 204hp model. The keen acceleration and stability is retained well into motorway speeds, too.

There are two energy recuperation modes to choose from. There’s standard D (for Drive) or B (for Brake), with the latter using resistance from the electric motor to slow the car down, allowing the batteries to recharge. This isn’t as pronounced as it is some electric cars, but if you’re careful you can avoid using the conventional brakes a lot of the time, saving energy for a longer driving range in the process.

2022 VW ID.4 GTX rear cornering
Entry-level small battery cars are the best to drive, making the GTX feel a bit pointless.

The steering really is quite nice. It feels progressive and well-weighted, and is quick and responsive at low speeds without making the ID.4 feel twitchy in any way. That means you can turn into bends without worry and because there’s plenty of grip and weight here, you can be sure the car will go where you point it. However, there’s a slight woolliness in the handling – which is an inescapable consequence of the ID.4’s heaviness.

The smaller-battery 52kWh model feels appreciably lighter on its feet. We tried the Pure model, which sat on 18-inch wheels and tyres with relatively tall sidewalls. This is a good combination that you get a benefit from the lighter battery pack and a smoother ride that calms down the ID.4’s jitteriness, thus making it a very comfortable car overall.

But there’s no escaping the fact that although VW has built-in massive reserves of safety, it has dialled this car in more for calm and unruffled distance covering. There’s nothing wrong with that but when you consider that Ford, Tesla and Polestar have all managed to inject some fun into their electric car driving experiences, it’s a tiny bit of a disappointment.

Even the GTX doesn’t dial up the fun. Again, there’s plenty of grip, but the steering doesn’t connect you to the road’s surface any better and it doesn’t feel a great deal sportier. If you must have four-wheel drive, the regular 4Motion model is very nearly as quick and capable.