Optimal prime: Volkswagen ID.7


The first thing you notice about the all-electric Volkswagen ID.7 is its length. It’s not what you’d call ill-proportioned, because it’s basically an elegant, subtly sinewed sort of thing, but at almost five metres long and even given its generous width, it feels like one of my sentences – goes on just that bit too long.

The ID.7 is subtly sinewed and very much like some of our Sean’s sentences…

(Volkswagen)

The upside of course is that this new flagship VW fastback (there’s a hatch rather than boot at the far end) is endowed with a correspondingly long wheelbase, and thus boasts the kind of space and ride comfort that you’d expect from such a vehicle.

In terms of the more conventional, internal combustion engine, models in the VW Group family, it’s just as generous as the famously roomy Skoda Superb, and not far off the Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Importantly, then, the VW engineers have been able to design a notional Passat replacement without, in this instance, resorting to the bulky lines of an SUV.

Inside is like sitting in a fairly well-appointed Sunday-supplement style lounge

(Volkswagen)

By the way, there’s also an even roomier ID.7 estate car on the way, which if anything looks even more attractive than the fastback – and promises even more of that ultimate luxury in life – space. VW are to be thanked for keeping the estate car concept going – ironically quite a radical move these days.

The 15-inch touchscreen has key controls that are more directly accessible

(Volkswagen)

The substantial (77kWh) lithium-ion battery pack is “sandwiched” in the floor, and the consequent sacrifice in passenger and luggage capacity has been minimised. The sense of sitting in a fairly well-appointed Sunday-supplement style lounge is completed with the presence of a 15-inch touchscreen up front. It works much better than previous iterations of this standard VW piece of kit, and, while as unduly complicated and inherently dangerous to use as any car touchscreen, key controls have been made more directly accessible.

VW have been approved by the German campaign for healthier backs

(Volkswagen)

More sensibly, the audio and highly efficient and precise (down to individual lane level) satnav and adaptive cruise control can all be easily accessed via precise little buttons on the steering wheel. The screen for the main dials is relatively small, but that’s because much of the information you need is “projected” onto the windscreen, as if actually on the road ahead, by an advanced form of head-up display, which means you need never take your eyes off the road.

You can get an extra 100-miles-plus of range on just a 10 minute ‘fill up’

(Volkswagen)

It all adds to the ambience of being in charge of a machine that does and tells you everything you would wish of it in the most optimal fashion.

It’s all very brainy as well. One impressive feature, for example, is that the car will automatically warm its battery pack up for rapid charging if you tell it to do so, or if you’ve programmed the satnav to transport you to the nearest fast-charging station. Once there you can get an extra 100-miles-plus of range on a 10 minute “fill up”; and from nearly flat batteries to 80 per cent in half an hour (more than 80 per cent and the charging rate slows to protect battery life).

The ID.7 has plenty of space for luggage in its 500-litre boot

(Volkswagen)

The other very distinctive thing about the ID.7 is the way it drives. It feels very much like a full-size limousine to pilot, the kind of feel I last recall experiencing in the (all-electric) BMW i7 and Mercedes-Benz EQS – the ID.7 really isn’t that far short of those sorts of pinnacles.

THE SPEC

VW ID.7 286PS

Price: From £51,550

Propulsion: Single electric motors, powered by 77kWh battery

Power (PS): 286

Top speed (mph): 112

0-60 (seconds): 6.5

Economy (miles per kWh): 3.7

Range (miles): 250-350

CO2 emissions: 0

As is nowadays customary, you can set the car up in Eco, Comfort, Sport and “individual” bespoke modes, though all operate within the parameters of the ID.7’s wafty personality.

The seats are unusually supportive, heated and set up for massage. VW are very proud that they’ve been approved by the Aktion Gesunder Rucken eV, the German campaign for healthier backs. I think that may be a first; anyway, they work.

The all-electric ID.7 is a worthy flagship model for VW and is sure to be a sales success

(Volkswagen)

The cabin heating and ventilation systems are also well above average and draught free – apparently inspired by the old VW Phaeton model, a rarely seen over-engineered act of hubris by an earlier generation of VW management.

I suspect the ID.7 will be more of a sales success than the Phaeton, and in its modern way it is just as much a worthy flagship for the VW-badged arm of the VW empire. It certainly does deserve to succeed. Long story short: it’s a joy.



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