Volkswagen has taken the covers off the ID.3, ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt motor show.
It is the Wolfsburg brand’s first electric model on its dedicated MEB modular platform, which has been in development since 2015 and will underpin a fleet of Volkswagen Group all-electric vehicles.
The ID.3 debuts the brand’s new ID family of zero-emission vehicles, with its name denoting its size – it’ll be the third smallest car in the ID lineup – and role as the start of the ‘third chapter’ in VW’s history, after the Beetle and Golf.
Three different powertrain grades will be offered, each with varying battery sizes, charging speeds and performance levels.
The entry-level model – which Volkswagen claims will command a starting price of below €30,000 ($48,300) in Europe – sports a 45kWh battery delivering a 330km range on the WLTP test cycle. The wheels are driven through a 110kW/310Nm electric motor located on the rear axle, while there’s support for 50kW DC fast-charging, with 100kW capability available as an option.
The middle option – expected to be the most popular – is a 58kWh battery that’s capable of a 420km WLTP driving range. Motor outputs are upped to 150kW/310Nm, while 100kW DC fast-charging support is standard – Volkswagen claims a 30 minute wait at a compatible charger will inject 290km of range into the battery.
At the top of the range is a 77kWh battery, that permits a 550km range and features 125kW DC charging support. The mid-spec model’s 150kW motor has also been carried over.
Top speed for all models is limited to 160km/h.
Visually, the production ID.3 is very similar to the ID concept shown at the 2016 Paris motor show. Up front there’s no dedicated grille like a Golf, with the fascia instead home to thin LED headlights connected by an LED DRL strip, and a thin lower intake for cooling the battery.
The rear end is more upright than a Golf, with LED taillights and a prominent spoiler featuring alongside Volkswagen’s new, simpler logo that debuted alongside this car.
Dimensionally, the ID.3 is just 3mm longer, 10mm wider and 60mm taller than the Mk7.5 Golf, though its 145mm longer wheelbase not only improves its stance on the road but delivers Passat-like levels of interior space. Boot space is pegged at 380 litres, identical to the Golf.
Inside, it’s no Porsche Taycan, with the compact Volkswagen adopting a highly minimalist cabin design with just two screens – one in the centre of the dashboard for controlling media, climate control and navigation, and another mounted to the steering column to display instrumentation and speed readouts.
An augmented reality head-up display can be had as an option, while an intelligent voice assistant comes standard that responds to the prompt “Hello ID”, similarly to the Honda e‘s “OK Honda” or Mercedes-Benz A-Class‘ “Hey Mercedes” functions.
Order books opened in May for the ID.3 1st, a series of limited run launch specials available in three different equipment levels, all of which are powered by the mid-grade 150kW motor and 58kWh battery.
The base ID.3 1st comes standard with satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, heated steering wheel and a front armrest.
Moving up the ID.3 1st Plus adds a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, push-button start, a unique seat design, USB-C ports and ambient LED cabin lighting. It also includes 19-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights, LED taillights and indicators, tinted rear windows and silver trim.
The top-spec ID.3 1st Max gains the aforementioned augmented reality head-up display, in addition to a Beats sound system, panoramic sliding glass roof, 20-inch alloy wheels, lane-keep assist, lane-change assist, wireless car charging and comfort-oriented seats.
While European deliveries are set to commence in next year, the ID.3 isn’t scheduled to hit Australian shores until 2022. Before then, Europeans can see Volkswagen’s mass-market electric car at the Frankfurt motor show later this week.