Volkswagen's ID.4 compact SUV is already in its third model year, and the ID.Buzz retro minivan comes next. It's only logical that the next ID will be a sedan, and it will be dubbed ID.7. The ID.7 is still more than a year off, but we just drove it, in disguised form, in Spain.
The ID.7 is built on an enlarged version of the MEB platform that undergirds the ID.4 and ID.Buzz. The 7 is solidly mid-size with almost exactly the same length and the same width as a Honda Accord, though its 116.8-inch wheelbase is 5.4 inches longer and its 60.6-inch height is 3.5 inches taller.
When the first ID.7 goes on sale, it will use the same 77.0-kWh battery used in the higher-trim versions of the ID.4, and a single electric motor will power its rear wheels.
This motor, however, is more powerful than the ID.4's rear motor, developing 282 horsepower instead of 201, along with 402 pound-feet of torque instead of 229. This increased output comes from more powerful permanent magnets, a stator with more windings and wires with a larger cross-section, and a more efficient cooling system that includes a liquid-cooled and gearbox oil circuit to maintain the proper temperature in the motor.
Just as in an internal-combustion engine, using a heat exchanger with a liquid circuit in combination with the oil serves to heat up the oil more quickly after a "cold" start, lowering its viscosity and friction. The helical teeth in the reduction gears have also been micro-polished to reduce their friction.
This powertrain efficiency is complemented by the ID.7's much improved aerodynamic performance compared with the ID.4. The sedan's longer and lower body facilitates a more streamlined shape. Combined with details such as a steeply raked windshield, smoothly curved roofline, integral rear spoiler, side air vents to help airflow around the wheels, and a roller blind to block off the radiator in front, the ID.7 achieves a drag coefficient of 0.23.
By contrast, the ID.4's Cd varies from 0.27 to 0.29, and with its 3.8- to 4.5-inch-taller roof, it punches a much larger and more ragged hole in the air. In fact, the small SUV has about 30 percent more aerodynamic drag than the new sedan.
VW says that these improvements give the ID.7 a range of 382 miles, according to the European WLTP standard. We expect that to turn into around 320 miles on the EPA tests. And later on, the Pro S version will have a larger 86.0-kWh battery, which should add another 30 to 35 miles. That's decent for a large car without a giant battery.
With its long wheelbase, there's plenty of space for two rows of seats, and the high roof provides decent headroom despite the rack of batteries under your feet. A 5-foot-11 rear-seat passenger sitting behind a similar-size driver can cross their legs without contortions. And there's plenty of cargo space in the hatchback body, particularly when the rear seats are folded—conveniently using releases in the luggage area. It looks like you could easily take a nap back there.
The cockpit is nicely finished, but the biggest change is in the layout of the newly enlarged 15.0-inch display screen. It addresses most of the complaints about the irritating and convoluted programming of the ID.4's current infotainment system. First, there's a row of always-present, virtual buttons that runs the full width across the bottom of the screen. These control all major climate-control functions. Now you can turn on your seat heaters with a single action, just like you could in 1980.
Across the top of the screen, there's a thinner band that's available for you to place the icons controlling your favorite functions, so you no longer have to negotiate the multiple layers of the menu to access them instead of paying attention to your driving. The system also provides the option of subdividing the screen in several ways, such as two-thirds for navigation and splitting the remaining third in two—using one for the phone and the other for the trip computer—or whatever you prefer. It's a huge improvement.
In ID fashion, the display in front of the driver is tiny—even smaller than the smartphone-sized screen on the ID.4. Information is minimal. However, a head-up display is standard on the ID.7 and presents a useful amount of selectable information right in the driver's field of view.
Other interior features include smart air vents that swivel side to side and up and down with the aid of electric motors. Just tell the car to warm your hands, and the system directs hot air toward the steering wheel. There's also an optional sunroof that can be switched from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. Massaging seats incorporate pelvic massage into the seat cushion, in addition to the massage functions on the backrest. You can also option a 14-speaker, 700-watt Harman/Kardon sound system.
We had a short drive on a tight back-road loop, and the ID.7 felt rock solid, with a surprisingly firm ride. Surprising because the ID.7 comes with electronically controlled dampers that adapt to conditions within four drive modes. The drive modes also change the steering effort, which felt less synthetic in the Comfort setting. Brake-pedal action also feels somewhat artificial, though the transition from regen to friction braking was well muted.
But body control is excellent, as we've come to expect in cars with about half a ton of batteries under the floor. You can bend the ID.7 into corners confidently, and grip was more than enough with the staggered 235/45 and 255/40 20-inch tires on our car.
And while the ID.7 will set no new EV acceleration records, it felt plenty peppy. The ID.7 weighs about the same as an all-wheel-drive ID.4 and has slightly less power and a lot more torque than that car's two motors can provide. As such, we'd guess a 60-mph time in the mid- to low-5.0-second range. If and when a dual-motor version arrives, the additional 100 horsepower and 100 pound-feet could easily slice a second from that.
The ID.7 will hit our shores sometime in 2024 as a '25 model. With that date so far out, pricing is undefined. Given the standard head-up display and electronic HVAC vents, we expect this car will probably start in the mid-$50,000 range. It will be assembled in VW's Emden, Germany, plant, meaning it won't be eligible for an EV tax credit. While such a price used to be solidly in luxury territory, in these inflationary times, it's barely above average, meaning VW's electric sedan can still claim a "people's car" mantle.
Csaba Csere joined Car and Driver in 1980 and never really left. After serving as Technical Editor and Director, he was Editor-in-Chief from 1993 until his retirement from active duty in 2008. He continues to dabble in automotive journalism and LeMons racing, as well as ministering to his 1965 Jaguar E-type, 2017 Porsche 911, and trio of motorcycles—when not skiing or hiking near his home in Colorado.