The electric Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback stands out as one of the highlights of the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show. It packs the most advanced electric powertrain ever stuffed inside a Volkswagen, and we love its infotainment system, but it’s unfortunately not coming to the United States. Most of the technology packed into it will reach our shores in a crossover tentatively called ID.4, however, and Volkswagen quietly previewed the model during the Frankfurt show.
The ID.4 will ride on the same modular MEB platform as the ID.3. It’s a highly flexible architecture that Volkswagen developed from scratch specifically to underpin electric cars. The ID Buggy we recently drove in California was also built on MEB, as were all of the ID-badged concepts shown over the past couple of years. The platform features a single electric motor mounted over the rear axle in its most basic configuration, but making an MEB-built vehicle all-wheel drive is as simple as adding a second motor that spins the front wheels.
While the ID Crozz concept served as a preview of the ID.4, the camouflaged prototype displayed in Frankfurt behind fogged glass confirms the model received a more conventional, less fastback-like roofline on its way to production. The boxier silhouette and the compact electric powertrain should let designers carve out a shockingly spacious interior.
The ID.3’s connectivity features will find their way into the bigger ID.4, and that’s a good thing. The infotainment system is intuitive to use, it’s very smartphone-like in terms of layout and graphics, and it’s internet-connected, so it’s able to receive over-the-air updates when needed. We expect the ID.3’s head-up display will also be offered on the ID.4.
Automotive News learned the ID.4 — assuming that’s what it will actually be called — will make its global debut in spring 2020, a time frame that suggests we might see it camo-free for the first time during the next Geneva Auto Show in March of next year. Sales will most likely begin in time for the 2021 model year. The soft-roader will be joined by at least two additional electric models during the early 2020s, including the production version of the heritage-laced ID Buzz concept.
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