Volkswagen ID. Aero: electric saloon coming to Europe in 2023

New VW ID. Aero will debut in China before versions for the US and European markets arrive

Volkswagen ID. Aero

Following the launch of the ID. Buzz, the next addition to Volkswagen’s ‘ID.’ range of electric cars will be a zero-emissions saloon, something that was first teased back in 2018. Now, the German brand has previewed its future Tesla Model 3 rival once again with the reveal of another concept car called the ID. Aero. 

But this time, Volkswagen has also confirmed that a production car based on this new concept will go on sale in China in the second half of 2023, and that a version for Europe and North America will enter production sometime in 2023 as well. The roadgoing ID. Aero will effectively serve as an electric successor to the brand’s Passat and Arteon saloons, and rival other EVs like the Polestar 2 and Hyundai Ioniq 6.

The ID. Aero manages to stand out from Volkswagen’s other electric cars thanks to its sharper, more aggressive front end design, but its honeycomb pattern on the front bumper and LED headlights connected by a thin light bar are elements shared with VW’s other ID. models.

The front bumper design itself is very similar to the ID.5’s, but the saloon adds three slim fog lights into its uplifts on either side. At the rear, there’s a set of patterned taillights paired with a full-width rear light bar and illuminated VW badge.

Aerodynamic touches around the car include flush door handles, a rear diffuser and sloping roofline, which help the car achieve its 0.23 drag coefficient figure – the same as the Tesla Model 3’s. The Volkswagen concept also gets extremely short overhangs at the front and rear, a set of 22-inch alloy wheels and Polar Light Blue metallic paint.

At almost five metres long, the ID. Aero is actually closer in length to flagship saloons like the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan, than the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 the production is more likely to compete with. Though the VW should offer plenty of cabin space as a result; we’ve yet to see inside the ID. Aero, but we expect it to feature the same button-free dashboard, small digital driver’s display and up to 12-inch central infotainment screen as the rest of the ID. family.

In terms of technical details, we know the roadgoing ID. Aero will sit on Volkswagen’s established MEB electric-vehicle platform already used for the ID.3 hatchback, ID.4 SUV and ID. Buzz minibus. It’s also likely to feature the same 77kWh battery as the concept car, which VW claims can cover up to 385 miles on a single charge.

We expect the production ID. Aero will be offered with a similar range of motor and power output options as existing VW electric cars – including a powerful four-wheel-drive, high-performance variant that’ll wear the GTX badge. It should be capable of the same 170kW rapid charging speeds as the lD. Buzz, too, which would allow for a 10-80% top up of the 77kWh battery in around half an hour.

An official name for the production four-door has yet to be confirmed, but Volkswagen has trademarked a wide range of numerical 'ID' nameplates, so the newcomer could possibly wear the ID.7, ID.8 or ID.9 badge. Although, Volkswagen did already break its own naming convention with the recent ID. Buzz, so we may see the ID. Aero name stick around.

An electric car of this type from Volkswagen has been a long time coming. The original ID.Vizzion concept was revealed at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, and a 2022 Beijing motor show concept evolved the design closer to a production car, examples of which we’ve since spied testing several times.

An estate version of the ID. Aero is also in the cards after Volkswagen unveiled the ID. Space Vizzion concept (below) at the 2019 Los Angeles Motor Show. This electric family wagon produced 335bhp from a dual-motor electric powertrain, and offered a potential range of over 350 miles. You can read more about that particular concept car further down.

Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion concept

The estate version of the car was unveiled in concept form – bearing the name ID. Space Vizzion – at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2019. The sleek five-door was described by VW at the time as having "the aerodynamic properties of a Gran Turismo with the spacious proportions of an SUV". The Space Vizzion was developed from the earlier Vizzion concept, displayed at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

Although we don't have exact technical details for the production version of the car yet, the ID. Space Vizzion stored energy in an 82kWh battery (with a usable capacity of 77kWh), giving it an impressive potential driving range of up to 367 miles. It also had 150kW charging capability, for a 0-80% top-up in 30 minutes.

A 275bhp motor on the rear axle was presented as the standard specification (giving the above driving range figure), while adding a 100bhp motor at the front gives a combined output of 335bhp and all-wheel drive. In the latter configuration, the Space Vizzion will accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds, with top speed limited to 109mph. VW said the battery and motors were positioned in such a way as to give the Space Vizzion near-50:50 front-rear weight distribution, which promises better balance and handling.

Design

As with many electric vehicles, the ID. Space Vizzion saw close focus on aerodynamic efficiency in its design, which benefits driving range. Air enters through slats in the front bumper and passes through tunnels behind the 'grille' area (located where the engine would be in an internal-combustion car).

It then emerges from gaps in the bonnet and passes over the windscreen, along the roof and through a small gap between the roof and the rear wing, allowing for smooth, continuous airflow from the front to the rear of the car. There's also an aerodynamic diffuser at the lower rear of the car, and the 22-inch wheels fitted to the concept have aero flaps in order to optimise the airflow across their faces.

Up front, the ID. Space Vizzion boasts a slender white light strip, with an illuminated 'VW' logo at its centre. There are also 'IQ.LIGHT' LED matrix headlights integrated into the bumper, as well as honeycomb-style LED daytime running lights and a transparent red light strip that runs across the entire rear end of the car.

Instead of door handles, the concept has illuminated touch surfaces that become active when someone approaches with the car's key (or a paired smartphone) on their person. This further enhances the car's aerodynamic efficiency. The ID. Space Vizzion is 4.9 metres long, 1.5 metres high and just under two metres wide; similar dimensions to the current Volkswagen Passat Estate.

Interior

The ID. Space Vizzion boasts a minimalist interior with a large landscape-orientated touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard – not unlike the arrangement in the Tesla Model 3. There are plenty of sustainable materials, including a plant-based leather alternative called 'AppleSkin', made from the residue of apple-juice production. Chrome-look paint is used instead of actual chrome and Alcantara edging also features.

For the driver, most information is displayed using an augmented reality (AR) head-up display, with the traditional cockpit display reduced to the status of a "secondary mini display showing only basic information". Controls on the steering column are used to select the drive mode (drive, energy recovery, reverse, neutral and park) and operate the indicators and windscreen wipers.

Elsewhere, an 'ID. Light' interactive light strip on the A-pillar can greet the driver on entry to the car, indicate when the motors are operational and display important navigation information and other prompts (such as an incoming phone call) within the driver's peripheral vision. It also works in tandem with voice control to make operating the car's systems in this way more intuitive.

The ID. Space Vizzion concept is a four-seater, although it's highly likely a more conventional five-seat layout would be adopted for any production version. In the concept, a large fold-out centre console between the two rear seats contains storage areas, a drinks holder and USB ports. In the 586-litre boot, VW has fitted the concept with electric longboards that are custom-fit to the area and double up as a raised floor when stored. Also included are helmets for use with the boards, which VW says can serve as "last-mile street surfers".

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