Seven-seat Volkswagen ID. Buzz on the way
We’ve caught VW’s family-friendly, long-wheelbase ID. Buzz testing, before it’s joined by a GTX performance version later this year
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz electric minibus and cargo van only launched late last year, but already the brand is looking to expand the range with a long-wheelbase model – most likely with a third row of seats, making the Buzz capable of carrying seven in comfort.
Our first spy pictures show the lengthier Buzz cold weather testing in Finland. Catching the car on camera comes as little surprise, and the LWB variant has been touted since long before the standard Buzz came to fruition. It’ll be joined by a hot GTX model later this year.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB
The first pictures of the long-wheelbase Volkswagen ID. Buzz have surfaced, but specs and dimensions remain firmly under wraps. From these snow-covered images we can clearly see there is extra length between the front and rear wheels, plus a longer sliding side door. Like the standard Buzz, the rear wheelarch protrudes slightly into the rearmost edge of the door, though we don’t expect this to affect practicality too much.
Styling-wise, there’s little else to tell this version apart from its standard sibling. It gets the same familiar face and full-width lightbar, and the same single-piece tailgate. While the wheels on this prototype are different, we expect the Buzz LWB to be offered with the same trim options when it goes on sale later in 2023.
With a third row of seats providing room for seven, we expect the bigger Buzz to command a small price premium for the added versatility.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz GTX
In addition to the longer Buzz, Volkswagen is readying a hot GTX version of its new electric minibus. The brand has already teased the all-wheel drive high-performance model by revealing a picture of the GTX logo on a ID. Buzz's steering wheel at a presentation in Hanover, Germany in 2022.
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz GTX should receive the same 77kWh battery and 295bhp dual-motor combination as the ID.4 GTX and ID.5 GTX, which are already on sale, and forthcoming ID.3 GTX hot hatch due in 2023. Expect the Buzz GTX to improve on the standard car’s relatively lethargic 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds, and its 90mph top speed to be faster as well.
While those performance figures have yet to be confirmed by Volkswagen itself, the additional electric motor will mean a reduction in range from the standard ID. Buzz’s 258-mile official figure. The ID. Buzz GTX should boast the same 170kW rapid charging speed as the regular model though, meaning a top-up from 5-80% will take around 30 minutes.
It’s likely the GTX will get all the equipment that was offered on the ID. Buzz 1st Edition, including 21-inch wheels and a 12-inch touchscreen, plus some tweaks to the minibus' styling and interior to help distinguish it from the rest of the line-up. We can expect to see the ID. Buzz GTX arrive around the same time as the long-wheelbase model, later in 2023. Volkswagen has also previously confirmed it'll produce a 'California' camper-van version of the ID. Buzz "in the second half of the decade" – so it'll be 2025 at the earliest before that hits the road.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz range, battery, charging and performance
Like the rest of the models in the VW’s electric car line-up, the ID. Buzz is based on the MEB platform that also underpins the Audi Q4 e-tron, Cupra Born and Skoda Enyaq iV.
The ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo ‘Pro’ models available from launch get the same 77kWh battery as top-spec versions of the above cars, for a range of between 256 and 258 miles. Cheaper ‘Pure’ versions that’ll come later will probably feature either a 45 or 58kWh battery, and are likely to have a range closer to 200 miles.
The forthcoming ID. Buzz GTX and all-wheel-drive variants are likely to only be available with the largest 77kWh battery pack, but the added weight will probably have a negative impact on range – possibly by as much as 20%. Exact specs will be revealed later.
Rapid charging is supported at speeds up to 170kW, which should allow customers to top up the 77kWh battery from 5-80% capacity in close to 30 minutes from a fast enough public charger. Fully recharging the battery from a standard 7.4kW home wallbox is likely to take over 12 hours.
The standard ID. Buzz is driven by a single electric motor on the rear axle that produces 201bhp and 310Nm of torque. The ID. Buzz can do 0-62mph in around 10.2 seconds, but VW's dual-motor 'GTX' version of the ID. Buzz, with four-wheel-drive and 295bhp, will arrive later down the line.
Practicality, cargo space and dimensions
The ID. Buzz measures 4,712mm end to end, with a wheelbase of just under three metres and a completely flat floor that maximises interior space in both the people-carrier and commercial models. In the ID. Buzz, you get 1,121 litres of boot space with the second row of seats in place, or 2,205 litres when you fold them down. For reference, the only other cars capable of similar figures are seven-seat SUVs like the Kia Sorento and Land Rover Discovery, or van-derived MPVs such as the Peugeot e-Rifter.
Like the Peugeot and its Citroen and Vauxhall sister models, the ID. Buzz gets two sliding doors as standard, meaning access to the rear seats should be easy. This will be particularly handy if you need to fit a child seat regularly. A relatively short turning circle of 11.1 metres will help manoeuvrability in towns and car parks.
The ID. Buzz Cargo, meanwhile, offers 3.9 cubic metres of load space in the back, which is enough to fit two Euro pallets. It’ll be available either with a single-piece tailgate or split wing-style doors and gets a choice of two or three seats up front. A single sliding door is standard, with another available as an optional extra. The maximum payload is relatively low, at 650kg. Even the Vauxhall Combo Cargo Electric can carry over 150kg more.
The zero-emissions MPV and van also come with what VW is calling the ‘Buzz Box’. This is a storage bin that sits between the front seats, featuring a top compartment with an ice scraper and bottle opener inside; it provides extra bottle storage and a large five-litre drawer for any bulkier items.
Not only will a 'California' camper version of the ID. Buzz arrive in time, but Volkswagen has also confirmed six and seven-seater variants of the zero-emissions MPV will follow, as will an extended-wheelbase model.
Interior and technology
The ID. Buzz’s closeness to the ID.3 and ID.4 is clear when you take a look at the cabin. It features the same touch-sensitive climate controls and steering-wheel buttons as those cars. You also get a 5.3-inch digital driver’s display and 10-inch central infotainment touchscreen as standard, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (optional on the Cargo). All 1st Edition examples come with a larger 12-inch screen.
VW has also fitted an evolution of its column-mounted twist-and-go gear selector, along with a litany of USB-C charging ports and storage areas around the cabin, plus a compartment below the infotainment screen with two cupholders. The MPV model also gets ambient lighting and the interactive ID.Light across the dash, which changes colour in certain situations, turning red when warning of a possible hazard, for example.
One thing you won’t find in the ID. Buzz is leather, as VW has chosen to use several recycled or vegan materials for the upholstery and other components. One of these, called Seaqual yarn, consists of 10% collected ocean plastics and roughly 90% recycled plastic bottles. The higher-spec Style and 1st Edition come with bright two-colour schemes to help set them apart from the entry-level cars.
The ID. Buzz also gets an array of driver-assistance technology and can be equipped with the latest version of the brand’s ‘Travel Assist’ semi-autonomous system. In fact, top-spec versions of the ID. Buzz feature more than 30 such systems and can receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates from VW as well.
Equipment, trim levels, options and prices
Prices for the standard five-seater Volkswagen ID. Buzz electric minibus start from £57,115, and the ID. Buzz Cargo van starts from £46,621.
The ID. Buzz passenger model is available in Life and Style specifications. The ID. Buzz Cargo comes in Commerce and Commerce Plus trims. Order books for both are open now, with every version featuring the same combination of a 77kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor.
Standard kit on the ID. Buzz Life (£58,915) includes LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, sliding rear doors, a 40:60 split-folding rear bench, armrests for the front seats, a 5.3-inch digital driver’s display, a 10-inch touchscreen, smartphone connectivity, keyless start, reversing camera, traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking (AEB), among other safety systems.
Upgrading to Style (£63,715) adds 20-inch alloys, ambient lighting, stainless steel 'Play' and 'Pause' pedals, a powered tailgate, matrix LED headlights and two-tone cloth upholstery.
Customers also get a choice of four two-tone paint finishes for £2,790, which combine a Candy White roof and V-shaped bonnet with either Lime Yellow, Starlight Blue, Energetic Orange or Bay Leaf Green for the rest of the bodywork.
Prices for the ID. Buzz Cargo start from £48,421 (£40,360 excluding VAT). Entry-level ID. Buzz Cargo Commerce models come with LED daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors and the same 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto found on cheaper versions of the minibus. Three seats are standard, with a heated driver’s seat.
Commerce Plus starts from £53,521 (£44,610 excluding VAT) and comes with a heated windscreen, keyless entry, and sat-nav for the 10-inch screen. That screen also features a reversing camera, and every Commerce Plus model features safety kit such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Side Assist and Travel Assist.
Both versions of the Cargo van get a 3.9 cubic metre load area, plus a partition with a fixed window and load-through hatch. The Buzz can also tow up to 1,000kg using the optional tow bar. You get one sliding door as standard, but a second – on the driver’s side – can be specified as an optional extra.
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