Volkswagen gears up to finally go Tesla-hunting with its first all-electric saloon, the ID 7

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Car makers have typically deployed big and expensive saloons in order to make a statement, and this is no different in the case of the new, five-metre-long Volkswagen ID 7.

However, the longest executive car conceived in Wolfsburg since the magnificent but unloved Phaeton of 2003 is less about technological one-upmanship and conspicuous luxury than your typical range-topping German limo, and more about simply saying: ‘Look, here at VW we can in fact build you a truly great electric car.’

The fact that such a statement still needs to be made when the ID 7 is not the first or second but – if you include all available bodystyles (plus the VW ID Buzz MPV) – fifth bespoke electric VW tells you much about the firm’s ambitious but thus far stuttering switch away from combustion engines.

The Golf-style ID 3 hatchback and the ID 4 crossover (plus its sportier, slope-backed ID 5 sibling) aren’t bad cars. But obvious weaknesses mean each has lacked the effortless competence that in the past often made a VW the best option.

Competition from far outside Europe hasn’t helped, either. Cars as good as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 have made life tough for the ID 4, while the stellar MG 4 EV continues to show the ID 3 up in certain respects.

So the ID 7 is here as much to reset the tone and settle the troops as it is to steal sales from the likes of the BMW i5 and Mercedes-Benz EQE – cars that this flagship ID product either matches or exceeds in size but usefully undercuts in terms of cost. More direct rivals include the Tesla Model 3 and the Ioniq 6, not to mention the BMW i4 – plenty of talent to highlight any deficiencies.

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Yet with strong on-paper credentials and the firm being on a mission to make a point, there are, as one tester observed, shades of VW in its late-1990s pomp here. Who would bet against that?

The range at a glance

Models Power From
Pro Match 77kWh 282bhp £51,550
Pro S 86kWh 282bhp tbc
GTX 77kWh 335bhp tbc

For now, the ID 7 range in the UK is limited to the 77kWh battery car in Pro Match trim, though the 86kWh Pro S is on the way and should take real-world touring beyond 300 miles.

The eventual range-topper will take the form of the GTX – the moniker VW gives its GTI-spirited EVs. Don’t expect the ID 7 to be transformed into a BMW M5 chaser, but it should be pretty sprightly.

VW also recently revealed the ID 7 Tourer – a good old-fashioned estate that will take on the BMW i5 Touring and the upcoming Audi A6 E-tron. Expect it to pack plenty of everyday EV appeal.


vw id7 review 2024 02 panning side

The ID 7’s long saloon body provides a better basis for aerodynamic efficiency than any prior ID model.

As is perhaps obvious from the pebble-like curvature of the front and the faintly sawn-off, Kamm-style rear, the car’s engineers haven’t wasted the opportunity this presents. A drag coefficient of just 0.23 puts the ID 7 among the most slippery cars money can  buy and this makes an “important contribution” to the claimed range of 383 miles, which is the most offered by any electric VW so far.

As with other ID models, the 7 has drum brakes at the rear. Some will mock, but the regen does most of the work anyway, particularly in situations where drums might well overheat, like on a long descent.

Air flow is only part of the equation, however. The ID 7 is built on the same MEB platform used elsewhere in the ID range (albeit extended to 2971mm between the axles – 200mm or so more than that of the ID 4) but it introduces the most efficient evolution of VW’s electric powertrain, now dubbed APP550.

With higher thermal load capacity in the rotor and reduced friction for the one-speed gearbox, AP550 is built around a rear-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motor that’s the most powerful and torque-rich yet to feature in any VW.

In the rear-drive ID 7 Pro tested here it makes a healthy 282bhp and 402lb ft, though in due course a 335bhp four-wheel-drive GTX variant will arrive. In Pro S form, a reassuringly big 86kWh battery will push the 7’s official range past 400 miles, as well as enabling a peak charging rate of 200kW. Our car’s 77kWh battery is capped at 175kW.

As for suspension, the ID 7 differs from the more expensive competition in that air springs are not available even as an option. Instead, the car rides on steel springs with the option of VW’s revamped DCC dampers (fitted here together with variable-ratio steering as part of the Exterior Pack Plus pack), with their driver-selectable choice of 15 levels of response. They control VW’s familiar preference for MacPherson struts at the front with a multi-link arrangement at the back.

However, the ID 7 does feature model-specific rear axle mounts designed to improve isolation.

The ID 7, built at VW’s Emden plant, should also benefit from a new calibration of the company’s Vehicle Dynamic Manager – 
the car’s chassis brain, in essence. According to VW, in this instance it’s tasked with creating the largest possible spread between comfort and agility, via the electronic stability and damping systems.

To a similar end, the optional progressive electromechanic steering has been recalibrated to counteract the long wheelbase and give better off-centre response.


vw id7 review 2024 09 dash

Sliding aboard the ID 7 gives you the first sense that this is a car that quietly delivers.

With a new 15in ‘floating’ touchscreen and a small digital binnacle embedded in the dash, the cabin generates the sort of light-infused atmosphere for which the Tesla Model 3 is rightly celebrated, but underpins it with a familiarity and warmth that mitigates any risk of feeling spartan.

Ergonomics are broadly excellent, both in terms of the driving position, which is usefully perched but soft and supportive, and of outright space. Certain rivals have a little more leg room (the back of the ID 7 is far from meagre in this sense, mind) but they fail to combine it with such generous reserves of head room.

Large quarterlights and a panoramic roof enhance the VW’s sense of limousine-like insouciance, though slimmer A-pillars would make the effect more pronounced and allow better visibility during parking.

Special mention also needs to go to the optional Ergoactive seats. They are truly superb, with a plush velour upholstery, massage functionality, both heating and ventilation and an endlessly comfortable profile. For a car positioned as a long-distance EV, they are wholly appropriate – and surely essential.

Elsewhere, VW has made improvements to the functionality of the touchscreen, even if volume and (now backlit) cabin temperature are still controlled by touch-sensitive sliders.

At 532 litres, boot space is also class-leading, though the ID 7 has no ‘frunk’, which is always useful for charging cables. A wide, squared-off opening and second-row seats that almost fold flat make this a fine tip-run steed.

If the interior of the ID 7 has a notable weakness, it concerns material richness. It can often feel like you’re inside an enlarged, well-optioned Golf – which is fine so long as you’re not expecting comparisons with the likes of the BMW i5 and Mercedes EQE.

There is a material richness that’s lacking, and some cheaper plastics degrade the cabin’s tactile appeal in a way that the car’s well-executed, configurable ambient lighting could never quite make up for.


The new 15in touchscreen is an all-dominating system integrating almost all of the car’s climate control and driver assistance functions – something that, as a rule, we are generally critical of.

Thanks to some fairly fundamental top-level navigability improvements that VW has made as a result of consulting with its customers, though, the touchscreen is now easier to use.

ermanently displayed, user-configurable menu bars give you direct, one-touch access to frequently used functions. Disabling the now-mandatory speed limit assist system is a one-second, two-touch process free of swiping or scrolling (and even if you leave it on, it’s surprisingly progressive and discreet).

Pretty much any function you want can either be displayed directly on the home page (a long press lets you swap one ‘button’ for another you will find more useful), or accessed within one finger prod of it. We complained, VW listened – and acted.

Moreoever, this same software will go onto the lesser, 13in screens of other VW models too, praise be.


vw id7 review 2024 21 charging

With any large saloon, the pertinent question concerning performance isn’t simply ‘how much is there?’ but ‘how effortlessly is it delivered?’.

In the case of the ID 7, even before you turn a wheel, the numbers are encouraging. The 402lb ft this car generates is just 4lb ft shy of what the original Phaeton made even when equipped with VW’s hulking 6.0-litre W12.

An estate version of this car is due to land in autumn '24. I must say I’m rather taken by the idea. Some say it’s a little dull-looking but this is basically an electric Passat estate, so what do you expect? With the big battery and Ergoactive seats, it will make a superb do-it-all electric tool-car.

Add to this the fact that, at 2172kg, the electric car is some 250kg lighter than its petrol-fired spiritual forebear. The ID 7’s 185lb ft per tonne is certainly not to be sniffed at, being superior to the current Porsche Cayenne V6’s torque-to-weight ratio.

No surprise, then, that this loafing electric VW ghosts up to the national speed limit without hesitation. Indeed, its mid-range turn of pace is impressive – the 5.1sec taken to dispatch 30-70mph is just 0.7sec behind the more powerful (and far more pricey) but less torque-rich BMW i5 eDrive40 we tested recently.

The nature of tip-in accelerator response can also be usefully tailored: Comfort mode yields a considered ramp-up in propulsive force not unlike that of a substantial, lazily potent petrol engine, though most testers preferred the precise but far from jagged Sport calibration. The choice is yours.

Equally, VW still doesn’t give you quite enough control over regenerative braking, with coasting and one-pedal driving modes being absent from the ID 7. You can, however, switch off the car’s tendency to ham up battery energy regeneration when approaching turns and junctions. Alternatively, you can access stronger regen by toggling the ‘B’ drive mode via the column-stalk gear selector.

Unsurprisingly, this dials up the artificial feeling of the brake pedal, though there’s nothing wrong with outright stopping: from 70mph, the ID 7 hauls up as quickly as a sporting junior saloon.


vw id7 review 2024 22 front cornering

As we have discovered, the ID 7 has a fine driving position and an intuitively responsive accelerator pedal. The combination represents a strong foundation for any car that aims to handle well.

The big VW layers onto these elements a surprisingly high level of composure, which is partly owing to the generosity of the wheelbase. Granted, with the DCC dampers left at the more free-moving end of their range, the car flirts with a little vertical heave and jounce on country roads, but you do have to be going some to unearth this.

With the appropriate suspension setting selected, the ID 7 remains remarkably composed for what is, first and foremost, an easy-going, long-range electric saloon. Once again, this latest Wolfsburg creation embodies time-honoured VW traits: on the move it’s unfussy, almost entirely unflustered and securely carries more than adequate speed down all manner of roads.

In keeping with this is the fact that the ID 7 has a good feeling of agility. That recalibrated steering software (the rack is quicker on DCC-equipped cars), acting on an unencumbered front axle, gives course changes a satisfying accuracy and zeal, though there’s almost nothing in the way of real feedback.

The 7 does grip well on turn-in, though, and thereafter establishes a subtle rear-drive cornering balance that’s a hallmark of the kind of car it wants to be. 

It corners impressively flatly, too. Push a touch harder and you might even enjoy a degree of throttle-adjustability, though the ESP system is quite draconian and can be unsophisticated in its interventions. The GTX should do better.

Where in this class does the ID 7 fit in? It certainly has a more natural manner than the Tesla Model 3 but lacks the American car’s fun-loving go-kart feel. It is not as pedigree in its handling as an electric BMW, though the Bavarians may find it a touch close for comfort in some respects.

In short, it is simply well rounded – call it ‘middle of the road’, albeit with some unexpected panache in the mix.

Comfort & Isolation

There was some gentle disagreement among road testers concerning the ride quality of the ID 7.

Some felt that with the dampers set to their absolute softest (a setting you need to input yourself via the touchscreen, and beyond that of the standard Comfort mode), an unpleasant floatiness was introduced – a relic of a bygone era.

Others relished the car’s ability to set itself almost entirely at ease on straighter routes, where it feels gloriously easy-going and very relaxing indeed.

For owners, it will be a matter of personal preference, but the option is at least there if you want your electric limo to waft down motorways like some reincarnated Citroën DS. Best change it before you reach a B-road, mind.

We suspect that for most of the time, ID 7s will remain in the regular Comfort mode, which rounds off the sharper edges of British roads in reasonably effortless style but retains enough vertical control.

In the main, the VW lacks the brittleness of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 and, to some extent, the Tesla Model 3, meaning you don’t continually find yourself bracing for worn-out patches of road surface.

The sheer size and laid-back gait of the ID 7 suggest that it should be very quiet on the move. In reality, it is decently cocooning but not remarkably so. Our noise meters revealed it to be 1dBA louder than the Model 3 Long Range at a 70mph cruise, though this still makes the VW an exact match for the BMW i5 eDrive40 M Sport, so there’s little shame in that. Meanwhile, visibility is generally excellent.


vw id7 review

Prices start at not much more than £50,000, which makes the ID 7 seem a lot of car for the money when compared with the likes 
of the BMW i5. Finance deals are competitive too, thanks to VW’s £3000 deposit contribution.

The other side of the coin is that the Tesla Model 3 notably undercuts the ID 7, though it is also a less spacious and less comfortable 
car. For now, only one ID 7 trim is available in the form of the well-equipped Pro Match. Expect the upcoming GTX to push the asking price beyond £60,000.

The ID 7 Pro S promises 435 miles of range. If it delivers close to it, there aren't many EVs for the price that could beat it.

Our 77kWh car returned efficiency of 3.6mpkWh in touring tests, translating to a cruising range of 277 miles. This is broadly comparable with the Hyundai Ioniq 6 and notably superior to the i5 eDrive40 and Mercedes EQE 350, though all three cars trail the Model 3 Long Range, which managed 300 miles of touring range in real-world testing.

However, when the bigger-battery 86kWh ID 7 arrives, expect it to return something in the region of 310 miles.

Meanwhile, the ID 7’s charging rate is for now limited to 175kW, and from 10-90% capacity our test car managed a weighted average of 120kW. This is creditable if unspectacular, and is again broadly comparable with rivals – apart from the Ioniq 6, which returned an average of 180kW.


vw id7 review 2024 28 static front

Historically, hatchbacks such as the Polo and Golf, rather than large executive saloons, have been the bread and butter of the Volkswagen product portfolio.

However, in an era when multiple types of machine can be spun off one modular electric platform, the world’s second-largest car maker has sensed an opportunity. The ID 7 is cleverly positioned in that on the one hand it offers more space and more rolling refinement than many of its direct rivals, yet on the other hand it dramatically undercuts similarly sized but more outwardly premium competitors in terms of price. Prospective buyers of everything from BYD’s Seal to the Mercedes EQE will find appeal in the VW.

What’s more, this car delivers in the real world. It rides very nicely indeed, handles with an intuitive ease that befits this style of saloon and is competitive in terms of the prosaic elements of EV ownership. With strong ergonomics and high levels of comfort, it is, for the most part, a pleasure to spend time in, even if it lacks some old-fashioned subjective desirability. VW has even usefully improved the multimedia interface.

The result is arguably the most rounded package in the class.

Illya Verpraet

Illya Verpraet Road Tester Autocar
Title: Road Tester

As part of Autocar’s road test team, Illya drives everything from superminis to supercars, and writes reviews, comparison tests, as well as the odd feature and news story. 

Much of his time is spent wrangling the data logger and wielding the tape measure to gather the data for Autocar’s eight-page road tests, which are the most rigorous in the business thanks to independent performance, fuel consumption and noise figures.

Richard Lane

Richard Lane
Title: Deputy road test editor

Richard joined Autocar in 2017 and like all road testers is typically found either behind a keyboard or steering wheel.

As deputy road test editor he delivers in-depth road tests and performance benchmarking, plus feature-length comparison stories between rival cars. He can also be found presenting on Autocar's YouTube channel.

Mostly interested in how cars feel on the road – the sensations and emotions they can evoke – Richard drives around 150 newly launched makes and models every year. His job is then to put the reader firmly in the driver's seat. 

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.