Opt for the version with the biggest of three available batteries – a whopping 77 kWh of lithium-ion cells mounted under the floor – and VW says range (as per tough WLTP regime) is as much as 342 miles. Hook up to the right sort of fast charger and within 30 minutes you will be able to get another 190 miles.
The basic 45kWh battery offers a range of 205 miles. This is the unit fitted to the entry ID.3 the price of which starts at under €30,000 (about £27,000). With more spec and more battery power, that price rises to the €40k mark and beyond, with the ID.3 1st Max topping the range with features that include an augmented reality (AR) head-up display, a panoramic sliding/tilting glass roof and driver assist functions.
All versions share the same single electric motor driving the rear wheels with 201bhp and 310Nm (229lb ft) of instant torque. The top speed is 100mph, but no figures so far for the ID.3’s weight or acceleration.
Now minus its familiar disguise, we see a five-door hatch fronted by a friendly VW face, but otherwise it’s pretty innocuous looking. Right on trend, everything from the waistline up is delineated from the lower coloured section of body. The cabin has plenty of glass and thin pillars, along with design details that are unique to the ID electric family. The design language and detailing are all new for what VW calls the first symbol of a new electric era for the brand.
The layout and all the controls inside also have no relationship with petrol or diesel powered VWs. There are just two conventional switches – for the electric windows and the hazard lights – with everything else controlled by touch pads, including on the multifunction steering wheel.
The dash is dominated by a centrally positioned, 10-inch touch display providing drivers with all key information. VW design chief Klaus Bischoff calls it a “natural style and absolutely intuitive driver experience” for a new, electric way of thinking.
The ID.3 has a Golf-sized footprint but is a couple of inches taller and has a markedly longer wheelbase. That’s the secret of its Passat-sized cabin. VW says the five-seat ID.3 offers more room than any other vehicle in its category. Boot space is the same as the Golf’s.
Underneath is the bespoke electric MEB architecture with its floor-full of batteries and extra-long wheelbase. It is the MEB that will underpin a whole range of ID electric VWs.
VW also took the opportunity at Frankfurt to reboot itself with what it calls a brand realignment, flagged up by the new stripped-back 2D (and rather old-fashioned looking?) new VW logo. The ID.3 is the first car to get it.