VW’s Beetle successor and the 30-year-old concept have a lot in common.
The ID.3 is a car we have seen quite a bit already. Anyway, try to remember it the first time you saw it. Didn’t it look familiar? For me, it did. And I just discovered why after seeing a random image one of these days. That was when I realized the ID.3 was very similar to that vehicle in the picture, the IRVW Futura.
Presented at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Futura was born as a concept car, and it remained as such for more than 30 years. If you consider the production ID.3 was introduced at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show – the very last – the number is more precise. No car Volkswagen produced ever took any styling cue from it until now – even if Volkswagen exhibited it as a car for the year 2000.
IRVW stands for Integrated Research Volkswagen. Sadly, the Futura was not an electric car, as no car in the year 2000 was apart from the GM EV1.
The Futura had a 1.7-liter gas engine with a G compressor. It delivered only 82 ps (60 kW, or 81 hp) and 155 Nm (114,3 lb-ft). All four wheels steered, and they could move in the same direction as the front wheels or the opposite one. The former made it more stable in lane changing; the latter reduced turning radius drastically.
None of this made it into the ID.3. Neither did its gullwing doors. Although it featured a park assist system, onboard computer, electric parking brake, and distance sensors, it was its appearance that really struck us.
Check how short are the overhangs on the concept, its general shape, the headlights, the truncated rear. All that can be seen in the ID.3, as if it was an updated Futura. Even the large greenhouse area in both vehicles. In the concept, it was an expectation. In the ID.3, it is an option.
The explanation for the amazing resemblance probably lies in a much more plausible explanation: aerodynamics. The Futura had a cx of 0.25 and had the goal of allowing it to spend “only” 6 liters of gas per 100 km (39.2 mpg). In the ID.3, it is 0.267.
“Futura” obviously relates to the word future, as a bet for which car we would be driving in the year 2000. It is sad to see we took 20 years more to see such a car be for sale. Knowing it does not need a combustion engine anymore is something to celebrate.