Choices and competition are generally good when it comes to cars. That’s especially true as electric vehicles become more and more commonplace. Even so, I have to concede I never really “got” the Volkswagen ID.7. I figured: it's the sedan version of the ID.4, right? But it’s also quite a bit more expensive? And it’s been called a successor to the Arteon sedan, which, I think it’s fair to say, never really lit the world on fire? What’s the point here, right? 

Even after our own Tom Moloughney, who’s as much an EV and charging expert as anyone currently alive on this planet, gave it high marks, I still wasn’t convinced that this was a product worth caring about. Maybe, I thought, it was just a footnote in VW’s ever-evolving EV strategy until it moved on to more affordable offerings later. 

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

But seeing is believing, and driving even more so. After some seat time, I finally get the ID.7. I had just been thinking about it the wrong way. 

(Full Disclosure: I drove the ID.7 as part of a trip to meet with Volkswagen executives in Germany. VW provided flights and lodging for that visit.)

Quick Specs Volkswagen ID.7
Output 282 Horsepower / 402 Pound-Feet
Motor Single Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
Battery 82.0-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion (77.0 kWH Usable)
Range 386 Miles (WLTP)
DC Fast Charging 10% - 80% in 28 minutes / 175 kW max speed
Base Price €56,995 (Germany) / $61,962 USD (Equivalent)

Gallery: 2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

This is a particularly notable EV in three ways. First, it feels much more “special” than your average Jetta or Tiguan, like the European-style forbidden fruit that fans constantly ask to sell in America, along the lines of an Audi RS4 Avant or a Volkswagen GTD or even the last iterations of the Phaeton—the kind of stuff we normally don’t get in America, but somehow are now. That’s great news for the Euro-snob crowd. 

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

Second, it’s the Q-car of the Volkswagen EV family, the one that leads the pack with all the latest and greatest software, augmented reality displays and even plans for an AI-powered voice assistant. This is the tip-of-the-spear car for all the tech stuff VW wants to deploy in the coming years. There are "smart air vents" that can swivel using electric motors, advanced headlights that follow the angle of the steering wheel, a voice assistant named IDA, and hands-free Level 2 assisted driving tech (which I did not get to try here.) 

Most importantly, the ID.7 is a range king, a road trip champion and an efficiency monster. Whatever you want to call it, this is about to be VW’s electric marathon runner in the U.S. Designed for the Autobahn in terms of comfort, speed and range, this is about to be VW’s distance champion when it comes stateside. 

It won’t be for everyone. Even Volkswagen’s executives admit that; they say this and the new ID. Buzz won't be big volume-sellers. But for buyers who are into this stuff, it’s going to be a vastly more compelling option than I initially gave it credit for. 

VW ID.4 Side View

That starts on the outside, with what is easily the most handsome application of the ID family design language to date. It looks better in person than in photos, with a sleek, understated shape that feels decidedly European. Remember the old Citroën C6? That’s the vibe I get here, which carries over to how it drives as well. 

The car I drove was a European-spec model with an 82 kWh battery (77 kWh usable), rear-wheel-drive and rated at 286 horsepower. This model maxes out at 621 km of range on Europe’s WLTP testing cycle or 386 miles. Our EPA range testing cycle is different, but we’re anticipating about 300 miles of range per charge in the U.S., although official figures haven’t been released yet. (On a cool early March morning in Germany, my test car read 443 km at a 99% charge.)

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

With any luck, that’s a conservative estimate, especially given the ID.7’s anticipated $50,000-ish price tag and how quickly the “North of 300” class of EVs is growing over here. I’d to see the ID.7 go head-to-head with something like the Hyundai Ioniq 6; the upcoming ​​ID.7 Pro S seems to do that with its 91 kWh (86 kWh usable) battery said to be good for 700 km (435 miles) on the WLTP cycle, though Volkswagen hasn’t released any information about that one coming to the U.S. yet. I hope it eventually does. 

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

Either way, the range should be more than respectable, as is the focus on energy use; a Volkswagen rep told me it’s still profoundly efficient up to about 75 mph. It’s meant to be a longer-distance cruiser, something you can use to be on the road for a while with only fairly brief stops for fast charging.

That’s readily apparent when you step inside. The cabin is cocoon-like, surrounding the driver and giving them critical info with a narrow display bar that’s more tasteful than the ID.4’s mini-screen.

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany
Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany
Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

It also gets a new 15-inch infotainment touchscreen display in the center powering Volkswagen’s upgraded software suite. That’s said to be much more user-friendly than the previous version seen on older ID.4s, as well as faster, more responsive and more feature-rich. I did enjoy the augmented reality displays on the windshield, which have colorful but tasteful animations for navigation directions and yellow bars to indicate when lane re-centering takes place. 

It’s a decidedly premium-feeling and upscale interior, less aggressive than what you’d find in an Audi but full of the same level of high-quality materials. The seats are big and cushy, cooled and heated, with a pressure-point massaging function too. My conception of it being “just” an ID.4 sedan was mistaken; it feels nicer than that car inside. 

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

On the road, it’s readily apparent that cushiness was the mission throughout. This is no sports sedan, but I don’t even mean that in a bad way. The suspension is soft and plush, allowing you to feel nary a bump in the road, though the brake pedal is a bit too mushy for my taste. It’s got a buttery-smooth ride and acceleration to match, although I tweaked the rear end more than expected with a stab of the accelerator in a corner. Think “electric Lexus LS” and you have the right idea here; it’s all just remarkably pleasant to drive, especially if you have hours on the road ahead of you.

Also, major points to the 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, which gave me one of the most multi-layered, dynamic audio experiences I’ve had in any car to date, electric or otherwise. It provides a great way to just relax as you get where you’re going.

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

That’s the point of the ID.7. If you have a long road trip, this is one of the EVs you’d want to be in most. That even extends to the back seat, which is spacious enough that I could basically stand up there to reach over and turn off the child locks I accidentally switched on. 

Unfortunately, that’s where the ID.7 falls down a bit. Some of the control frustrations from past ID cars have been fixed here, like the fact that climate controls are always present on the main screen. But there’s still no volume knob, the temperature and audio sliders are as annoying as ever. And the much-touted voice assistant controls here felt far behind class leaders from Mercedes and Volvo, faring poorly at understanding basic commands like “navigate to Wolfsburg.”

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

The car wasn't as into this idea as I expected.

Hopefully, we can chalk this up to regional and language differences, and the U.S. version will feel more natural. Adding ChatGPT integration to that should help too, although that feature is unconfirmed for our market. (“Active discussions with legal,” a rep told me.)

The price tag won’t make it a mainstream volume seller, and its German production means no tax credits unless it’s leased. And then you deal with some of the usual UX complaints that Volkswagen seems to be rectifying in the coming years by pivoting back to buttons. But in the end, I walked away charmed by the ID.7 and wanting to take it on some kind of cross-country road trip when it comes to America. It’s a more interesting car than I thought it would be. 

Volkswagen ID.7 Live Drive Germany

For some drivers over here, it’ll be exactly the kind of comfy, Euro-luxe, long-range electric cruiser they didn’t know they wanted. More people will probably be charmed by this car too, if they give it a chance. 

The ID.7 is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in the late third quarter of the year.

Contact the author: patrick.george@insideevs.com

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