First Volkswagen ID.3 models arrive in the UK

The first examples of the all-electric Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback have arrived in the UK. The German brand has unloaded the initial batch of launch edition models at Grimsby Port, which are currently being prepped for their scheduled delivery dates later this month.

Currently, Volkswagen’s 1st Edition variant is the only version of the ID.3 that’s available in Britain. It’s a generously equipped launch edition model, priced from £38,880 before the government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant has been applied. It will be followed by a line-up of seven variants in the autumn – some of which will be cheaper, some more expensive.

The UK market ID.3 1st Edition is powered by a 58kWh battery pack and a 201bhp electric motor, which Volkswagen says will provide 0–62mph time of 7.3 seconds, a top speed of 99mph and a maximum range of 261 miles. The EV also offers support for 100kW rapid-charging, which allows the battery to recover 180 miles of range in around half an hour.

Standard equipment includes 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, LED Matrix headlamps and a two-tone honeycomb effect paint finish. The EV’s bodywork comes in Moonstone Grey as standard – although another grey, a white and a turquoise shade can be optionally specced for an extra £620.

Every Volkswagen ID.3 1st Edition also comes with rear privacy glass and exclusive badging – and, to contrast the paintwork, several body panels have been picked-out in black, such as the side skirts, bootlid, roof and rear spoiler.

In the cabin, the 1st Edition is equipped with a 10-inch central touchscreen display and a fully digital instrument panel. An ambient lighting system with 30 different colours is fitted, and the ID.3 1st also gets ID.Light – a full-width LED lighting bar, spanning the windscreen, which changes pattern and colour to supplement information from various vehicle functions.

Three interior colour schemes are offered: white and black, white and orange or just black. Standard driver assistance features include navigation, adaptive cruise control, front assist and lane-keep assist. Parking sensors and a reversing camera are also included.

Buyers also get a few convenience features, such as adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, natural voice control and Volkswagen’s Car2X system, which can communicate with other Car2X-equipped vehicles to warn the driver of upcoming hazards. 

UK ID.3 pre-bookers will also receive 2,000kWh free roadside charging at various suppliers via Volkswagen’s We Charge companion app for smartphones. The firm claims the offer is equivalent to 34 full rapid recharges and £500 of charge.

New Volkswagen ID.3: platform and powertrain

The ID.3 marks the debut of the VW Group’s all-new MEB platform – a bespoke, rear-driven, pure-electric platform that will soon underpin dozens of electric vehicles from Volkswagen, SEAT, Skoda and Audi.

The forthcoming entry-level ID.3 Pure will feature a 148bhp electric motor and a 45kWh battery, for a range of between 143 and 205 miles. The rest of the line-up will feature a 201bhp electric motor and 58kWh battery pack as standard, which Volkswagen says will provide a range of between 186 and 260 miles.

Volkswagen’s more potent 201bhp electric motor will also be offered with a 77kWh battery in higher-specced models, allowing the ID.3 to cover between 242 and 342 miles before recharging.

Mid- and higher-spec ID.3s will offer support for 100kW fast charging as standard, which will allow around 180 miles of range to be added in half an hour. However, the uprated charging system will be offered as an optional extra on the entry-level model, in a bid to keep cost down. As such, it’ll stick with a 50kW charger.

Late last year, Volkswagen also confirmed it was “actively considering” a high-performance version of the ID.3. It’ll feature the same MEB platform as the standard car, but it’ll come with a more potent electric drivetrain and an uprated battery pack, designed using the expertise gained from the ID.R racer project.

Regardless of output, Volkswagen guarantees that the ID.3’s batteries will retain at least 70 percent of their usable capacity for eight years or 160,000km (around 100,000 miles). Frank Blome, Head of Volkswagen’s Centre of Excellence in Salzgitter said: “Our goal is to make sure the batteries last as long as the cars.

New Volkswagen ID.3: design

From the outside, the ID.3 sticks close to the concept that made its debut at the Paris Motor Show back in 2016. The cute headlights remain, along with the “honeycomb” motif along the front bumper and the black tailgate is also still present; this final element is destined to be an ever-present design cue on ID.3s.

The most noticeable change comes in the side profile, where Volkswagen has had to fit a longer bonnet to comply with pedestrian safety regulations. However, the company’s design team, led by Klaus Bischoff, has added a black plastic panel under the windscreen to trick your eye into believing the bonnet is shorter than it actually is.

The car is 4,261mm long and 1,809mm wide – so just 23mm longer and 20mm wider than the new Mk8 Golf – but the ID.3’s wheelbase is a full 145mm longer than the regular family hatchback’s, at 2,765mm. The new arrival’s roofline does sit around 60mm higher than the Golf’s, however – a clue that the battery installation has resulted in a slightly thicker floor.

New Volkswagen ID.3: interior

The differences from the concept are more pronounced inside, where the ID.3 drops the show car’s retractable steering wheel and features a more mainstream choice of materials and finishes. The design is clean and uncluttered, though, and information is displayed on a digital “pod” instrument panel. The gear selector is a rocker switch mounted on the side of this – a layout that will be familiar to anyone who’s driven a BMW i3.

A 10-inch central screen is standard across the range, and it features touch-sensitive controls for the air conditioning and stereo, in place of physical dials. Volkswagen’s “intelligent natural voice control” system will also feature, as will smartphone connectivity.

Volkswagen’s design team has used the extra floor space to create plenty of cubbyholes and a central storage bin between the front seats. But, the smartest trick in the cabin is delivered by that long wheelbase, because the knee- and leg-room in the rear looks on par with a Passat, rather than a Golf. There’s no great compromise on boot space, either. At 385 litres, the ID.3’s capacity isn’t at the peak of the family car class, but it’s more than acceptable.

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