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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 GTX Max | PH review

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Reading the press gubbins, the ID.4 GTX Max is said to follow “the GTI and GTE family lines, but represents high-performance electric mobility that combines sustainability and sportiness.” It is the fastest, then, and the most focused. The MEB platform provides a 50:50 weight distribution, a 77 kWh battery (low on the wheelbase to aid the center of gravity), MacPherson struts at the front, and a five-link arrangement at the rear, though there are upgrades on top befitting its GTX Status.

The suspension is dropped 15mm above that of the standard car, and because this is the maximum setting, it comes with DCC adaptive suspension as part of the package. You also get 20-inch wheels with 235-section front and 255-section rear tires. And it is the most powerful of all the ID.4s, with 299 hp measured by two engines, one on each axle, with an XDS differential that helps increase its all-wheel drive performance potential.

Wow, is it a heavy car? At 2,224kg, it weighs basically the same as a Land Rover Defender, but the combined power and 339 lb.-ft. of torque that are available, and much more easily than any internal combustion could hope for, means it achieves similar acceleration to that of the Golf GTI. 0-62 mph is quoted as 6.2 seconds and in practice feels fast, if not surprisingly, like the much lighter Tesla Model 3 Long Range. The latter is almost two seconds faster in the same sprint, and at Β£ 5,000 cheaper with a longer WLTP range of 360 miles (the GTX is 291 miles) ticks many more boxes. Even the 125kWh VW’s charge rate seems comparatively poor and will leave you exacerbated by the fact that it can’t take advantage of the much faster chargers that are slowly being rolled out.

The Model 3 is a better-handling car too, even if it’s not a Series 3. The GTX is capable, but it doesn’t feel the least bit sporty. It leans more than the Model 3, even with the adaptive suspension maxed out, and my feeling is that the ID.4 also has a bit less grip up front (although, to be fair, this wasn’t kickback – back test). On the plus side, the steering is much calmer and more intuitive than its closest rival and it comes with a good amount of resistance as you make your turns – it works without feeling much through the tire.

If only the brakes were as progressive as the steering. I just couldn’t keep up with them and not because they were binary, like the Mustang Mach-E. You can measure them effectively without constantly banging the passenger’s head against the headrests, but they just aren’t consistent. Not like the Model 3, anyway, which holds the pedal solely for hydraulic braking, while the GTX’s pedal also operates in the rain. You know this intuitively because the deceleration speed isn’t always what you expected, and even when you’re firmly on the pedal, you can feel the electronics change how you feel underfoot as the two systems compete for control. It’s disconcerting rather than terrifying, especially since when you step on the pedal, the GTX comes to a sharp stop.

What it does quite well, and better than the Tesla, is comfort and refinement. The suspension is fine for leveling virtually any road surface, be it a city street, country road, or highway. After any noticeable imperfections, you can still feel the chassis grappling with all that mass (shocks take a moment longer to regain composure than a lighter car), but the effect is a push rather than a genuine lack of compliance. . Add in the relatively quiet wind noise and the near-absence of road roar, and it’s a great car to cover for miles.

It also has the potential to be a family favorite, offering ample space for five adults, so the kids in the back will be absolutely fine. And the seats are comfortable, which elevates it to a natural seating position that is more enjoyable than many other family electric vehicles that sit it too low to the ground (I’m thinking of the Model 3 and Kia EV6, to name just two). . Even the 543-liter trunk shouldn’t be a hindrance to average home ownership; that’s enough for your golf clubs or your child’s stroller, and just about everything else.

Consequently, none of your weaknesses is a deciding factor. Until we get to the usability that it is, which, like most new Volkswagen cars, is worthy of serious punishment. Why does the ID.4 have two window switches on the driver’s door, with a stupid touch-sensitive control to change if they operate the front of the rear windows? It’s easy to remove that, which makes opening a window unnecessarily complicated. The touch-sensitive steering wheel controls aren’t any better because they’re easy to spot by mistake, and the row of touch buttons on the center panel just stopped working on one occasion – I had to stop the car and start it again. The infotainment system is no better with its unnecessarily complicated menus, although, dare I say it, this is the first identification product that is at least responsive and hasn’t let me down, yet.

It is this kind of infuriating insufficiency in functionality that would make the GTX difficult to live with, and thus would not be worthy of recommendation despite its various nice qualities. Especially when you can buy the best thought out and best looking. Kia EV6 – or even the Model 3, which is cheaper, faster and has not only a greater range but also a much better charging network. Also, its software will not distract you. Game, set, Max.


Motor: Dual electric motor
Transmission: One-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 299
Torque (lbft): 339
0-62 mph: 6.2 seconds
Maximum speed: 112 mph
Weight: 2,224 kg (unloaded)
Battery size (kW): 77
Energy Usage (miles / kWh): 3.5
WLTP range (combined): 291 miles
Price: Β£ 55,555

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