► CAR drives the VW ID.4 GTX
► More power and sporty extras
► Is it really an electric GTI? Nope...
There's a massive clue in the name. According to VW, the GTX badge on its ID.4 SUV signals extra power, sportiness and street cred. Not so if you remember the Scirocco GTX – a tarted-up farce on wheels born and buried in 1983.
Marketing people, what were you thinking? It is, unfortunately, symptomatic of a VW Group MEB-platform product that doesn't really know what it is and who it's for.
So, what is it trying to be?
Exactly what you think: a sportier variant of a normal car. The real added value of the GTX over any other currently available ID.4 model is nothing to do with the hints of hot hatch that take the form of slightly more aggressive bodywork and a lightly spruced-up cabin.
For VW, the important thing is that this is the first ID with a motor at each end for all-wheel drive, even if Skoda (with its Enyaq) and Audi (with its Q4) have beaten VW to that particular configuration.
The 77kWh battery pack is already available on the regular ID.4, but here it offers better performance, with acceleration to 62mph in 6.2sec, down from 8.5sec (but a top speed still limited to 112mph). The official range figure for the GTX is 301 miles, or 291 miles for the better equipped GTX Max version (priced from £55,540), down from 326 miles.
Let's get over it being an EV GTI, then...
If you manage to, the ID.4 GTX reveals itself to be a perfectly decent car, but not one playing in the same league as the Tesla Model 3 Long Range or the Hyundai Ioniq 5, both similarly priced.
The GTX is only 0.6sec slower to 62mph than the 296bhp Golf GTI Clubsport, but the EV is not nearly as involving to drive as a Golf GTI. In terms of handling prowess, the top-of-the-line ID model is, at best, a dozen confetti flakes and half a paper streamer more entertaining than the RWD Pro edition. It's a steadfast, stoic sort of car, not one that feels like it was designed with sheer driving pleasure anywhere near the top of its priorities.
How does it handle?
On the winding roads from Braunschweig to the Harz mountains, the test car displayed a wide variety of strengths and weaknesses. Even with many of the electronic assistance features disabled, brake regen dialled down and Sport mode engaged – which makes all-wheel drive permanently active – the hefty GTX simply isn't interested in late braking or playful snapping at apexes.
On the credit side, it's a near silent and markedly effortless cruiser. It takes a minor earthquake to unsettle the irrevocably plotted dynamic stability, and every journey provides the kind of cocooned isolation one used to relish only in a Maybach or a Rolls. The suspension remains amazingly compliant even when the car is fitted with unequal-size 21in tyres, and the handling is absolutely vice-free. The mix of grip, traction and roadholding could hardly be more magnetic, with steering that refrains from colouring the input by unduly enhancing or reducing the effect.
The brakes require a fair bit of effort, though. Their feedback is vague rather than reassuring, with full deceleration striking only after a momentary delay. The long pedal travel makes modulation difficult.
VW ID.4 GTX: verdict
The ID.4 GTX is neither fish now fowl. The all-wheel drive versions of the Audi Q4 e-Tron and Skoda Enyaq iV already do the same job better. But use it the way it seems happiest, as a cruiser, then you can enjoy its refinement, its roominess and its fine roadholding. Just don't go thinking you're in a zero-emissions hot hatch.
Read more Volkswagen reviews here